Lord John Browne: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
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Lord John Browne, former CEO of BP and member of the House of Lords, discusses the energy sector and lessons reflected in his latest book, The Glass Closet: Why Coming Out Is Good Business, on the importance of an authentic, inclusive environment for LGBT employees in the workplace.
On the issues surrounding international energy policy: “The world is completely linked when it comes to energy markets, and I think everyone is struggling on several points. First is the cost. Second, how do you diversify sources to maintain a sense of security? The third is how do we make it cleaner? And finally, is it a secure delivery?”
On innovations in clean energy: “Solar power has come down around 80% in cost. There’s no reason why it can’t come down another 80% with the right approach. The same is true with wind. This cost is coming down as a result of [improvements in] technology and learning the manufacturing process.”
On fostering an inclusive and diverse work environment: “People have to be confident that it’s safe to be themselves. That’s the big thing that we’ve got to [work on]… Networks are very important, but they’re only effective if they’re connected to the top. They cannot be self-contained entities that aren’t connected to the leadership of the firm.”
TALKING WITH...LORD JOHN BROWNE
What was your first job?
I worked in Alaska in the oil and gas industry.
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?
David Hockney. He was a hero of mine when I was a young man. He was conducting a life and doing great innovative things that I couldn't ever imagine myself doing. I'm getting closer to it – not the innovation – but the life.
Who is a person you admire or who inspires you?
Nelson Mandela. He is an example of a leader who changed things and who continues to inspire me.