Non-discrimination and minorities

This page presents all relevant good practice case studies that showcase how business have addressed the Non-discrimination and minorities dilemma. Case studies have been developed in close collaboration with a range of multi-national companies and relevant government, inter-governmental and civil society stakeholders. We also draw on public domain sources, including the UN Global Compact's own published Communications on Progress through which signatories are required to report on their performance against the Ten Principles.

The case studies explore the specific dilemmas and challenges faced by each organisation, good practice actions they have taken to resolve them and the results of such action. We reference challenges as well as achievements and invite you to submit commentary and suggestions through the Forum.

IN-DEPTH (Print seperately) Yahoo! Inc: Third-party race-hate issues - France *

HSBC: Caste discrimination is a prohibited basis for inferior treatment – Global

HSBC’s equal opportunity policy stipulates that it does not discriminate on grounds of age, gender, colour, race, ethnicity, language, caste, creed, economic or social status or disability. The bank recognises that having a workforce that broadly reflects the composition of the local communities in which they operate places it in a unique position to understand and respond to the needs of its customers. HSBC views diversity as a “competitive differentiator”, both in employment and in customer markets and places a special emphasis on gender, disability, the underprivileged and affirmative action.

Johnson & Johnson: Diversity University online portal – Global

Johnson & Johnson has established a Diversity University, an online portal designed to help employees understand and value differences and the benefits of diversity and inclusion. The Diversity University provides employees with: 1) access to resources on diversity; 2) cultural awareness training tools featuring country-specific content and 3) links to e-learning courses and information on subjects including mentoring, international assignments, leadership and rotational development programs. Classes are offered on Diversity Fundamentals, Valuing Individual Differences and Diversity and Inclusion, which provide background on the importance of diversity. Diversity is considered a “strategic process that supports the ethics and business objectives of Johnson & Johnson companies.” Johnson & Johnson has established an Office of Inclusion and Diversity to promote diversity which reports directly to the Chief Executive Officer.

AT&T: Promoting Minority suppliers – US

In 2008, AT&T marked the 40th anniversary of its Supplier Diversity Programs, which began in 1968 with the creation of AT&T's Minority Business Enterprise (MBE). AT&T has mentored several suppliers to support non-traditional areas of the company's business, and has also helped diverse businesses break into other industries, like advertising and contract manufacturing. In 2008, AT&T spent US$6 billion with diverse suppliers, representing 12% of its procurement base. In the past 10 years, AT&T spent more than US$32 billion with diverse suppliers, an increase of 272%. The company seeks to procure 21.5% of its total procurement from diversity-owned enterprises. Specifically, the company's diversity goals are: 15% with MBE, 5% with Women Business Enterprises and 1.5% with Disabled Veteran Business Enterprises. In addition, the AT&T Foundation has granted more than US$935,000 in diversity supplier educational scholarships and programming since 2000. The scholarships are granted to leading-edge business schools to provide coaching to current and prospective diversity suppliers.

US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce: Promoting Hispanic business interests – US

Established in 1979, the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) works with 200 plus local chambers of commerce and Hispanic organisations across the US. The USHCC has a wide range of corporate members and promotes the interests of the more than three million Hispanic owned businesses in the US. The USHCC seeks to: implement and strengthen national programmes that assist the economic development of Hispanic firms; increase business relationships and partnerships between the corporate sector and Hispanic-owned businesses; promote international trade between Hispanic businesses in the US and Latin America; and monitor legislation, policies and programmes that affect the Hispanic business community, whilst providing technical assistance to Hispanic business associations and entrepreneurs.

Confederation of Indian Industry and ASSOCHAM: Code of Conduct for Affirmative Action – India

The Confederation of Indian Industry and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India’s (ASSOCHAM) Code of Conduct for Affirmative Action contains principles for business to assist groups that are socially disadvantaged in India. The types of principles in the Code of Conduct include: A) The Company affirms the recognition that its competitiveness is interlinked with the well being of all sections of the Indian society; B) The Company believes that equal opportunity in employment for all sections of society is a component of its growth and competitiveness. It further believes that inclusive growth is a component of growth and development of the country; C) The Company affirms the recognition that diversity to reflect socially disadvantaged sections of the society in the workplace has a positive impact on business; D) The Company's selection of business partners is not based on any considerations other than normal business parameters. In case of equal business offers, the Company will select a business partner belonging to a socially disadvantaged section of society; and E) The Company makes / will make all efforts for up-skilling and continual training of employees from socially disadvantaged sections of society in order to enhance their capabilities, and competitive skills.

