Recognising International Day for Tolerance

Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.”  Unesco 

The International Day for Tolerance, observed annually on 16th of November, is an opportunity to promote the values of tolerance and diversity across the globe, written into the identity of the United Nations 70 years ago.   

We only need to tune into the news to witness intolerance and disharmony occurring in many parts of the world at the moment. In these circumstances, we can see both the best and worst behaviour in humanity exposed.  

More directly in Australia, we are witnessing a rise in aggression, assaults and abuse both in physical and online spaces.  

From the ARA’s perspective, there is no room for intolerance to manifest itself into acts of aggression or intimidation against frontline retail workers.  

Cultural tolerance in the retail sector  

Retailers operate in a diverse and multicultural marketplace. In an era of globalisation, retailers often source products from various countries, and our customer base is equally diverse. Tolerance is essential in this context as it ensures that businesses can effectively engage with customers from different cultural backgrounds. Embracing and respecting diverse perspectives, customs, and traditions fosters goodwill and trust among customers, thereby enhancing brand reputation. 

Explore the Human Rights Commission Workplace Cultural Diversity Tool 


Managing customer and employee relationships  

Furthermore, the retail industry is a hub of human interaction. Retail employees interact with a wide array of people daily, from customers to suppliers and fellow colleagues. 

The International Day for Tolerance emphasises the importance of open-mindedness, empathy, and inclusivity, which are essential qualities for retail employees to navigate complex social dynamics. Tolerant employees are better equipped to handle conflicts, misunderstandings, and customer service challenges with grace and professionalism. 

In addition, promoting tolerance within the retail sector can be a strategic advantage. Retailers who actively support and celebrate this day proactively demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility. Retailers can also attract a diverse talent pool, fostering innovation and adaptability in a rapidly changing industry. 

Find out more from the ARA about managing customer aggression. 


Tolerance along the supply chain  

The International Day for Tolerance also encourages retailers to reflect on supply chain practices. Responsible sourcing is an integral part of modern retail and this involves working with suppliers from various parts of the world. Encouraging tolerance in the supply chain helps in maintaining fair and ethical relationships with suppliers, ensuring that they are treated with respect, regardless of their cultural or national background. 

In conclusion, the International Day for Tolerance is important for retailers because it promotes values that are fundamental to success in a globalised and multicultural world. Tolerance helps retailers connect with diverse customers, enhances employee relations, offers a strategic advantage, and fosters responsible supply chain practices. 


Where to find more information 

Human Rights Commission Workplace Harassment and Bullying 

Safe Work Australia, Workplace Violence and Aggression  



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