It’s no coincidence: being open and inclusive is better for business, and better for economic growth. This is not news to many of us in the business world: here at Virgin, more than four decades of experience have shown time and again that employing people with different backgrounds, skills, viewpoints and personalities helps us spot opportunities, anticipate problems and come up with fresh ideas.

And yet, even as we celebrate the great progress being made in some countries, many other parts of the world are becoming less tolerant and inclusive – particularly to gay people, who face increasing levels of persecution in places like Russia, Nigeria, India and Uganda. Anti-LGBT laws are spreading – and this isn’t just immoral, it stifles business growth, and economic development.

That’s why I’m proud that Virgin is part of a new business-led coalition called Open For Business, which aims to highlight the strong business case for LGBT inclusion. We’ve teamed up with other global companies such as McKinsey, IBM, LinkedIn, Thomson Reuter and MasterCard, because all of us do business in places that have anti-LGBT policies, and we want to be clear this isn’t acceptable to us.

This week I attended the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York, where Open For Business launched the coalition and announced the publication of its ground-breaking report – Open For Business: the Economic and Business Case for LGBT Inclusion. The evidence is powerful, and it’s presented on three levels:

First, Economic Performance: LGBT inclusion is associated with higher levels of entrepreneurship and is linked to GDP growth, whereas LGBT discrimination often goes hand-in-hand with a culture of corrupt practices and a lack of openness.

Second, Business Performance: companies with a culture of LGBT inclusion are better able to attract and retain the best talent, and they’re often more innovative companies with more effective teamwork and collaboration.

Third, Individual Performance: employees who work in open, inclusive environments are more engaged, more productive and more likely to “speak up” with ideas– and this applies to all employees, not just LGBT individuals.

These findings confirm those of the by the B Team, whose report Diversity: Bringing the Business Case to Life highlights the enormous benefits a diverse workforce can bring to both your bottom line and your organisational culture.

Both reports should be essential reading for politicians in countries with anti-LGBT laws – and for those trying to create more open, diverse and inclusive societies. The promoters of hateful laws often hide behind “cultural differences” and complain that we are trying to impose our Western values. They can’t do that anymore. We’ve moved the argument on. It’s no longer just about values – it’s about good business sense, and good economic policy.