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Report finds companies do not suffer financially if they’re LGBT inclusive

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NEW DELHI: A new report analysing fast-growing businesses in emerging markets suggests that companies that do well on LGBT+ (an umbrella term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other gender minorities) inclusion have a greater share of their revenues coming from global business.

The report, written by Open for Business, a global coalition of companies that seek to promote LGBT+ inclusive societies, analysed businesses from emerging markets such as Chile, India, Malaysia and Turkey.

It found that about 60% of the Indian companies surveyed belonged to the very top tier of companies that are non-discriminatory, in particular towards LGBT+ populations. This is significantly higher than the average of 39% for all companies.

Elliot Vaughn, managing director of Boston Consulting Global (which collaborated on the report), said at the launch of the report that India had an advantage because family-owned businesses could take a stand on LGBT issues without the pressures of shareholders weighing them down.

Dilip Chenoy, secretary general of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), said that things had started to change after Section 377 was struck down by the Supreme Court last year. Earlier, family-owned businesses were governed by a lot of societal norms, but now the “train has started and it’s picking up speed”.

The report found that there was no impact on revenue for companies who were vocal about their support for the LGBT cause.

Companies that fall into the top tier are also better at retaining employees, better able to market to consumers and have stronger corporate governance, said Drew Keller, global program director.

Melissa Ferrier, global LGBT+ leader at Wipro, said that carrot and stick policies were needed to stamp out discrimination.

Parmesh Shahani, founder of Godrej India Culture Lab and a prominent LGBT activist, said that leaders in organisations should openly say to all their employees that they support the LGBT cause.

Seema Bansal, partner and director at BCG said that organisations needed to make safe spaces and peer resource groups available for LGBT employees to feel comfortable.
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