India: Removing discrimination against a minority group increases GDP: Fabrice Houdart

Godrej Industries, along with the UN, will be launching The Standards of Conduct for Business to tackle discrimination against the LGBTI community in corporate spaces on 12 October. Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, talks about the need for the manifesto.

Please tell us about the manifesto...

The role of business in respecting and promoting the human rights of LGBTI people is a universal issue. We started developing these standards with the London-based think-tank, Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), in mid-2016 through consultations in Mumbai, New York, Kampala and Brussels.

The five standards call for companies to have anti-discrimination policies in place, exercise due diligence and establish effective grievance mechanisms. They also urge companies to take steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBTI customers, suppliers and distributors – and to require the same of their business partners.

Most ambitiously, the standards challenge companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they do business

What is the need for such a manifesto?

The idea was to help the private sector grapple with their role in this area of human rights.

What are the benefits, internationally, that companies have reaped by building a non-prejudiced environment?

LGBTI consumers and their allies are sensitive to whether companies are on the right or wrong side of human rights. 

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