Reliance, Tata, Mahindra on global list of LGBT+ inclusive companies

Top Indian companies listed in a global study linking inclusive policies to growth

LGBT-flag-office-shutterstock Representational image | Shutterstock

The first ever global analysis on how companies are treating members of the LGBT+ community shows more and more Indian companies adopting a no-discriminative inclusion policy. This includes some of the marquee names of India Inc like Reliance Industries, Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej and Tata Steel.

“It is heartening to see that a number of Indian companies are leading on LGBT+ inclusion – both internally at the workplace and externally to advocate a more LGBT+ inclusive society,” said Dilip Chenoy, secretary-general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

The study, done by the Boston Consulting Group, did a quantitative analysis of the financial impact of the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, queer and intersex communities, commonly referred to as LGBT+ and concluded that there was a direct relationship between a company's support for LGBT+ inclusion and its ability to more effectively connect with global markets and supply chains, without seeing any negative impact on revenue and profits.

The study also showed that companies that explicitly prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity actually saw 20 percentage points higher in proportion of revenue coming from international business.

These companies also saw better customer orientation and were found to attract and retain talent. Indian companies in this list include the likes of Reliance, Tata Steel and Mahindra & Mahindra, which have stated no-discrimination policy against sexual minorities. Also in the list are pharma giants like Dr Reddy's, Lupin and Sun Pharma, as well as well-known corporates like Godrej, Apollo Tyres, Wipro and Infosys.

Last year, the Mahindra Group made headlines when it fired an employee who made homophobic comments about a colleague. Mahindra group chairman Anand Mahindra had declared then, “I can categorically assure you that we celebrate diversity in our workplace.” Another major, Tata Steel, was one of the early supporters of LGBT+ inclusion, prohibiting discrimination, offering same-sex partner benefits and launching an LGBT+ employee resource group.

“Companies are worried that open support for LGBT+ inclusion could trigger a backlash from their customers—this report show otherwise,” points out Parmesh Shahani, founder of the Godrej India Culture Lab, in the foreword to the report. Adds Keshav Suri, executive director of the The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group which is known for organising pride parties and drag shows in his chain of hotels, “By including LGBTQ+ community in society, by giving them respect, we stand to enhance productivity, reduce mental health issues and see a higher contribution to GDP.”