A magic circle firm has signed up to a set of United Nations business standards to promote equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in the workplace.

Clifford Chance is among early signatories of the UN's five 'standards of conduct for business', which builds on the UN's guiding principles for business and human rights.

The firm has pledged to respect human rights at all times, eliminate discrimination and provide support in the workplace, prevent other human rights violations in the market, and contribute to stopping human rights abuses in the countries in which it operates.

Matthew Layton, Clifford Chance managing partner, said: 'No business is an island. We are part of society and proud to commit to these standards to drive positive social change through what we do every day. From how we hire and develop people, to the work we do, and the partners we work with - living and being judged by these standards will help focus the energies of the business world on making a key difference to the lives of LGBTI individuals.'

Clifford Chance was among 16 law firms to feature in charity Stonewall's latest index of the top 100 most inclusive organisations in Britain.

Layton said that signing up to the standards wasn't just a question of ethics but 'about our ongoing commitment to be a responsible and responsive business'. He added: 'Excluding anyone from any group holds everyone back, and every moment that someone spends worrying about what their colleagues or clients might think of who they are is a moment wasted.'