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by Ashish Singh

Former Program Manager and Deputy Head of Product Development at Alpian

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Since the 1970s scientists have been warning us about the effect human beings have on the climate and how it is changing our environment. So much so that they coined a new term: global warming.

The height of the pandemic revealed new insights into the nature of this human impact. There were high hopes around how having more than half of the world population stay at home could positively affect the planet.

And the findings were alarming: The drop in emissions during the global lockdown is said to have little impact on the climate crisis. It has brought to light that societies are responsible for a large part of global warming.

But how can we fix this problem on a company level?

Corporate sustainability starts with a company’s value system. Responsible businesses enact the same values and principles wherever they have a presence, and know that good practices in one area do not offset harm in another. By incorporating the Ten Principles into strategies, policies and procedures, and establishing a culture of integrity, companies are not only upholding their basic responsibilities to the people and the planet but also setting the stage for long-term success.

What is the United Nations Global Compact?

The creation of the UN Global Compact was announced in January 1999 by the then UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and was officially launched in July 2000.

The aim of the Global Compact is to encourage businesses around the world to be more sustainable and socially responsible. It is a voluntary pact that any business or firm around the world can join.

The aim of the Global Compact is to encourage businesses around the world to be more sustainable and socially responsible. It is a voluntary pact that any business or firm around the world can join.

The UN Global Compact aims to put forth change in the world through 10 principles that fall under 4 categories (human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption). These principles apply to every company or business that joins the compact:

  1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
  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.
  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.
  9. Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
  10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

Is it effective?

Companies are as important for change as governments or civil society organisations. By applying just these 10 principles, businesses can help bring forth a better and cleaner world for future generations. And of course, they can always go further than just the recommended actions.

But belonging to this pact is just a beginning. To make a real change in the world, companies need to change their way of doing business to be more sustainable, fairer and have a positive impact on communities around them and in the world.

For example, companies could also look into the 17 Sustainable Development Goals from the UN. These goals are useful, not only as companies but also as an investor. If a company belongs to the UN Global Compact and tries to apply its principles as well as follow the SDGs, you can then assume that it is a company that is trying to be part of the solution, not the problem.

According to the UN Global Compact, 78% of CEOs see sustainability as an opportunity for growth and innovation.

So why should you care?

As an investor, it is undeniable that you should care about sustainability and sustainable development of business, as it is bound to be an undeniable trend this century. Indeed, according to the UN Global Compact, 78% of CEOs see sustainability as an opportunity for growth and innovation.

And we can see this shift towards a more sustainable model in a lot of industries. In the fashion industry, for example, investment opportunities in sustainable models could be estimated at $20 to $30 billion annually. Thus, being interested in what the UN Global Compact does and which companies decide to be a part of it can actually be crucial to you as an investor.

Sustainable business has become a big trend this century, and it is bound to stay that way, at least for the foreseeable future.

Note: This article is part of a series offering the audience sustainable alternatives for improving our environment, societies and the larger world.

Since its inception, sustainability lies at the core of Alpian’s vision for a better world, and we have taken steps to become a part of the solution. As an organization, we have committed to operating in a sustainable manner by adhering to the highest global standards. For instance, we have woven tangible and meaningful forms of carbon capture and sequestration into the Alpian experience. As a means to contribute positively to the environment.

Stay tuned for more updates on this front.


The content of any publication on this website is for informational purposes only.

About the author

Ashish brings more than a decade of multi-faceted experience at Fortune 500 firms across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. As the program manager for Alpian, he thrives on crafting curated strategies and implementing them, in order to help launch and scale one of the most promising fintechs in Switzerland.

He is well versed in galvanizing diverse, multinational teams to make the impossible possible, and cares deeply about people, planet and purpose-driven/sustainable business models.

He is an alumnus of globally renowned universities: IMD Switzerland and IIT Roorkee, and lives by the mantra of ‘paying it forward’ through mentoring individuals and startups.

Outside of work, Ashish is an avid enthusiast of badminton, tennis, astrophotography and science.

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