Aussie Companies Removed from UN Global Compact
Wednesday, 10th July 2013 at 12:05 pm
Two Australian companies are among 99 organisations recently expelled by the UN Global Compact, but according to the Australian Representative to the UNGC, the expulsions do not reflect the health of the program locally.
Matthew Tukaki, Australian Representative to the United Nations Global Compact and the Director of the Board of the Global Compact Network Australia (UNGCNA) said that the expelled Australian companies were small firms, one of which had recently gone into administration.
Packaging company Colorpak and cleaning firm Swan Services were among the organisations recently shed by the worldwide CSR reporting program for failing to communicate on progress for at least two consecutive years.
“Australian companies are stacking up well, exclusions and expulsions are very rare,” Tukaki said.
Globally, the 99 organisations expelled represented three percent of the 3,288 participants due to submit a communication on progress (COP) in the first six months of 2013.
The UN Global Compact said the sign-up rate had been six times the rate of expulsions.
Business participants in the UN Global Compact commit to issue an annual COP, a public disclosure to stakeholders (investors, consumers, civil society, Governments) on progress made in implementing 10 key principles, and in supporting UN development goals.
Participants may receive Learner, Active or Advanced status according to their level of transparency and disclosure and their implementation of UNGC principles.
Woolworths and constructions and materials firm, Independent Inspections, are the only Australian companies to achieve Advanced status, the former in 2012/2013 and the latter in 2011.
Tukaki said recent years had been devoted to developing a robust Australian network that is financially self-sufficient.
Last year the Australian network tripled its base of signatories and members and was recognised by the UN Global Compact with two awards for local network best practice at the Rio+20 – United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Australian members were not there for tokenistic reasons such as being able to use the UNGC logo in their marketing, Tukaki said.
“We’ve been running a consistent and comprehensive series of events,” Tukaki said.
“Hand on heart, membership is about what they get out of it.”
He said one of the key reasons for the expulsion of Australian companies in the past was the migratory nature of the workforce, and that businesses suffered when key leadership staff championing the program internally moved on.
A second issue, Tukaki said, is the framework losing its visibility, citing other emerging reporting systems and organisations.
‘I’d argue there are too many [reporting bodies], and not all of them are being created by organisational groups comparable to the UN”.
Measures have been put in place, Tukaki said, to make the process easier for organisations signed up to multiple frameworks.
Organisations on the UN Global Compact are now able to submit the same report they submit for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), for example, provided some key benchmarks are met.
At a global level, the UN Global Compact is aiming for 20,000 signatories by 2020.
“It is this journey where we’re convincing people that it’s not just a hollow commitment,” Tutka said.
“I think this is still a new world for a lot of organisations.”