Corporate sustainability starts with a companyâ€™s value system and a principled approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that, at a minimum, meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption – GCNT
UN Global Compact in Tanzania
January 19th 2016, Tanzaniaâ€™s Vice President, Samia Suluhu Hassan officiated the soft launch of the UN Global Compact Network (GCNT) at a high profile function held in the commercial port city of Dar es Salaam.
The event brought together a cross-section of private sector CEOâ€™s, Managers as well as other top ranking government officials to set precedence for Tanzanian businesses to operate sustainably.
The GCNT initiative serves to instill corporate sustainability and a principled approach to doing business in ways that meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.
Speaking at the event, her Excellency the Vice President said that the launch in Tanzania sends a strong signal that companies and other stakeholders in Tanzania are ready to implement the Global Compact Network principles and to also scale up their commitment to sustainability.
â€œBoth the government and the private sector must ensure that in whatever investment we make or undertaken, we consciously and deliberately uphold human rights, create jobs, protect the environment and fight corruption,â€ she said.
Her Excellency made special emphasis on the private sector to back government efforts in combating corruption in the backdrop of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan.
â€œThe fight against corruption cannot be wonÂ by the government alone,â€ she admitted and appealed for collaborative efforts from the private sector.
â€œFighting corruption should be everyoneâ€™s obligation and so business people have to make their businesses sustainable and fighting corruption is key,â€ emphasized the countryâ€™s first female Vice President.
On his part, Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) Executive Director, Godfrey Simbeye urged the government to establish a national anticorruption strategy; â€œfighting corruption without a national strategy will take long time to accomplish the war,â€ he warned.
The United Nations Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Alvaro Rodriguez pointed out that with the recent discoveries of commercial viable gas reserves (55 trillion cubic feet) and also in light of the prospects for oil auguring well for the country, more efforts were needed in designing strategic and integrated perspectives that would help eliminate negative tendencies and maximize development potential.
â€œCompanies and institutions are invited to join the UN Global Compact (UNGC) because they will gain a lot, including the opportunity to tap into the global network and resources of the United Nations that will help them develop their businesses,â€ he said.
He said GCNT is a principle-based framework for businesses with ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor, the environment and anticorruption.
â€œCompanies should commit themselves to the initiative by exhibiting greater transparency in their practices,â€ he urged.
GCNT is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative with 12,000 organizations spread over 160 countries.
It has two main objectives: Mainstreaming the ten principles in business activities around the world and two, catalyzing actions in support of broader UN goals, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The network envisions a responsible and ethical society dedicated towards the sustainable use of natural resources, improving livelihoods and equitable economic growth.
GCNT was announced by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in an address to the World Economic Forum on January 31, 1999 and was officially launched at the UN headquarters in New York on July 26, 2000.
The 10 principles
By incorporating the Global Compact principles into strategies, policies and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to people and the planet but also setting the stage for long-term success.
The UN Global Compactâ€™s Ten Principles are derived from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organizationâ€™s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuse.
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.