The procurement function links the UN to the market. The United Nations are already committed to encourage suppliers to adhere to the principles of respect of human rights and environmental protection.
The “UN supplier code of conduct”, expresses the overarching values that the UN expects its suppliers to achieve. UN suppliers are encouraged to get acquainted with these principles and to strive to continuously improve their business practices.
With the work that has been achieved done during the last years at a regulatory level by governments around the world, as well as various private sector corporate social responsibility initiatives, markets are now“more prepared”than ever to respond the increased demand for more sustainable products and services, especially by public authorities. However, not all markets are at the same level of readiness when it comes to pursuing sustainable procurement.
UN initiatives such as the Global Compact and the Resource Efficient & Cleaner Production (RECP) programme offer private companies practical support and assistance to support them in establishing their stance on sustainability.
United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
UN organisations expect their suppliers to support the UNGC and its 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 planet, but also setting the stage for long-term success.
The UNGC was launched by UN Headquarters in 2006 as a voluntary international corporate citizenship network to support both the private sector and other social actors’ participation in the advancement of responsible corporate citizenship and universal social and environmental principles to meet the challenges of globalization.
The UNGC requests companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption, known as the 10 principles of the UNGC, which derive from: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
I. Human Rights
Principle 1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
Principle 2. Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses;
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 all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.
More information can be found on www.unglobalcompact.org
Resource Efficient & Cleaner Production (RECP) programme
In 1994, UNIDO and UNEP started their joint programme to establish National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs). Hosted by national institutions in developing and transition countries, these NCPCs foster the uptake of Cleaner Production by businesses and governments alike, through such activities as information dissemination, professional training, in plant assessments, and support for policy change and technology transfer.
The Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) concept was introduced by UNIDO and UNEP in 2008 to emphasize the contribution of preventive environmental management techniques to the productive use of natural resources, minimization of wastes and emissions, and human development. Consecutively, the joint UNIDO-UNEP global RECP programme was formulated and approved in 2009. It is aimed at scaling up and mainstreaming RECP for improving resource productivity and environmental performance of enterprises and other organizations.
The four-pronged programme strategy targets:
- expansion and further development of a global service delivery network;
- thematic RECP applications for greater resource efficiency, waste and emission prevention and safe chemicals management;
- mainstreaming of RECP in government policy and enterprise financing; and
- enabling RECP innovation in products and technologies
For more information please refer to http://www.recpnet.org/