Global businesses join hands for accelerating workplace inclusion of LGBTI community

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Updated: January 23, 2019 11:11:44 AM

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity not only violates universal basic human rights, it also adversely impacts the long-term economic prospects of individuals, businesses and countries, the WEF said.

Global businesses join hands for accelerating workplace inclusion of LGBTI community (Reuters)

Global businesses led by giants like Microsoft and Mastercard have collaborated with the World Economic Forum to launch a platform to accelerate workplace inclusion of LGBTI community worldwide. Announcing the platform here at its annual meeting, the WEF said the initiative is supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It also gave a global call for companies to operationalise the UN standards of conduct to tackle the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) discrimination at workplace by 2020.

Discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity not only violates universal basic human rights, it also adversely impacts the long-term economic prospects of individuals, businesses and countries, the WEF said.

A 2017 UNAIDS study estimated the global cost of LGBTI discrimination at USD 100 billion per year. Businesses have an important role to play in respecting and protecting human rights through fostering workplace inclusion for LGBTI people, the WEF said.

The consortium who have joined the initiative include leading multinational companies such as Accenture, Deutsche Bank, EY, Mastercard, Microsoft, Omnicom and Salesforce.

To help business leaders realise LGBTI equality and inclusion for their global workforces, the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality, will operationalise the United Nations LGBTI Standards.

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…By 2020, the project will enlist 50-100 companies from World Economic Forum members and beyond to join the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality to implement UN LGBTI Standards. It will also create a due-diligence framework for corporations to use in assessing the alignment of their policies with the Standards and to better understand the practical impact of their policies on LGBTI people.

The project will also develop a repository of LGBTI best practices and case studies from companies across multiple sectors, sharing insights and information on effective strategies, policies and processes for gathering the information needed to ensure LGBTI people are not being discriminated against when it comes to hiring, retaining and promoting employees.

Open, inclusive and diverse societies are also more innovative, which in turn leads to greater economic growth and this project aims to provide a platform for leaders from the private sector to accelerate process towards LGBTI inclusion globally, said Saadia Zahidi, Member of the Managing Board and Head of the WEF’s Centre for the New Economy and Society.

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