Danish Institute for Human Rights: Diversity Lab and online capacity building resources – Global

The Danish Institute for Human Rights provides information on the following topics: the Danish and EU regulatory system involving diversity in the workplace, information and statistics on diversity and compliance tools to promote diversity. The NGO also offers a course that specifically addresses ‘Diversity in the Workplace’ and houses a Diversity Lab to generate best practices for large companies. There is an assortment of 15 Diversity Lab member companies and organisations that meet every two months to experiment with strategies to increase, retain and leverage diversity among employees. Every participating organisation enlists three representatives : one top-management ambassador who ensures implementation of learning; one department manager, who will be experimenting and testing a new diversity tool or method in their department between Diversity Lab meetings; and one HR support person who will assist and support the department manager in each of these experiments.

Equality and Human Rights Commission: Guidance on equality and diversity issues – UK

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provides support for businesses across a range of equality and diversity issues. Topics addressed on the website include redundancy options, flexible approaches, the transformation of work, equal pay and inclusive workplaces. Advice is customised according to business size and the Commission partners with businesses to instil best practice as a part of their mandate. Guidance and good practice guides for employers include: ‘A Manager’s Guide to Flexible Working’; ‘An Employer’s Guide to Creating an Inclusive Workplace’; ‘Talent, Not Tokenism: The Business Benefits of Workplace Diversity’ and ‘Religion or Belief in the Workplace’

IKEA and UNICEF: Supporting education for ethnic minorities - Viet Nam

As a part of its Social Initiatives, IKEA has funded 34 UNICEF projects in 24 countries in Africa, Asia and Central and Eastern Europe. In Viet Nam, the Ban Pho Primary School has vastly improved its facilities and now provides a bilingual education to the student population. This is particularly important for children belonging to ethnic minorities who drop out of school at high rates if instruction is only offered in Vietnamese. Special attention is paid to developing life skills in girls, including hygiene education.

Walmart: Supplier Diversity Program – Global

Walmart has inaugurated a Supplier Diversity Program that aims to continually expand its supplier base with a view to adding diversity to its supply chain. The Program has grown from an initial US$2 million in 1994 to more than US$6 billion in 2008. In order to implement the program, Walmart has a Supplier Diversity Internal Steering Committee with senior leaders from all of its business units – Operating Divisions, Marketing, Logistics, International, Information Systems, Legal and Real Estate. The Supplier Diversity Internal Steering Committee has been charged with creating a plan of action for doing business with more minority and women-owned suppliers that enhances both Walmart’s and the suppliers’ business growth. In 2008, its combined spend devoted to minority- and women-owned businesses was over US$8 billion.

Business in the community: Responsible businesses and human rights – UK

Race for Opportunity is a campaign, developed by UK-based Business in the Community ,that advocates the improvement of employment opportunities for ethnic minorities in the UK. The campaign is comprised of a network of over 160 members in both the public and private sector. The organisation endeavours to promote the business case for race and diversity by: a) raising awareness of the barriers preventing ethnic minorities from making progress in the workplace; b) communicating the need to speed up progress on the introduction of policies that further better representation of ethnic minorities; c) highlighting the responsibilities and roles of leaders in delivering race diversity and d) making clear the economic and business argument for organisations investing in race diversity. Their campaign is targeted towards business leaders and includes a series of workshops, publications, case studies and legal news on the topic of diversity and inclusion. A 2009 publication entitled ‘Benchmarking Report – Transparency at the Heart of Diversity’ is an example of the research undertaken and addresses trends related to diversity, examples of best practice and the concrete impact of these initiatives.

TAQA: Diversity and inclusion policy – UAE

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) was founded in 2005 and has 2,800 employees representing 41 nationalities working in 14 markets. In order to manage its diverse workforce, the company has devised a comprehensive approach aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion. This multifaceted initiative includes the provision of training at all levels within the company to raise awareness about diversity and inclusion issues. Managers and executives are provided with tailored guides elucidating how to implement the expectations surrounding diversity and TAQA offers recurring workshops geared towards cultural learning and combating stereotypes. TAQA also has a confidential hotline to enable employees to access support and guidance if they are experiencing hostility in their working environment. E-forums and intranet sites also supplement the diversity policy and are used to facilitate exchanges on a variety of topics and share feedback, knowledge and experiences.

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu: Cultural awareness and networking programme - Global

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu (DTT) is an international accountancy and professional services company that operates as a global network of firms spanning 140 countries. In order to instil consistent corporate values, DTT facilitates cultural awareness and networking programmes designed to build cross-cultural understanding, skills and cohesion among its teams. The training for DTT firm partners comes in the form of specialised workshops for senior members of firm management worldwide. The ‘Global New Partner Programme’ is directed towards 500 new member firm partners and the ‘Leadership Development Programme’ is designed for experienced partners. More than half of 10,000 member firm partners worldwide have attended these workshops, during which cultural orientations are discussed through a tool called the Cultural Perspectives Questionnaire (CPQ). The questionnaire is designed to reveal the range of different cultural perspectives related to the working environment, relationships, activity, human nature and time. After assessing the responses, cultural challenges are identified and addressed through a practical framework called the Map-Bridge-Integrate (MBI) approach. DTT has also created a Chinese Services Group (CSG) which coordinates with Deloitte China and subsidiaries of Deloitte US to assist US companies operating and investing in China. This Group aims to build and highlight the professional and cross-cultural skills of its Chinese-English bilingual professionals.

