Global News | Nov 12, 2018

Avon signs up to the UN’s LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business

UN’s LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business

Avon is delighted to announce support for the United Nations Standards of Conduct for Business to tackle discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. Expressing support for the UN Standards on LGBTI is a continuation of Avon’s longstanding commitment to social progress and freedom of expression – principles that underpin its business and brand proposition.

Avon’s founders were pioneers of women’s financial empowerment – opening up opportunities for women to participate in the economy, in their own way and on their own terms, long before women’s rights were recognised. Avon is proud to have been one of the original signatories to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles and this commitment to the LGBTI Standards is a natural extension of Avon’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Avon has a strong track record of standing up for LGBTI rights and has championed LGBTI role models including Brazilian pop star and drag queen Pabllo Vittar , and singer and transsexual activist Candy Mel. A recent campaign in Brazil , Avon’s biggest market, included a series of testimonials from Avon ambassadors and beauty entrepreneurs from the LGBTQIA+ community, including local artist Rosa Luz, Brazilian model Bia Gremion and Avon Sales Executive Gaby Varconti.

In Mexico Avon recently collaborated with the beauty influencer and transgender activist for tolerance, Victoria Volkova, to create Aura . This fragrance seeks to convey the importance of self-confidence and the belief that true beauty comes from within. The fragrance has been one of the most successful launches of the year for Avon Mexico.

Jan Zijderveld, CEO of Avon, said: “Avon is an open company, and our underlying principles of respect for rights apply to everyone. Discrimination is not welcome at Avon in any shape or form. We want to be a fully inclusive company for LGBTI employees, associates and representatives, and also for our customers and suppliers. Challenging stereotypes is at the heart of many of our campaigns, and we will work to promote positive representations of LGBTI people across our business. Creativity and innovation are unleashed when everyone can flourish. That is the environment in which Avon as a business was built and will thrive.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “If we are to achieve faster global progress towards equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and intersex people, businesses will not only have to meet their human rights responsibilities, they must become active agents of change.”

The UN Standards were produced in collaboration with the Institute for Human Rights and Business and build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. They reflect the input of hundreds of companies across diverse sectors. Over 200 companies worldwide have expressed support for the Standard.

By expressing support for these Standards, Avon commits to:

1. Respect human rights at all times

Avon will develop policies, exercise due diligence, and remediate adverse impacts to ensure they respect human rights of LGBTI people. Avon will also establish mechanisms to monitor and communicate about their compliance with human rights standards.

2. Eliminate discrimination in the workplace

Avon will ensure that there is no discrimination in recruitment, employment, working conditions, benefits, respect for privacy, or treatment of harassment.

3. Provide support in the workplace

Avon will provide a positive, affirmative environment so that LGBTI employees can work with dignity and without stigma

4. Prevent other human rights violations in the marketplace

Avon will not discriminate against LGBTI suppliers, distributors or customers, and will leverage our business to prevent discrimination and related abuses by their business partners.

5. Act in the public sphere

Avon will contribute to stopping human rights abuses in the countries in which we operate. In doing so, we will consult with local communities to identify steps they might take — including public advocacy, collective action, social dialogue, support for LGBTI organizations, and challenging abusive government actions.

Fabrice Houdart, United Nations Human Rights Officer and co-author of the Standards said: “It is particularly meaningful to have Avon join the early supporters of these Standards as Avon has always been about inclusion, and this is a natural extension of that practice and philosophy. Avon is demonstrating a leadership role in fostering greater inclusion of LGBTI people in the many places it does business. We hope more businesses will follow globally.”