The United Nations is an organization that was first established in 1945 with a main goal of promoting international peace and security. It is made up of fifty-one countries, all of whom are working towards the same goal of promoting a better life for living. Along with the establishment of this organization came the establishment of ten principles there were developed so companies will operate in a manner that values human rights, labour, environment, and anti-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 abuses.
The human rights sector of the principles outlines the fact that businesses should only operate in a way that supports the human rights of their employees. Al businesses have the potential to impact human rights in both positive and negative ways. Ensuring a business positively supports and respects human rights, also means the business can operate in a much more stable business environment. In order for this to happen not only does the business itself need to avoid abusing human rights, they also are obligated to avoid the complicity of other businesses that could affect the reputation of their own.
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 labour;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
The four principles involved in the labour sector of The UN global compact’s ten principles all ensure that the labour practices of a business should be both ethical and legal. In making this happen the business must properly recognize the work accomplished by their employees, as well as collectively bargain rewards when appropriate. These principles are also put into place to ensure that all labour is completed voluntarily, and does not involve compulsory labour, child labour or any type of discrimination.
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.
The purpose of the environmental sector principles is to ensure that all businesses act in ways that are aware of environmental challenges. And that they take initiative to ensure that they develop products in an environmentally friendly way as well as promoting and demonstrating responsibility in creating a more environmentally society. Some practices include, avoiding damage to ecosystems, avoiding excess pollution, and limiting the production of waste.
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
This principle was the last to be added, in 2004 after the Compact Leaders’ Summit had announced that a principle against anti-corruption should be added. Corruption in the business world occurs in many different situations including bribery in a way that allows one to use their power for personal gain only. Not only does this principle deal with avoiding acts of corruption, it also assists in developing programs and policies to prevent future occurrences of corruption.