GM: Affinity Groups - Global

GM has 12 affinity groups based on the following identities: Asian Indian; Chinese; African Ancestry; Mid-East/South-East Asian and Native American. These groups are employee-driven and are tasked with enhancing market opportunities; enhancing recruiting and retention efforts; providing opportunities for career development and networking; acting as an information resource for any GM function; and, serving as GM “face” in their constituent communities. Feedback indicates that these groups can boost employee morale, intensify cross-cultural awareness and foment a more inclusive work environment.

ASDA: Ethnic minority supplier development – UK

ASDA has recently experienced 118% growth in incremental sales and profit across ethnic categories as a result of its efforts to diversify its product offerings in order to include a variety of ethnic food products. Rather than purchase small ethnic minority suppliers, ASDA has sought to provide assistance and expertise to these firms so that they can expand and thrive. This has been accomplished by investment, imparting good business acumen and holding regular supplier meetings to discuss current and future opportunities. As a result, of this initiative, suppliers have enjoyed sales growth and been able to invest in new warehouses, supply channels and recruit more staff.

HP: High level B-BBEE compliance in South Africa – South Africa

Hewlett-Packard (HP) has achieved a greater than 85% (or Level 2) level of compliance with South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry’s B-BBEE Codes of Good Practice. As a part of attaining this level of compliance, the company has established the HP Business Institute (HPBI), which supports the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the IT sector. In addition, the HPBI facilitates courses to develop the skills of existing SME employees and recent graduates pursuing careers in the IT sector. The skills development initiatives include one year ‘learnerships’ (similar to apprenticeships) where graduates enhance their specialist IT skills and receive HP Certification as well as the training of existing employees who will be placed in short-term skills programmes. The programme is designed to train up to 300 students per year over its seven year lifespan. HP is also actively recruiting Historically Disadvantaged South Africans (HDSAs) so that the composition of HP South Africa staff resembles the demographics of the country, offering capacity building in the form of IT education within the greater community and ensuring that a significant amount of procurement is from B-BBEE companies.

BASF: Business case for diversity – Brazil

The German chemical company BASF seeks to uphold equal opportunities for all, irrespective of sex or colour, in all its operations. The principle is of particular importance within its operations in Brazil, where black people and women, in particular, are sometimes constrained in their educational and employment opportunities. In order to reverse the overall underrepresentation of woman and black employees within the company, and above all in management positions, BASF S.A. established a Diversity Committee in 2003. The Committee is made up of members representing Brazil’s diversity, particularly women and black workers. The Committee immediately reviewed and modified recruitment and selection procedures and devised communication measures to encourage awareness of the issue and events including workshops for management staff and community initiatives. This programme places BASF among the few MNCs operating in Brazil that pro-actively tackle the problem of discrimination against women, black workers and other minorities, both in employment and in occupation.

Tata Group: Promoting schedules castes and scheduled tribes - India

Tata Group have committed to affirmative action to enable the integration of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes with mainstream society. In 2006, the Group bound itself to a number of voluntary initiatives under the four Es: employment, employability, entrepreneurship and education. 

Already, 56 Tata companies have initiated activity with reference to affirmative action within their Indian operations. Forty-seven of these companies have active agendas on the four Es.

Tata Steel, for example, has focussed its efforts in scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities in the states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Efforts have been made to ensure the holistic development of these communities, and Tata Steel have provided education and training, sustainable employment generation, entrepreneurial development opportunities and they have worked to preserve the ethnic heritage of the tribes.

Facebook: Online users able to customise gender - US

In February 2014, social networking company Facebook announced that it was providing more options to allow users to customise their gender. The creation of around 50 gender options will enable users “to express themselves in an authentic way”, according to Facebook. The US-based company said that its decision followed consultations with civil society groups which campaign on a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) platform. The move reflects increasing demands – both in the US and globally – to extend civil rights to the transgender community, with such awareness campaigns also targeting multinational companies. In this respect, technology companies have demonstrated particular progress in promoting inclusion in their products and workforces. Nonetheless, Facebook’s multiple gender options have only initially been made available to users logging onto the site in US English.


