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Belgian Pride has a genius solution for keeping out ‘pinkwashing’ corporate sponsors

Emma Powys Maurice March 11, 2020
Belgian Pride creates ‘diversity scan’ for pinkwashing corporate sponsors

A man enjoying himself at the 21st Belgian Pride in Brussels on May 14, 2016. (Nicolas Maeterlinck/AFP/ Getty)

Belgian Pride is introducing a screening process for its corporate sponsors to ensure that they actually have inclusive, LGBT-friendly policies.

The Pride parade, in Brussels, is Belgium’s largest LGBT+ event and is due to take place on May 23. Any companies wishing to take part now have to undergo a “diversity scan” carried out by two non-profit organisations, Kliq and Arc-en-ciel Wallonie.

Belgian Pride co-organiser Laurent Mallet told The Brussels Times that the diversity scan is specifically designed to avoid corporate ‘pinkwashing’, which many Pride events, including Pride in London, have been criticised for in recent years.

The term is generally used for companies who tout LGBT-friendly policies in order to present themselves as progressive and tap into the lucrative “pink” market. It’s often done in a bid to downplay more negative aspects of the company.

“We no longer wish to work with brands, but with employers in Belgium who work towards inclusion, both in their human resources policy and in their internal and external communications,” Mallet said.

The diversity scan takes different forms, depending on the size of the company. Small businesses with fewer than 20 employees are allowed to self-scan by filling out a questionnaire, while companies with 20-250 employees will be charged €1,250 to have the scan carried out by one of the two non-profit organisations.

Larger companies with more than 250 employees must undergo the full scan, which includes an examination of their international communications.

They will be questioned on everything from recruitment policy and non-discrimination, to external communications and contacts with external suppliers on the matter of diversity.

Particular attention will be paid to inclusive pronouns, and the companies that operate in French will be questioned on their use of default masculine nouns and pronouns.

The diversity scan will also be applied to any political parties who want to sponsor the event.

More: Belgian Pride, Belgium, Brussels, pinkwashing, Pride

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