Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality (PGLE)

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 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 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.