Tackling Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex Discrimination - Standards of Conduct for Business

26 September 2017

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today launched an unprecedented set of global standards to support the business community in tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people.

The product of a year-long process of consultations facilitated by the UN Human Rights Office and IHRB, the new Standards draw on good practice from around the world and set out actions companies can take to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals.

These include eliminating workplace discrimination, making sure business operations do not contribute to discrimination against customers, suppliers or members of the public, and working with business partners to address discriminatory practices up and down the supply chain. They also encourage companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they operate – including through advocacy and support for local organisations.

Addressing an audience of business leaders, activists and journalists at Microsoft’s New York City headquarters, Zeid called on the private sector to play its part in promoting LGBTI inclusion in the workplace and beyond.

Social change requires the active involvement of all parts of society – including, critically, the business community. The decisions that companies take – whether in respect of human resources, investment, supply chains, even marketing – can have a real and, in some cases, profound impact on human rights. 

The Standards of Conduct build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. The consultations to develop them included regional meetings with leading business representatives in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Among companies that have already indicated their support are Accenture, Baker McKenzie, BNP Paribas, the Coca-Cola Company, EDF, EY, Gap Inc., General Electric, Godrej, IKEA, Microsoft, and SAP.

Access the Standards: 
  • A report containing the standards, a message from the High Commissioner, accompanying discussion paper and case studies here.
  • A 4-page "At-a-Glance" summary here.
  • A dedicated website here.
  • A blog by one of the contributing authors, IHRB's Salil Tripathi, here

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