Sustainability: it’s just good business

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Sustainability: it’s just good business

Sustainability has become a global buzzword. No longer limited to the lifestyle market, it’s now influencing trends throughout the business world, and with good reason. When considering the recent drought in Cape Town or the deeply embedded corruption of big companies, one realises how important it is that we begin to take a stand before it is too late. Thankfully, changes are already underway and we can all be part of the revolution.

United Nations Global Compact: who they are and what do they do

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. Its efficacy as a change agent across all business spheres is unparalleled; it has driven countless numbers of global businesses to a more sustainable outlook already. This voluntary initiative is comprised of a number of different companies which sign up to become part of the conglomerate. The UN Global Compact then holds said companies accountable by demanding an annual Communication on Progress (COP) outlining actions that have been taken and the outcomes achieved by the company in terms of sustainability. This is no easy task, but they have managed to attract heavyweight participants, a full list of which is published on their website. Their mission statement alone inspires action: “to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.”

The UN Global Compact holds itself to a high standard of integrity, and companies involved are not monitored nor is their performance measured. Instead, public accountability is their number one safeguard and necessitates transparency from their participants. There is also a UN Global Compact Board which intervenes when necessary.

Why and how to rethink and restructure your business

According to statistics from a UN Global Compact-Accenture CEO study, 93% of CEO’s agree that sustainability is important to the future success of their business. As a pro-active attitude towards adopting more sustainable processes permeates the industry, stepping outside this new norm will attract negative attention. The more better practices are adopted and publicised, the more industry pressure will be generated for all business to conform.

There are huge advantages for both companies and consumers to adopting this forward-thinking approach. Businesses with sustainable practices win the trust of their target market and also have an advantage when approaching investors. The impact on customers as citizens of the world is palpable and invaluable. UN statistics claim that more than 8,000 business participants and 4,000 non-business participants are already changing the world by helping to alleviate poverty, intervening into unfair labour disputes and minimising environmental risks globally.

So how do you get involved? The company’s CEO (or the equivalent thereof) needs to commit to being part of the initiative. This act involves pledging to operate within the universal sustainability principles, support society, and report businesses efforts to the UN Global Compact annually. By taking responsibility and cooperating with other like-minded businesses globally, we can make a difference.

TMSA has a code of conduct which declares its compliance to the four areas of the Global Compact, namely: Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-Corruption. TMSA encourages its partners and stakeholders to align themselves with and comply to the UN Global Compact Principles.

To find out more about the UN Global Compact and how to get involved, visit their website: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc