Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber Commerce Brings Together Leaders of 70 Global Corporations to Implement UN Standards of Conduct for Businesses Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People
Minister Champagne announces government support of UN Standards for the first time at annual LGBT+ Global Business Summit
Minister François-Philippe Champagne today announced the Canadian government’s support of the United Nations’ Standards of Conduct for Businesses – Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People for the first time since its unveiling in 2017. The announcement was shared at the New World: 2021 Digital LGBT+ Global Business Summit led by Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce (CGLCC) in a virtual roundtable discussion on LGBTI human rights with senior leaders and executives from some of the largest corporations in Canada and the world, and hosted with the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality (PGLE) and the Business for Social Responsibility.
Minister Champagne encouraged the attendees, consisting of more than 200 leaders representing over 70 of the largest corporations operating in Canada and the world, including founding members of the PGLE, and roundtable sponsors Scotiabank and IBM, to adopt the Standards of Conduct for Business and learn how their businesses can lead in LGBTI inclusivity.
“The UN Standards of Conduct for Businesses Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People provide the corporate sector with a clear pathway towards a more inclusive and equitable future in Canada and around the world; and we encourage all employers, large and small, to adopt them,” said Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Canada prides itself on being a leader in LGBTI rights and we need to set an example on the world stage so that other countries understand why it’s so important to prioritize human rights. Thanks to the work of CGLCC’s LGBT+ Global Business Summit, we have a place to host these complex conversations and figure out solutions together that create a more equitable, diverse and inclusive future for the LGBTI community.”
The United Nations’ Standards for Businesses came out in 2017 and were designed to tackle five key areas:
Courtesy: United Nations Free & Equal https://www.unfe.org/standards/
The roundtable took place on the first day of CGLCC’s eighth annual LGBT+ Global Business Summit (June 7-10). The annual event gathers more than 1000 attendees representing over 20 countries, comprised of LGBT+ businesses, suppliers, corporate and government partners. The theme for this year’s free, virtual event – ‘New World’ – explores what the future holds for organizations as they move through the post-pandemic rebuilding phase and into a new world of business. With 37 sessions over four days, topics for discussion include the importance of inclusive procurement and a diverse supply chain; aligning employee resource groups with business strategy; social media and the new age of storytelling; balancing entrepreneurship and self care; how to do business with the government; how to export to and from Canada; among others.
“Having government and C-Suite leaders endorsing the UN Standards is a major step forward for LGBTI businesses and entrepreneurs. It signals to other major corporations that to remain competitive they need to adopt internal structures that ensure LGBTI employees and customers feel safe, welcomed and accepted,” said Darrell Schuurman, chief executive officer of the LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce. At the Summit and through our own Supplier Diversity program, we address how a vital step to creating a truly inclusive corporate sector is the incorporation of supplier diversity. LGBTI-owned businesses are currently underrepresented in corporate supply chains; however, progressive corporations are recognizing the social and economic benefits of diversifying their suppliers. Working with a variety of suppliers with different backgrounds and experiences has been proven to bring new perspectives to the table, resulting in more innovation, creativity and new solutions that your typical supplier base may not be able to offer.”
The CGLCC’s Supplier Diversity program certifies LGBT+ businesses and connects them to organizations looking to contribute to an inclusive Canadian economy. “We’re helping create a more level playing field in the corporate supply world,” said Schuurman.
In addition to the Supplier Diversity program, the CGLCC last week announced the launch of its new Rainbow Registered accreditation program. The business accreditation will help consumers and prospective employees to more easily identify LGBT+ friendly businesses across Canada. Like adopting the UN Standards, it will also help businesses of all industries and sizes, demonstrate their commitment and consistent efforts to provide a welcome and accepting experience through progressive policies and practices. Taking the UN Standard’s a step further, the CGLCC’s accreditation program sets a rigorous set of standards that companies must meet before earning the Rainbow Registered mark and the benefits that go along with it. The standards focus on four key areas including policies and practices, training, commitment to inclusive leadership and a culture of inclusivity. The program starts by encouraging businesses to look inwards, examining how they are operating and doing business, finding areas that may be perpetuating unconscious bias, then working closely with CGLCC to forge a path forward to becoming more inclusive.
For more information about the UN Standards and the outcomes of Monday’s roundtable, Kirstine Stewart, head of Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Information and member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum will host the UN Standards of Conduct for Business: Charting the Path Forward session on Wednesday, June 9 (12:15- 1 p.m. EDT). Tickets for the remaining days of The Summit are still available; to register, visit www.cglcc.ca/summit.