Launched in 2013 at the Oslo Global Mobility Forum, the OXLO Business Charter has not only been sustained, but further empowered through the integration of new tools, including the ICC Rating Diversity in Business tool.
The Charter is a forum and a network for collaboration between the city and the business community, making migrants visible as a resource for business and economic growth. It serves as a frame for a wide range of activities such as:
- Breakfast seminars on diversity in City Hall (5 each year)
- Rating Diversity – measuring diversity in business leadership
- Allocating grants to projects promoting diversity and inclusion in business
- Allocating grants to promote diverse recruitment to business incubators (IT entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs)
- Running “Torchlight (Fakkeltog)” – a network for business dedicated to diversity, showcasing best practice
- Organising the OXLO Mentorship scheme for master students with diverse backgrounds, matched with mentors in municipal services, based on their master thesis.
Companies and others that join the charter get access to knowledge about intercultural recruitment, diversity management, welcome services and inclusive work environment.
A new innovation is the OXLO Breakfast Club, a forum for discussing solutions to common challenges related to diversity.
Since its launch, some 400 businesses and other organizations have joined the network.
The launch of the Charter was a response to needs expressed by the Oslo business community. The Norwegian economy would stop growing without migrants. In 2013 the Oslo Chamber of Commerce published a report on migration of competence and knowledge to Oslo and Norway, asking for a forum for collaboration between companies, business associations, educational institutions and local authorities.
Networks are important to migrants of competence. The OXLO charter and its network of stakeholders enhance cooperation to foster social integration. In 2013, some 20 000 people immigrated to Oslo, mainly from Europe. Half of them came for work, one in eight came to study, and most of the others joined a husband or a wife. Jobs and the opportunity to earn a living draws migrants to Oslo. As the Chamber pointed out in its report, though, it is the soft aspects of tolerance and the interculturality of city life that make people stay. The sense of belonging to Oslo depends in the long run on the social environment at work, the opportunity to join sport or cultural activities, and the happiness of spouse and children.