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International law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has signed the UN Standards of Conduct for LGBTI inclusion, making a commitment to supporting a culture of respect and equality in the workplace and the communities in which it operates.

Drawing on good practice, the United Nations standards set out actions companies can take to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals. These include eliminating workplace discrimination; making sure business operations do not contribute to discrimination against customers, suppliers or members of the public; and working with business partners to address discriminatory practices up and down the supply chain.

The standards also encourage companies to stand up for the rights of LGBT people in the countries where they operate – including through advocacy and support for local organisations.

The standards of conduct build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which affirm that every business has a responsibility to respect human rights and address any adverse human rights impacts of their operations.

The Chief of Equality & Non-Discrimination at the UN Human Rights Office Charles Radcliffe expressed hope that European companies would be “change-makers” for LGBTI people:

“It’s not just about workplace equality – vital though that is. It’s about supporting LGBTI communities wherever companies do business. When companies take action, the ripple effects can be felt right across society."

The firm first became a signatory to the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in October 2016 and committed to incorporating the UNGC principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption into the strategy, culture and day-to-day operations of its business.

About Herbert Smith Freehills

Operating from 27 offices across Asia Pacific, EMEA and North America, Herbert Smith Freehills is at the heart of the new global business landscape providing premium quality, full-service legal advice. The firm provides many of the world’s most important organisations with access to market-leading dispute resolution, projects and transactional legal advice, combined with expertise in a number of global industry sectors, including Banks, Consumer products, Energy, Financial buyers, Infrastructure & Transport, Mining, Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare, Real estate, TMT and Manufacturing & Industrials.

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Claire Watts

Claire Watts, Communications Manager