Fifth of blue chip firms including Burberry and Taylor Wimpey pay Stonewall £5,000 for advice on diversity, probe shows
- Companies on the London Stock Exchange pay for advice from LGBTQ+ group
- Charity Stonewall charges £5,000 for its ‘diversity champions’ programme
- At least 19 companies are understood to pay controversial group for its service
One in five FTSE 100 companies are being advised on diversity and inclusion by Stonewall, an investigation has revealed.
The controversial LGBTQ+ group is guiding at least 19 of the biggest firms listed by the London Stock Exchange, such as B&Q owner Kingfisher, housebuilder Taylor Wimpey and Burberry.
The blue chip companies have signed up to Stonewall’s £5,000-a-year ‘diversity champions’ programme, analysis by The Daily Telegraph showed. The charity claims the scheme helps shut down discrimination and prejudice in the workplace against lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer staff.
But a string of organisations has severed links with Stonewall amid growing concern about its stance on trans rights.
They include the House of Lords, the Ministry of Justice, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, media watchdog Ofcom and the BBC. Participating firms have been told to ditch references to women or mothers and use terms such as ‘parent who has given birth’.
Controversial charity Stonewall is being paid by more than a dozen top firms to advise them on diversity and inclusion
Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey is one of the 19 companies who are paying the charity for advice
They have also been urged to open female changing rooms and toilets to anyone who self-identifies as a woman.
Midwifery degrees have started teaching students to refer to women as ‘pregnant people’ or ‘birthing parents’ and nurseries have been warned that they are not doing enough to help children ‘recognise their trans identity’.
Primark, which sold a range of Pride-related merchandise in a link-up with Stonewall, recently axed unisex changing rooms after women told of men walking in on them.
Yesterday gender politics activist Caroline Ffiske, of Conservatives for Women, said Stonewall was ‘not the right’ body to go to for advice.
She added: ‘It’s reached the point where I’d consider they’re no longer giving reasonable and balanced advice. I think companies need to be cautious.’
The charity claims the scheme helps shut down discrimination and prejudice in the workplace against lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer staff
At least a dozen FTSE 100 firms have also applied to take part in Stonewall’s ‘workplace equality index’, which ranks them on inclusion policies. Participants, including Tesco, NatWest and pharmaceuticals firm GSK, receive feedback to ‘develop an inclusion strategy relevant to their context’.
They are advised to ensure all non-binary employees ‘have their identities recognised’ and issue multiple passcards or intranet and email accounts with different names and photos for gender fluid staff.
Actor Simon Callow, 73, a veteran gay rights campaigner, last year criticised the charity’s ‘extraordinarily unproductive militancy’ on trans issues.
FTSE 100 firms working with Stonewall were contacted for comment yesterday.
A Stonewall spokesman said: ‘We’re proud of our charitable work. Supporting LGBTQ+ people in the workplace is not controversial.’
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