CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY: UN GLOBAL COMPACT.
Written by Erik Sorensen Ruiz
July 5th – 2021.
As the environmental crisis becomes an increasingly urgent and global threat, more and more companies are turning towards sustainable, responsible, and just ways of doing business and leaving behind unsustainable consumption trends. However, many companies strive to improve based on their capacity for innovation, unaware of the large amount of guidance towards sustainable development available out there.
The UN Global Compact is a non-binding pact aiming to encourage companies to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and to track and report their progress. The compact is a principle-based document, stating 10 principles that define corporate sustainability. It focuses on the areas of human rights, labour rights, environment, and anti-corruption. These principles provide a “universal language for corporate responsibility and a framework to guide all companies regardless of their size, complexity or location” (UN Global Compact, p.8).
- Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
- Make sure they are not complicit in any human rights abuses.
- Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.
- The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
- The effective abolition of child labour; and
- The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
- Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
- Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
- Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
- Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
How can companies support it?
On one side, companies can choose to support the UN Global Compact by participating in the discussions and network. The UN Global Compact is not a regulatory instrument, so participants benefit from the forums of debate and communication with labour and civil society organizations offering consultancy on how to improve and report. Currently, 8000 companies and 4000 non-business participants support the pact.
On the other hand, any company or organization can use this guide as a blueprint to improvement without directly or officially participating in the network. The goals and principles in it are flexible, vague, and applicable to any type of organization.
How do we support the global compact at Modulex?
First and foremost, our Code of Conduct addresses all 4 areas of focus in the Global Compact. It serves as a basis for internal justice and as the criteria to select collaborators in our supply chain which comply with our code of conduct. Our international network of partners and business units all follow the same principles – all individuals in the Modulex family have the right to collective bargaining, and no one is judged by their ethnicity, gender, or background. At Modulex all jobs are measured according to skills and potential, avoiding any form of discrimination.
At an environmental level, Modulex has adopted a precautionary approach to developing sustainably. Taking precautionary action to protect the environment and achieve a positive ecological impact is a cornerstone in the Global Compact. At Modulex we have been doing this for more than 30 years! We are not waiting for others to take steps first, nor do we need more evidence that climate change is a threat to all of us. We have decided to act now!
On a daily basis, we work extremely hard to lower our impact by including products with a low carbon footprint in our assortment, applying sustainable design principles, offering modular alternatives which enable upcycling, offsetting our energy consumption, communicating the impact of our manufacturing so our customers can purchase based on environmental impact; we work hard to reduce our energy consumption by adopting energy efficient technologies, LEAN manufacturing, and energy-saving habits and aim to increase our share of renewables in the coming years.
More recently, we have started working hard to communicate our impact to customers and co-workers and to spread out our ideals of sustainability within our network. In 2019 we launched our first circular economy products, GreenBondTM and Etronit, which are manufactured from waste from other industries. Additionally, in 2019 we produced our first Environmental Report ‘ Caring for the Environment’ covering the environmental impact of our factory in Billund, Denmark, in which we address 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Overall, at Modulex we use our expertise as well as other guidance towards sustainability to become greener, and we encourage others to do the same.