Knowledge Note

Companies that undertake efforts to end discrimination and support lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people can be a “motor for change,” according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who addressed the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2018. UN High Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein highlighted the private sector’s important leadership role in ensuring the dignity and equal opportunities of LGBTI employees in the workplace and beyond.

Major companies, including Airbnb, Airbus, Bloomberg L.P., Marriott International, New York Life, Unilever, Vert Asset Management and Xerox, have joined the list of “early adopters” of a set of UN standards for business conduct developed by the Office of the UN High Commissioner (OHCHR) and launched in September 2017 following a year-long consultation process facilitated by the OHCHR and the Institute for Human Rights and Business.

The ‘UN Standards of Conduct for Business: Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People’ draw on good practices and build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. They encourage companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they operate, and detail actions that employers can take, including: eliminating unfair treatment against LGBTI people in the workplace; ensuring that business operations do not contribute to discrimination against customers, suppliers or the public; and working with business partners to address discriminatory practices throughout the supply chain.

The Standards of Conduct provide the most comprehensive set of benchmarks for responsible corporate behavior on LGBTI issues to date.

Access the full U.N. report here