Accelerating LGBTI Equality through the Power of Business Leadership
The Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality (PGLE) is a coalition of organizations committed to leveraging their individual and collective advocacy to accelerate LGBTI equality and inclusion in the workplace and in the broader communities in which they operate. The Partnership is supported by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and is operated in collaboration with the World Economic Forum.
The Challenge: Uneven Progress in LGBTI Equality
Fifty years after the Stonewall riots in New York City and the birth of the gay liberation movement, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people continues to affect millions of people worldwide every day. Despite recent landmark rulings advancing the protection of LGBTI rights, there remain at least 69 countries where homosexuality is criminalized, very few countries legally recognize the identity of trans people and only a handful protect the rights of intersex people. Looking at the workplace, only 77 countries have employment non-discrimination laws that protect the rights of LGBTI workers. Abuse, discrimination and persecution 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 estimated global cost of LGBTI discrimination is USD100 billion per year.
The Objective: Accelerating Equality and Social and Economic Inclusion for LGBTI People
PGLE leverages the power of business to promote a culture of respect and equality and take wider responsibility not just for the impact they have on their employees lives but also on the broader communities in which they operate.
PGLE partners work together to:
- Operationalize the five United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business Tackling Discrimination Against LGBTI People by providing tools and resources for companies to advance and implement LGBTI inclusion globally (see here)
- Support committed business leaders through the World Economic Forum in accelerating LGBTI workplace inclusion and promoting human rights for all
- Share best practices and benchmarks to assist companies in meeting their commitments and responsibilities to global LGBTI equality
The UN LGBTIQ+ Standards Gap Analysis Tool
The UN LGBTIQ+ Standards Gap Analysis Tool is a self-assessment and learning platform to help companies of all sectors and sizes to operationalize the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business: Tackling Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, and Intersex (LGBTI) People. Companies can identify their strengths, gaps and opportunities to improve their performance on LGBTIQ+ equality in the workplace. It was launched in September 2021 as a joint project by the United Nations Global Compact and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with support from the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality, in collaboration with the World Economic Forum and in consultations with over 15 LGBTIQ+ rights civil society organizations representing all global regions. While many companies have one-off policies and programs to advance LGBTIQ+ equality within their company, very few companies are taking advantage of the full spectrum of ways in which they can have positive impacts on LGBTIQ+ people and defend LGBTIQ+ rights. Completing the self-assessment will allow companies to learn best practices on advancing LGBTIQ+ equality from around the world, measure progress over time, benchmark against peers and industry standards, and leverage resources for continuous improvement. By completing the self-assessment, companies will also contribute to the collection of valuable data, which, used at the aggregate level, can inform future programmatic work on LGBTIQ+ rights, and help identify diverse opportunities and challenges in different countries of operation.
To use the tool and complete the self-assessment, please create an account at lgbtiq.unglobalcompact.org
The History of the Partnership
The Partnership was announced at the Forum’s Annual Meeting on January 22, 2019. The founding members are leading multinational companies, notably Accenture, Boston Consulting Group, Cisco, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Edelman, EY, Mastercard, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, PwC, Salesforce, Scotiabank and The Coca-Cola Company.
The United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business Tackling Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, and Intersex (LGBTI) People were issued by the former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, on September 26, 2017 in New York City:
“The original idea for developing these Standards came from a panel discussion I was involved in at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in 2016. It was a turning point in a long-overdue conversation among prominent business leaders and activists about what practical measures companies can and should take to tackle LGBTI discrimination - beyond the kind of internal diversity and inclusion policies already in place in large corporations, vital though these are.”
A Holistic and Integrated Approach to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
The initiative originates from the World Economic Forum’s New Economy and Society Platform, which is focused on building prosperous, inclusive and just economies and societies. In addition to its work on economic growth, revival and transformation, work, wages and job creation, and education, skills and learning, the Platform takes an integrated and holistic approach to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, and aims to tackle exclusion, bias and discrimination related to race, gender, ability, sexual orientation and all other forms of human diversity. It produces data, standards and insights, such as the Global Gender Gap Report and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 4.0 Toolkit, and drives or supports action initiatives, such as the Community of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers, Partnering for Racial Justice in Business, The Valuable 500 – Closing the Disability Inclusion Gap, Hardwiring Gender Parity in the Future of Work, Closing the Gender Gap Country Accelerators, or the Global Future Council on Equity and Social Justice.