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Lord John Browne: Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

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.