Minister for equalities Mike Freer has welcomed the launch of a certification programme for organisations with LGBT+ leadership, stating it will ‘help foster an environment where LGBT+ people can be themselves’ at work.
OutBritain is an accreditation scheme for LGBT+ owned organisations in the UK, helping organisations that want to work with the LGBT+ business community as part of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts, and jobseekers who search for LGBT+ companies to work for, to verify this.
The programme has been lauched today (17 May), on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
Freer, who is himself gay, said the programme’s launch “marks an important moment and opportunity for UK businesses that are majority owned by LGBT+ individuals”.
“The UK strongly believes that businesses, large and small, are an essential part in society’s progress on equality. Research suggests that open, inclusive and diverse societies are better for business and economic growth,” he said in a speech at the programme’s launch event.
“Many businesses, multinational and local, recognise these benefits and are keen to act as positive advocates to support progress for LGBT+ rights.
“More than ever we want to support our LGBT+ business leaders and employees. As of December 2020, 81 countries had laws against discrimination in the workplace on the basis of sexual orientation. Twenty years ago, there were only 15.
“As business leaders and employees, we spend a significant amount of our daily lives at work. Accreditation will help to foster an environment where LGBT+ people can be themselves and be the best they can be.”
Freer suggested that LGBT+ inclusive employers have a strong ability to attract and retain talent and to build customer loyalty and brand strength, which in turn enhances their financial performance.
“In recent times, it has become clear that increasing numbers of employees and customers no longer wish to associate with organisations that do not share their values. The advances made by businesses in driving LGBT+ inclusion in their workplace, have in turn been an engine for driving wider change,” he said.
The Government Equalities Office recently ran a consultation that sought examples of initiatives that ensured workplaces were inclusive.
“LGBT+ people aren’t asking for special treatment, merely to be accorded the same dignity, respect, and rights as all other citizens. I will continue to work hard to make this goal a reality,” he said.
Recent examples of organisations that have launched LGBT+ inclusion initiatives include Hargreaves Lansdown’s dedicated trans and non-binary equality policy, and the introduction of optional pronoun name badges at Marks & Spencer.