Recognizing the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact

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With nearly 15,500 signatories across 165 countries, the United Nations Global Compact is an initiative aimed at implementing universal sustainability principles and helping businesses take steps to support UN goals. UN member states recognize the compact, which is funded by contributions from government organizations and businesses.

MasterWord recently submitted our 2021 report and is proud to be a signatory along other responsible companies who are committed to creating safer work environments, valuing human rights and fair business practices, and environmental responsibility. The 10 principles in the compact align closely with our mission to connect people across language and culture and with our values of doing business with heart, integrity, and excellence.

What are the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact?

  1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  2. make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
  3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  4. the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
  5. the effective abolition of child labor; and
  6. the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
  7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  8. undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  9. encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
  10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

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The compact groups the 10 principles into four categories.

Human Rights and Working Environment

“Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.”

The first two principles relate to human rights. Not respecting these rights poses several risks and costs to a business, and it is important that any violations of these rights are reported and corrected through voluntary action without repercussion. 

For example, any company that engages with a vendor, contractor, or supplier who abuses human rights violates these principles.

“Businesses should uphold freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor, the effective abolition of child labor, and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.”

These four principles address threats to humane working conditions, child labor, forced labor, and discrimination in the workplace. Even with laws and regulations in place to prevent such occurrences, workplace discrimination can arise in multiple settings, from access to employment to certain occupations and promotions, and especially for those who are underprivileged or have disabilities. The compact aims to eliminate these issues through collaborative efforts of all signatories and urges them to cease any association with businesses who engage in this behavior.
 

For example, a company that punishes an employee for revealing the unlawful actions of a supervisor by withholding a promotion would not be adhering to the principle of the “elimination of discrimination.”

Environmental Responsibility

“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.”

While these principles are easy to accomplish on paper, implementing them can be a daunting task. However, climate change is a growing problem, and even small steps we take to reduce waste and emissions have a collective impact. Signatories recognize our duty to carry out the small and large behavioral changes necessary to protect our environment.

Many organizations have switched to paperless communication, using energy providers that only generate power through renewable resources, using low energy consumption lighting, and reducing waste at company facilities.

Anti-Corruption

“Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.”

The tenth principle not only commits participants to avoid bribery, extortion, and other forms of corruption, but urges them to proactively develop policies to address corruption and report any instances of corruption, both internally and within their supply chain. The elimination of corruption in business produces a more transparent global economy and instills trust and confidence in business collaboration. Both large and small companies are vulnerable to corruption. 

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MasterWord is proud to be a signatory of the UN Global Compact along with many other companies, including CVS, Fluor Corporation, McKesson, and Saipem. The diversity of the participants in the compact, from medical to commercial to engineering, solidifies our dedication to these goals and helps create substantial, sustainable, and positive change for all.

Find MasterWord’s 2021 report here

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