What is the UN Global Compact?
- How do you measure how caring you and your company are now?
- How do you plan to action your caring values?
- How will you plan to continue to improve for the benefit of your company and the planet?
The UN Global Compact is a way to share these concepts in a public statement that is annually reviewed in a Communication On Progress (COP); a report for the world to see. It is not meant as a method of collecting brownie points, but a way to make a difference and keep up the change momentum. It is a well-structured framework but it needs a simple starting entry point for each company. Everything we do has an impact and potentially casts a shadow – but does it give depth and sustenance to our world?
Creating a compact starts with naming your project and understanding terminology
Caring in companies is often called Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR. It has at its heart a concept called Global sustainability the ability of the whole world to manage our planet well, for everyone.
It is quite extensive, long lasting and incorporates our balance with nature – our Environment. But it also encompasses the rights of future generations, so perhaps the unwritten principle is encouraging an opportunity to do better. As individuals we might want to be remembered for leaving this world a better place for our contribution. However companies have an existence beyond an individual. Even sole-traders have the capacity to expand their business or sell a viable businesses based on profitability, systems, reputation.
Look at your company’s value system and principles of doing business. They underpin what you do and how you do it.
To incorporate and meet the UN principles with yours and align the framework, you meet key responsibilities consistently in 4 areas:
- human rights,
- environment and
Values inform strategies, policies, procedures, a culture of integrity, responsibilities and successes we create. The practical daily grind of work leads to the enjoyment of esoteric strengthening and extending ‘good’ to ‘great’. We can give ourselves a pat on the back for any bit of any day when we:
- Understand more clearly what the principles mean to us and those whose values and actions we aspire to,
- Know what we want to achieve and
- What behaviours we have to deliver (or change) to get there
The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact stem from internationally recognised conventions, conferences and declarations. Our own delivery of the principles through business can start with:
- Impassioned enthusiastic employees taking a lead in one principle or just one wish/action
- A committee forming a strategy, policy and action plan
- A response to social media, customer feedback and being pushed or pulled into change.
Either way, it is likely to have a small focus that expands. For example the Financial Times stated there can be no Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability without addressing Environmental concerns. A truly whole CSR policy might address all the areas and principles. The depth of your commitment in one area might exceed others commitment and make your company stand out from the crowd and that will be worth publicity. It is harder and will be quieter to make a sustained change across the board. Some companies might have silent challenges where employees are asked to quietly ‘Make a difference Monday’. To do one thing that makes the company better following the UN Global Compact. However to make the COP system work, someone needs to share what happened to meet the accountability reporting requirement or the company faces the ignominy of being crossed of the list of companies recognised as signatories.
Do your research
- Read about all 10 UN principles listed. (Click on the number in the principle column to go to the appropriate UN page) Allocate a task to study one per day or allocate a different principle to a different employee.
- Take time to consider not just the UN definition, but how you could enact the principle in your company?
- What do you already do as a company? As individual employees? Are there local people and organisations to help you potentially? Do you need to find out about them?
- Suggest just one new idea for each principle. (Be aware of what is manageable.)
- Prioritise, cost, consider, plan and de-risk each idea. Are the viable? Do you want to enable them? Alone or in collaboration with individuals or organisations? (All principles or some this year?)
- Make the decision; are you ready to commit to the UN Global Compact? Appoint someone to submit, monitor and report on your commitment via the COP process.
What it means, What we want to achieve, Rules of behaviour
Support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
Make sure you are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Eliminate all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
Abolish child labour;
Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility;
Encourage development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
Summarising and suggesting
You have taken a responsible, thinking journey. You are making a commitment to possibly the most important organisation on the planet. Before you risk being daunted by this, remember that it is a journey, one step at a time, and deployment might not always be as smooth as you hope.
That’s where an organisation like Clever Resourcing might help. As rollout specialists, business analysts and communicators, we can help facilitate discussions and deeper thinking, create the documents you need, help plan your delivery and measure effectiveness year on year reporting your results to the UN. You have your clever systems that make you stand out as a company; we can be your go-to resource to make the achievements you want and share them. May we wish you every success with your UN Global Compact. www.cleverresourcing.co.uk