GEEIS: an international certification in Diversity


Orange is a founding member of Arborus, an international network and endowment fund devoted to gender equality and diversity in the workplace. In 2010, Arborus created the GEEIS (Gender Equality European & International Standard) certification for Gender Equality, and another for Diversity as a whole in 2016. Certifications are valid for four years, with a follow-up audit after two years.

GEEIS is an international standard enabling the development of a common culture in gender equality and diversity in the workplace, offering multinational companies international recognition, encouraging the introduction of tools to manage an inclusive equal opportunity strategy and fostering dialogue and the sharing of best practices between countries.

What did you want to achieve?

The GEEIS certifications give us visibility of the current situation regarding Diversity in the countries that are audited, and they are an enabler to implementing the Group’s Diversity policy in these countries. They also enable us to identify best practices which can be shared with other countries. The fact that countries are audited regularly means that they can monitor their progression. And finally, GEEIS certifications provide tangible recognition.

Our objective is to have 15 countries with a GEEIS-Diversity certification by 2025. We have 10 today.

What did you do?

We have had 19 entities in 17 countries certified since 2011. Half these certifications are in Diversity, the other half in Gender Equality. Orange also participates in regular best-practice sharing events organised by Arborus.

In 2019, Arborus launched a GEEIS-SDG trophy, which associates gender equality (UN Sustainable Development Goal 5) with the other SDGs to demonstrate the inseparable link between social and societal progress, safeguarding the planet and world peace. Orange was awarded a GEEIS-SDG trophy for the Women’s Digital Centres created by the Orange Foundation in Europe and Africa to train women in digital technology and support those who want to start up their own businesses.We are now currently working with Arborus on a GEEIS-AI certification, which recognises and encourages the development of inclusive Artificial Intelligence based on gender-neutral and nondiscriminatory Data.

What are the results so far?

GEEIS certifications in Diversity have encouraged countries to develop structured action plans and tools to measure key indicators, and enabled them to identify their priorities, their weak points and the areas where they can improve.

They have been inspired by best practices identified either within Orange or from other companies. The audit preparation brings teams together and provides an opportunity to communicate on the subject both internally and externally, brainstorm and construct a Diversity roadmap.

What have you learned?

We established that our key success factors include gaining top management commitment at Group level and in the country concerned along with using standard tools across all countries, where possible – a standard pay gap analysis tool, for instance. Sharing best practice and leveraging the feedback received from the auditor also proved crucial.

We also learned that auditors look for structured action plans and clear objectives.