December 9 and 10 mark two important dates in the annual CSR calendar, namely the International Anti-Corruption Day (December 9) and the Human Rights Day (December 10). Learn more about why these issues matter to companies, and how you can use SDGs and UNGC to leverage actions in this field.
The “International Anti-Corruption Day” on December 9 is intended to bring the issue of corruption to the attention of the wide public. Corruption is a crime that undermines social and economic development in societies; every year, about 1 trillion USD is paid in bribes, and about 2.6 trillion USD are stolen through corruption – an amount which is equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the global GDP.
The fight against corruption is anchored in several sustainability-related initiatives and frameworks. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) mention corruption in their goal 16, indicator 5 (“Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms”); furthermore, it is part of the ten principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC). Principle 10 asserts that “Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.” This means that companies should not only avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, but also proactively develop policies and concrete programs to address corruption internally and in the supply chain.
Businesses can contribute to the fight against corruption by several measures, e.g.:
- Enforce zero-tolerance practices towards corruption
- Enact policies covering gifts, supply chain, whistleblowers and other key corruption issues, educate all employees about them.
- Adhere to rules on fair competition
This year’s Human Rights Day, on December 10, is special, as is marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1948, this milestone document proclaimed the inalienable rights which everyone is inherently entitled to as a human being, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth of other status.
Comparable to corruption, human rights are a cornerstone of CSR frameworks. For instance, they can be found throughout the Sustainable Development Goals (a comprehensive mapping of human rights and SDGs can be found under http://sdg.humanrights.dk/en/targets2) and form the first two principles of the UNGC. Companies should follow due diligence principles to avoid infringing human rights and to address adverse human rights impacts where they are involved but are also encouraged to actively take action to support human rights.
The UNGC mentions several measures by which companies can contribute in the promotion of human rights, e.g.:
- Respect human rights in all company operations and wherever they are operating, also in countries with weak governance
- Companies should publicly commit to fulfil their responsibility to respect human rights
- Companies should identify, prevent, mitigate and account for negative human rights impacts which the company may cause or contribute to, a process known as due diligence.
UNGC and SDG as guiding frameworks
For both CSR issues, anti-corruption and human rights, companies can refer to the Sustainable Development Goals as overarching normative framework, while they can leverage the UN Global Compact to actively participate and commit to actions in these fields. Used in combination, both frameworks provide a powerful tool to guide your CSR efforts from target setting to implementation and reporting.
What matters most is to make your program company-specific, by identifying the risks that you face, prioritizing objectives and implementing dedicated actions to address such risks and objectives. DFGE supports already many companies in their way to corporate sustainability, e.g. through assisting in their use of reporting frameworks like the UNGC of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and can support you in finding the right anti-corruption and human rights program. In cases of any questions regarding this topic or our support, don’t hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org or +49.8192.99733-20.