Airtel: Mobile phone technology targets maternal health – Africa

In September 2013, Indian telecommunications company Airtel launched a new information service designed to improve maternal, newborn and child health across sub-Saharan Africa. In partnership with the Advanced Development for African Foundation, the Millennia 2025 Foundation, UNAIDS and UniversalDoctor, the Zero Mothers Die project provides free health information to pregnant women and new mothers in developing countries via their mobile phones. The project aims to reduce maternal and infant mortality, as well as to boost mobile phone ownership in populations at heightened risk. There is growing evidence that many such deaths can be prevented through women receiving appropriate health information and being able to access birth attendants. Expectant and new mothers will be able to receive texts and voice messages on their mobile phones about pregnancy, childbirth and neonatal health, with the information specifically tailored to their gestational period. Community healthcare workers are also being encouraged to use the mobile phone service. The Zero Mothers Die project is trialling a range of other services, including the provision of free airtime and of mobile money saving accounts to finance attended childbirth.


Google: Global tech giant releases diversity report - US/Global

On 25 June 2014, Google released its first diversity report, showing that the company’s workforce was overwhelmingly male and white. According to data provided by the multinational technology company, 70% of Google’s US-based workers were male and 61% were white; and while Asian-Americans made up 30% of the US workforce, only 2% were African-American and 3% Hispanic. Google stated that it was “not where we want to be when it comes to diversity”, although explained that the low levels of ethnic minorities and women taking computer science degrees largely accounted for the lack of diversity. Gender imbalance – an issue across the global technology sector – is particularly apparent in Google’s technical teams, where women make up just 17% of employees. The publication of the company’s first diversity report follows a similar move by Facebook. Indeed, Google and other multinational technology companies have recognised that publically acknowledging gender and ethnic imbalances will enable them to induce change, for example by encouraging a more diversified pool of candidates to apply for jobs. Google has also invested millions of dollars in organisations that focus on encouraging women and girls to take up computer science courses.


British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC): Driving change through a diversity and inclusion strategy - UK

In 2016, the BBC launched a new strategy on diversity and inclusion. The strategy establishes a set of goals to be achieved by 2020, which include:

·         Recruiting a workforce that is at least as diverse – if not more so – as any other in the media industry

·         Broadcasting content that reflects more diversity

·         Ensuring that everyone across the business understands diversity

To achieve these goals, the company commits to developing industry-leading diversity commissioning guidelines for broadcast content and to create a centre of excellence for the commissioning of diverse programmes in Birmingham. In addition, the strategy focuses on hiring and recruitment, as well as requiring unconscious bias training for all managers and interviewers.

The company has set 2020 targets to achieve diversity in the workforce and leadership, and in broadcast content. These targets include ensuring that women comprise 50% of the workforce and leadership, persons with disabilities 8%, black, Asian and ethnic minorities 15% and LGBT 8% of the workforce and leadership.

In 2017, following the BBC’s publication of information about wages by gender in the organisation, the director Tony Hall made a commitment to close the gender wage gap by 2020.

Lloyds Banking Group: Embedding diversity in business culture through role models – UK

As part of an overarching strategy to increase engagement amongst minority employees and improve workplace diversity, Lloyds launched the “Inspire” list in 2016. This list comprises 40 British Black, Asian and minority ethnic (B.A.M.E) individuals from the business, who act as diversity role models for other employees. The company has also profiled a series of ethnic minority leaders across the business to highlight their career journeys and milestones.

In addition, Lloyds has established a REACH (Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage) Network which connects, supports and develops colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds. The network aims to improve cultural awareness and understanding throughout the company by hosting workshops and events, and providing mentoring to minority staff members. REACH currently has over 3,000 members.

Walt Disney: Setting best practice on promoting LGBT workplace equality – Global

In 2017, Walt Disney received a 100% score on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a US benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a US LGBTQ civil rights organisation. The CEI evaluates company’s LGBT-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBT community. In addition to the aforementioned, Disney regularly participates in Pride parades across the country and in October 2016, hosted the Out & Equal Conference at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida. 

Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Walmart et al: 20 companies join the Entrepreneurial Coalition for Racial and Gender Equality – Brazil

In 2017, 20 companies joined the Entrepreneurial Coalition for Racial and Gender Equality. This coalition aims to be a space for debate, exchange of experiences and encouragement to implement and improve public policies and business practices in order to promote inclusiveness and diversity in organisations. The coalition is intended to be a pragmatic space where members can find partners for collaboration and action. In its first meeting, Brazilian organisations and UK organisations shared their experience of good practice that was helping to promote racial and gender equity and to prevent discrimination.

The Coalition is an initiative of the Ethos Institute, the Center for Studies on Labor Relations and Inequalities and the Institute for Human Rights and Business with Carrefour Institute and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the UK Newton Fund. Current members include: Agencia Unica, Avon, BRH Brasil, Carrefour, Coca-Cola, Montessoriano College, Gente Bonita, Integrare, Leon Foods and Beverages, LiDiversas, McDonald’s, Natura, Promon Engineering, Santo Caos, Simoes Advogados, Takao Dialogues, TriCiclos, Verbo Mulher, Walmart and White Martins.

* Taken from: UN Global Compact et al, Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide