Aspirational Statements and Standards
Amnesty International Human Rights Principles for Business
Origin. The Principles were published in 1998 by Amnesty International, a worldwide movement promoting human rights enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights ( UnitedNationsDeclarationofHumanRights.html). They are rooted in a conviction that “the silence of…business interests in the face of injustice is not neutral.”
Purpose. The Principles are designed to help companies fulfill their responsibility to promote and protect human rights. More specifically, they are intended to help prepare companies to address circumstances in which human rights have been violated, or where the potential for violation exists.
Critical Content. The Principles are predicated on a belief that companies must protect human rights within their own operations, and the business community has a moral and legal responsibility to use its influence to promote human rights within society. They address the following issues:
- Security Forces – Companies should ensure that any security arrangements protect human rights and are consistent with international standards for law enforcement;
- Community Engagement – Companies should take reasonable steps to ensure that their operations do not negatively affect human rights in the communities where they operate.
- Freedom from Discrimination – Companies should ensure their policies and practices prevent discrimination based on ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, religion, political or other conscientiously-held beliefs, birth, or other status.
- Freedom from Slavery – Companies should ensure their policies and practices prohibit the use of chattel slaves, forced labor, bonded child laborers, or coerced prison labor.
- Health and Safety – Companies should ensure their policies and practices provide for safe and healthy working conditions and safe products. Also, workplaces should be free from employee abuse, and mental or physical coercion.
- Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining – Companies should ensure that employees, without penalty, can exercise their rights to free expression, collective bargaining, and peaceful assembly and association.
- Fair Working Conditions – Companies should ensure just and favorable conditions of work, reasonable job security, and fair and adequate remuneration and benefits.
Implementation. Responsibility for implementation lies with companies. The Principles call for companies to establish (1) an explicit human rights policy; (2) procedures to examine the human rights impact of operations; (3) safeguards to prevent employee complicity in abuses; (4) mechanisms to monitor compliance; and (5) a process to independently verify company compliance reports. Companies also are called to promote adoption of the Principles by their suppliers and business partners.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.web.amnesty.org/ai.nsf/index/ACT700011998
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The Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum Business Code of Conduct
Origin. The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum Business Code of Conduct resulted from a process initiated at the 1999 APEC CEO Summit in Auckland, New Zealand.
Purpose: The APEC Business Code draws explicitly upon other sources – for example, the Caux Round Table Principles for Business and the OECD Guidelines for Corporate Governance – to create a model code a company can use to supplement or strengthen its own code of conduct. The Business Code is intended to (1) encourage corporate transparency and predictability, (2) challenge APEC governments to maintain their commitment to enhanced transparency and predictability within the public sector, and (3) develop a better match between business practice and public expectations.
Critical Content. The Business Code articulates seven standards for corporate conduct:
- International and Local Communities – A company must recognize its responsibilities toward the international and local communities within which it operates and the individuals that make up those communities;
- Respect for Laws – A company must respect international and domestic rules and recognize that some behavior, although legal, may still have adverse consequences;
- Stakeholder Responsibility – A company must recognize the rights of stakeholders as established by laws and encourage active co-operation between companies and stakeholders in creating wealth, jobs, and the sustainability of financially sound enterprises;
- Responsibility for the Environment – A company must protect and, where possible, improve the environment within which it operates, promote sustainable development and prevent the wasteful use of natural resources;
- Free and Fair Competition - A company must support free and fair competition in our industries and avoid anti-competitive actions;
- Company Governance - A company should implement a company governance framework that ensures timely and accurate disclosure on all material matters regarding the company;
- Illicit Actions - A company must not participate in or condone extortion, bribery, money laundering, or other corrupt practices.
Implementation. While intended to supplement company codes of conduct, it is expected that the CEO of any enterprise using the APEC Business Code would sign the Code and formally agree to uphold the moral obligations it expresses.
This code is currently not available online. We will provide a URL as it becomes available.
25. April 2003
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Origin. The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) was formed in 1989 to promote responsible corporate environmental conduct. Shortly after the disaster of the Exxon Valdez , CERES announced the creation of the Valdez Principles. Later renamed the CERES Principles, this statement represents an environmental ethic for corporations.
Purpose. The CERES Principles are offered as a comprehensive statement of environmental values for businesses within any industry sector. They are intended to help companies formalize their dedication to environmental awareness and accountability, and actively commit to an ongoing process of continuous improvement in environmental performance, dialogue, and comprehensive, systematic reporting.
Content. The Principles encompass ten broad, aspirational standards, covering the following points:
- Protection of the Biosphere
- Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
- Reduction and Disposable of Wastes
- Energy Conservation
- Risk Reduction
- Safe Products and Services
- Environmental Restoration
- Informing the Public
- Management Commitment
- Audits and Reports
Implementation. CERES encourages companies to endorse the Principles. Endorsement is a two-way process, entailing both a company’s commitment and CERES’ acceptance of this commitment. Endorsement also involves ongoing dialogue with CERES. Through this process, companies are asked to publicly demonstrate their commitment to the Principles, address concerns raised by CERES coalition members and other stakeholders, and agree to report their results annually.
Currently, over 70 companies have endorsed the CERES Principles, including large multinational corporations, mid-sized companies, and small firms. The endorsing companies are U.S –based in the main.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.ceres.org
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The Clarkson Principles of Stakeholder Management
Origin and Purpose . The year after his retirement from the faculty of the University of Toronto in 1988, Max Clarkson (1922-1998) founded the Centre for Corporate Social Performance and Ethics in the Faculty of Management, now the Clarkson Centre for Business Ethics & Board Effectiveness, or CC(BE) 2 . Four conferences hosted by the Centre between 1993 and 1998 brought together management scholars to share ideas on stakeholder theory, an emerging field of study examining the relationships and responsibilities of a corporation to employees, customers, suppliers, society, and the environment. The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation funded the project, from which the Clarkson Principles emerged.
Critical Content. After an introduction to the stakeholder concept with comments on shareowners and the legal and moral duty of managers, seven (7) principles of Stakeholder Management are set forth, each with a paragraph or two expanding on its meaning. These principles represent an early stage general awareness of corporate governance concerns that have been widely discussed in connection with the business scandals of 2002.
Principle 1 : Managers should acknowledge and actively monitor the concerns of all legitimate stakeholders, and should take their interests appropriately into account in decision-making and operations.
Principle 2: Managers should listen to and openly communicate with stakeholders about their respective concerns and contributions, and about the risks that they assume because of their involvement with the corporation.
Principle 3: Managers should adopt processes and modes of behavior that are sensitive to the concerns and capabilities of each stakeholder constituency.
Principle 4: Managers should recognize the interdependence of efforts and rewards among stakeholders, and should attempt to achieve a fair distribution of the benefits and burdens of corporate activity among them, taking into account their respective risks and vulnerabilities.
Principle 5: Managers should work cooperatively with other entities, both public and private, to insure that risks and harms arising from corporate activities are minimized and, where they cannot be avoided, appropriately compensated.
Principle 6: Managers should avoid altogether activities that might jeopardize inalienable human rights (e.g., the right to life) or give rise to risks which, if clearly understood, would be patently unacceptable to relevant stakeholders.
Principle 7: Managers should acknowledge the potential conflicts between (a) their own role as corporate stakeholders, and (b) their legal and moral responsibilities for the interests of all stakeholders, and should address such conflicts through open communication, appropriate reporting and incentive systems and, where necessary, third party review.
Implementation. In many ways, the Clarkson Principles are “meta-principles” that encourage management to embrace specific stakeholder principles and then to implement them in accordance with the norms listed above. Their current use seems largely hortatory, unlike principles or codes that call for formal adoption by managers or corporations.
To view this code in its entirety, please visit: http://www.mgmt.utoronto.ca/~stake/Principles.htm
19 December 2002
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Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI)
Origin . The ETI is an alliance of companies, NGOs and trade unions that share a common interest in the labor issues associated with multinational supply chains. ETI was founded to promote “ethical sourcing”, defined as “a company taking responsibility to work with its suppliers to implement internationally accepted labor standards in the workplace.”
Purpose. The purpose of ETI is to “identify, develop and promote good practice with respect to implementing codes of labor practice.” ETI members share experiences and promote learning about implementing international labor standards. The ETI does not audit or certify companies.
Critical Content . ETI consists of a “Base Code” plus principles for implementation. The Base Code, agreed upon in 1998, draws from the ILO Conventions on worker and human rights. Companies are expected to adopt the Base Code for their own operations, or develop a company-specific version of the code. Companies are expected to require that suppliers meet the Base Code in a reasonable amount of time; otherwise, business is withdrawn from non-compliant suppliers. Rapid corrective action is required by compliant suppliers that violate certain code sections. The ETI acknowledges that some parts of the code may be (1) subject to constraints not controlled by the supplier, (2) in contravention of national laws or (3) otherwise not realizable by the supplier. In these cases, an ETI company may limit the scope of application of the code by division or product line, or may set an alternative schedule for compliance. The nine provisions of the ETI Base Code are:
- Employment is freely chosen.
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected.
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic.
- Child labor shall not be used.
- Living wages are paid.
- Working hours are not excessive.
- No discrimination is practiced.
- Regular employment is practiced.
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.
Implementation . The Base Code (or the company’s version thereof) is to be implemented systematically. Principles of implementation are offered to the company “as general principles upon which to develop or refine their search for best practice.” The ETI underscores that transparency about implementation is as important as effective implementation. Notable among the principles for implementation is the commitment to an annual report of progress relative to the code. As of this review, the standards for such report are not yet agreed. The implementation principles are as follows:
- Monitoring, independent verification, and reporting
- Awareness raising and training
- Corrective actions
- Management procedures, pricing and incentives
To view this code in its entirety, please visit: http://www.eti.org.uk/pub/publications/purprinc/en/index.shtml
26. February 2003
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Fair Labor Association Workshop Code of Conduct
Origin. The Workshop Code of Conduct was developed in the late 1990’s by the Apparel Industry Partnership. Implementation of the Workshop Code is overseen by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a coalition of companies, universities, and NGOs.
Purpose. The Workshop Code articulates workplace standards for companies in the garment and footwear industries. The Code is intended to protect workers’ rights, promote humane working conditions, and help eradicate “sweatshops” worldwide. It applies to companies which adopt the code, including their suppliers and contractors. It also applies to the licensees of universities affiliated with the FLA.
Critical Content. The Workshop Code is based upon core labor standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It addresses nine areas of concern:
Forced Labor : Prohibits use of forced labor (e.g., prison or indentured labor)
Child Labor : Prohibits child labor, in alignment with local and international law;
Harassment of Employees : Prohibits employee abuse;
Nondiscrimination : Prohibits discrimination in all aspects of the employment relationship (e.g., hiring, promotion, benefits eligibility, etc.);
Health and Safety : Mandates safe and healthy working conditions;
Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining : Mandates recognition of employees’ right to unionized and bargain collectively;
Wages and Benefits : Requires payment of a minimum wage;
Hours of Work : Established restrictions on the number of hours employees may work within a week; and
Overtime Compensation : Requires payment for overtime hours at the premium established by local law, or at a rate no less than the wage paid for regular hours.
Implementation. Companies adopting the Workshop Code must apply it to their own operations, as well as to their suppliers, contractors, and licensees. Where standards of conduct set by local laws conflict with those articulated within the Workshop Code , companies are called to apply the higher standard. Companies monitor their own compliance, but also must permit independent external monitoring. Both internal and external monitoring are performed in accordance with principles and guidelines established by the FLA. The FLA also accredits external monitors. When conditions are found that fail to meet the standards articulated within the Code, companies are required to implement corrective action and have the effectiveness of these corrections verified by external monitors.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.fairlabor.org/all/code/
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International Confederation of Free Trade Union (ICFTU) and International Trade Secretariats (ITS) Basic Code of Labor Practice
Origin. The 111th meeting of the ICFTU Executive Board (Brussels, December 1997) adopted a "Basic Code of Conduct covering Labor Practices". The Code’s text was developed by the ICFTU/ITS Working Party on Multinational Companies in a process that entailed extensive consultations with various trade union organizations, as well as other individuals and groups.
Purpose. The Basic Code seeks to establish a set of minimum standards that should be included in all codes of conduct addressing labor practices. It promotes the primacy of international labor standards and respect for trade union rights. A central idea behind the Code is that labor exploitation and abuse cannot be separated from the repression of workers and therefore codes of conduct must incorporate freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The Basic Code can assist trade unions that are negotiating with companies or working with NGO’s in campaigns involving codes of conduct. The Code’s provisions also may be adopted by a company doing business internationally.
Critical Content. The Basic Code requires a company and its contractors, subcontractors, principal suppliers and licensees/franchise holders to ensure that:
- All employment is freely chosen – bonded or involuntary prison labor is prohibited;
- There is no discrimination in employment;
- Child labour is not used;
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected;
- Workers are paid a living wage;
- Working hours are not excessive;
- Working conditions are decent; and
- The employment relationship is established – that is, obligations to employees under labor or social security laws/regulations are not be circumvented.
Implementation. Implementation and monitoring requires a company to apply the Basic Code to its own operations and the operations of its contractors, subcontractors, principal suppliers and licensees. This means:
- Contractors, subcontractors, principal suppliers and licensees must provide the company with operational information, permit inspection at any time, maintain complete worker records, inform workers of the Code provisions, and refrain from discriminating against any worker for providing information concerning observance of the code.
- The company will terminate contractors, subcontractors, principal suppliers and licensees that breach the terms of the Basic Code.
- The company must establish a procedure to resolve questions about the Code’s meaning and its implications.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.icftu.org/displaydocument.asp?Index=991209513&Language=EN
1. April 2003
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ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
Origin. T he ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its promotional follow-up were adopted on 18 June 1998, thereby taking up the challenges of globalization which have been the focus of considerable debate within the ILO since 1994.
Purpose. The aim of the Declaration is to establish a social minimum for workers at the global level. The Declaration seeks to stimulate national efforts to ensure that social progress goes hand in hand with economic progress while respecting the diversity of circumstances, possibilities and preferences of individual countries.
Content. ILO Member States, even if they have not ratified the Conventions, must promote and realize, in good faith and in accordance with the ILO Constitution, the principles concerning the fundamental rights which are the subject of those Conventions, namely:
(a) Freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
(b) Elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour;
(c) Effective abolition of child labour; and
(d) Elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Members should not use labour standards for protectionist trade purposes. The ILO supports members in attaining the above objectives.
(a) By offering advisory services to promote ratification and implementation of the fundamental Conventions;
(b) By assisting Members not yet in a position to ratify some of these Conventions in their efforts to respect the principles concerning fundamental rights
(c) By helping Members create a climate for economic and social development.
Implementation. The Declaration's Follow-up contains two promotional reporting tools: 1) The Annual Review is composed of reports from governments describing the efforts made to respect the principles and rights relating to all unratified fundamental ILO Conventions, and comments from worker and employer organizations. These reports provide a baseline against which countries can measure their own progress. 2) The Global Report , submitted by the ILO Director-General to the International Labour Conference, paints a dynamic global picture of the situation with regard to one of the categories of principles and rights each year. In a four-year period, all four principles and rights will have been reviewed. It serves as a basis for determining future priorities so that the Organization through its technical cooperation activities can assist its members in implementing the Fundamental Principles and Rights.
To view this code in its entirety, please visit: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/decl/declaration/text/
15. October 2002
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International Labour Organization Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy
The Governing Body of the International Labour Organization adopted the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy in 1977.
The Declaration is intended to encourage the positive contribution which multinational enterprises (MNE’s) can make to economic and social progress, and to minimize difficulties arising from their operations. It provides principles regarding the social aspects of multinational enterprises, for the use of governments, employee organizations, and MNE’s themselves.
MNE’s should obey national laws, respect international standards, honor voluntary commitments, and harmonize their operations with the social aims and structure of countries in which they operate .
Governments should promote full, productive, freely chosen employment. MNE’s should endeavor to increase employment opportunities and standards in host and home countries; give priority to the employment, development, promotion and advancement of host country nationals at all levels; and promote employment through use of employment generating technologies and local sourcing arrangements.
Equality of opportunity and treatment
All governments should promote equality of opportunity in employment.
Security of employment
Governments should take suitable measures to deal with the employment impacts of MNE’s. MNE’s should strive to provide stable employment and reasonable notice to government authorities when operational changes would have major employment effects. Governments, together with MNE’s, should provide some form of income protection for workers whose employment has been terminated.
Governments should develop national policies for vocational training and guidance. MNE’s should ensure relevant training is provided to all employees, to meet the needs of the firm and those of the host country. Multinationals should also afford opportunities within the enterprise as a whole to broaden the experience of local management.
Conditions of work and life
In developing countries, MNE’s should provide the best possible wages, conditions of work (including health and safety), and benefits, adequate to satisfy basic needs and within the framework of government policies. Governments should adopt policies ensuring that lower income groups and less developed areas benefit as much as possible from MNE activities. MNE’s should provide upon request information concerning health and safety standards observed in other countries which are relevant to local operations.
Workers should have the right to establish and join organizations of their choosing, and protection against anti-union discrimination. MNE’s should allow collective bargaining, providing facilities and access to resources that will allow meaningful negotiation. MNE’s and national enterprises should consult regularly with employees on matters of mutual concern. All workers should have the right to submit grievances without prejudice, and to have them investigated. MNE’s and national enterprises should work to develop resolution mechanisms to assist in the prevention and settlement of disputes.
Implementation of these standards is on a voluntary basis.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/standards/norm/sources/mne.htm
03. November 2003
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An Interfaith Declaration: A Code of Ethics on International Business for Christians, Muslims and Jews
Origin . The Declaration emerged from a series of consultations between distinguished Christians, Muslims, and Jews, which took place under the patronage of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Crown Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, and Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. Discussion of the Declaration’s terms began in 1988 and concluded in 1993.
Purpose. The Declaration aims to establish an ethical basis for international businesses, formulated in terms of the shared moral and spiritual values of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism – the Abrahamic ethical tradition common to these religions. It provides principles and guidelines to help practitioners identify the role they and their organizations should play in the community, and to support problem-solving.
Critical Content . The Declaration identifies four ethical principles common to Christianity, Islam, and Judaism:
- Justice : Fairness, and the exercise of authority in the maintenance of right
- Mutual Respect : Reciprocal regard between individuals
- Stewardship : Trusteeship of God’s creation
- Honesty : Truthfulness and reliability in thought, word, and action.
The Declaration also articulates guidelines intended to help business practitioners activate these broad principles on three different levels:
- The economic system within which business activity takes place
- The strategy and policies of individual organizations
- The behavior of individual employees
Implementation . The Declaration is offered as a touchstone for ethical reflection by business managers, organizations, and those who advise companies. Recommended implementation steps include (1) endorsement by the “highest level of business management”; (2) communication to all employees; and (3) “a method for seeing its precepts are carried out”.
To view this code in its entirety, please visit: http://astro.ocis.temple.edu/~dialogue/Codes/cmj_codes.htm
29 January 2002
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OECD Principles of Corporate Governance
Origin. The OECD Principles of Corporate Governance were developed in conjunction with national governments, international organizations, and the private sector, as a result of an OECD Council meeting held on April 27-28, 1998. The Principles reflect the experiences of national initiatives within OECD Member countries, as well as work previously carried out within the organization. OECD organizations involved in the preparation process include the Business Sector Advisory Group on Corporate Governance, the Committee on Financial Markets, the Committee on International Investment and Multi-national Enterprises, the Industry Committee, and the Environment Policy Committee.
Purpose. The Principles are non-binding, and serve as a reference point. They are intended to assist efforts by Member and non-Member governments to evaluate and improve the legal, institutional, and regulatory framework for corporate governance. They also provide guidance to stock exchanges, investors, corporations, and other parties that contribute to the corporate governance process. The Principles focus on publicly traded companies. They also may serve as a useful tool for improving governance within privately-held companies.
Critical Content. The Principles address governance problems that result from the separation of ownership and control in the modern corporation. They identify the critical elements required for good governance. Specifically, they focus upon:
- Rights of Shareholders
- Equitable Treatment of Shareholders
- Role of Stakeholders in Corporate Governance
- Disclosure and Transparency
- The Responsibilities of the Board
Implementation. I mplementation is the responsibility of governments and corporations. The OECD calls upon them to decide how to apply the Principles within their own frameworks for corporate governance, taking into account the costs and benefits of regulation. The Principles also are evolutionary in nature, and should be reviewed in light of significant changes in the business environment.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/47/50/4347646.pdf
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OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
Origin. The Guidelines were originally adopted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 1976 as one element within its Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises . They were last revised in June 2000.
Purpose. The Guidelines are targeted specifically towards multinational enterprises from OECD member countries that adhere to the Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises. They provide multinational enterprises – defined here as “companies or other entities established in more than one country and so linked that they may coordinate their operations” – with voluntary, non-binding principles and standards of good business conduct. The Guidelines are intended to help these enterprises contribute to economic, environmental, and social progress, with a view towards achieving sustainable development.
Content. Section I of the Guidelines ( “Concepts and Principles”) establishes the broad context for their use and implementation. The remaining sections articulate standards in nine areas:
I. General Policies
III. Employment and Industrial Relationships
V. Combating Bribery
VI. Consumer Interests
VII. Science and Technology
Implementation. Implementation of the Guidelines ultimately depends upon the initiative of the individual companies. To support their efforts, countries adhering to the Declaration on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises are required to establish National Contact Points (NCPs). The NCPs promote the Guidelines , address inquires about them, and hold discussions with all interested parties. NCPs also come together annually to share experiences and report to the OECD Committee on International Investment and Multinational Enterprises (CIME). CIME meets periodically to discuss the Guidelines and to consult with business advisors, trade unions, and NGOs.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: www.itcilo.it/english/actrav/telearn/global/ilo/guide/oecd.htm
2. August 2002
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Social Accountability 8000
Origin. SA8000 is the product of Social Accountability International (SAI), an organization founded in 1997. SAI is dedicated to addressing the growing concern among consumers about working conditions in factories around the world.
Purpose. SA8000 is intended to overcome the difficulties associated with monitoring internal corporate codes of conduct. It offers (1) a standard for workplace conditions, and (2) a system for independently verifying a factory’s compliance with this standard.
Content . SA8000’s normative elements are based upon International Labor Organization conventions and United Nations human rights standards, while its verification system draws upon established business strategies and systems for ensuring quality (e.g., ISO 9000). Its social accountability requirements address nine areas:
- Child Labor
- Forced Labor
- Health and Safety
- Working Hours
- Free Association and Collective Bargaining
- Management Systems
Implementation . SAI accredits firms to act as external auditors that certify whether manufacturing facilities are in compliance with SA8000. Certification of compliance with SA8000 means that a facility has been examined in accordance with SAI auditing procedures and found to meet the standard’s requirements.
To view this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.cepaa.org/SA8000/SA8000.htm
08 May 2002
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The Social Venture Network Standards of Corporate Social Responsibility
Origin. The Social Venture Network (SVN) was created in 1987 to develop an association of business and social entrepreneurs dedicated to the idea that business can be a potent force for solving social problems. The SVN began to develop a written set of standards for business responsibility in 1995. The Standards first appeared in 1999.
Purpose . The Standards of Corporate Social Responsibility are intended to be a compendium – that is, a short, but complete summary – of strategies and techniques for improving organizational performance. They represent an effort to define the landscape of corporate social responsibility and provide tools for organizations to make continuous improvement that is in concert with their overall business strategy.
Critical Content . The Standards identify nine foundational principles for corporate social responsibility:
- Ethics - The company develops and implements ethical standards and practices in dealings with all company stakeholders. The company’s commitment to ethical behavior is widely communicated in an explicit statement and is rigorously upheld.
- Accountability - The company acknowledges that many constituents have legitimate interests in its activities and discloses information in a timely matter so that stakeholders can make informed decisions. Stakeholder need-to-know takes precedence over inconvenience and cost to the corporation.
- Governance - The company balances the interests of employees, customers, investors, lenders, suppliers, affected communities, and other stakeholders in strategic objectives as well as day-to-day management and investment decisions. The company manages its resources conscientiously and effectively, seeking to enhance both financial and human capital.
- Financial Returns - The company compensates providers of capital with an attractive and competitive rate of return while protecting company assets and sustainability of these returns. Company policies are established to enhance long-term growth and shareholder value.
- Employment Practices - The company engages in human resource management practices that promote personal and professional employee development, diversity at all levels, empowerment, fair labor practices, competitive wages and benefits, and a safe, harassment-free, family-friendly work environment.
- Business Relationships - The company is fair and honest with suppliers, distributors, licensees, and agents. It promotes and monitors the corporate social responsibility of its partners.
- Products and Services - The company identifies and responds to the needs, desires, and rights of its customers and ultimate consumers. It strives to provide the highest levels of product and service value, including a strong commitment to integrity, customer satisfaction, and safety.
- Community Involvement - The company fosters an open relationship with the community in which it operates and plays a proactive, cooperative, and where appropriate, collaborative role in making the community a better place to live and conduct business.
- Environmental Protection - The company strives to protect and restore the environment and promote sustainable development with products, processes, services and other activities. It is committed to minimizing the use of energy and natural resources and decreasing waste and harmful emissions. The company integrates these considerations into day-to-day management decisions.
Implementation. The SVN Standards include not only principles (i.e., brief value statements), but also practices (means by which an organization can improve its performance relative to a principle), measures (tangible indicators of performance), and resources (potential sources of additional information). Taken as a whole, the Standards are analogous to the Caux Round Table Self-Assessment and Improvement Process, another tool designed to help organizations improve their performance.
The Standards suggest behavior, but they do not set a level of performance that is considered adequate. While the Standards’ authors hold that their principles are universally valid, they recognize there is no such thing as a generic company or a generic prescription for social responsibility: factors such as economic sector, governance, geographic scope, etc. must be considered. Therefore, it is assumed that companies who wish to improve their social performance will implement those pieces of the Standards most useful to their situation.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.svn.org/initiatives/standards.html
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The Global Sullivan Principles
Origin. The Global Sullivan Principles were formulated by Reverend Leon Sullivan in 1997.
Purpose. The Global Sullivan Principles seek to support economic, social and political justice by companies where they do business; to support human rights and encourage equal opportunity at all levels of employment, including racial and gender diversity on decision making committees and boards; to train and advance disadvantaged workers for technical, supervisory and management opportunities; and to assist with greater tolerance and understanding among peoples, thereby improving the quality of life for communities, workers, and children.
Critical Content. The Global Sullivan Principles articulate eight general norms for companies, requiring them to:
- Support universal human rights, particularly those of employees, the communities within which they operate, and the parties with whom companies do business.
- Provide equal opportunity for employees at all levels with respect to color, race, gender, age, ethnicity or religious beliefs, and prevent unacceptable worker treatment such as the exploitation of children, physical punishment, abuse of women, involuntary servitude, or other forms of abuse.
- Respect employees' right to freedom of association.
- Provide compensation that enables employees to meet basic needs, and afford them opportunity to improve their skills and capabilities in order to increase their social and economic opportunities.
- Provide a safe and healthy workplace, protect human health and the environment, and promote sustainable development.
- Promote fair competition, respect intellectual and other property rights, and not offer, pay or accept bribes.
- Work with governments and communities to improve the quality of life -- educational, cultural, economic and social well being--and provide training and opportunities for workers from disadvantaged backgrounds.
- Promote the application of these Principles by those with whom they do business.
Implementation. Companies that ascribe to the Global Sullivan Principles are called to implement policies, procedures, and internal reporting structures that help ensure commitment to these aspirations. Endorsing companies and organizations are asked to take part in an annual reporting process, to document and share their experiences.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: www.globalsullivanprinciples.org/principles.htm
15. July 2002
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Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility
Origin and Purpose . The purpose of the Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility is to promote positive corporate social responsibility consistent with the responsibility to sustain the human community and all creation. The Principles were drawn up in 1995 and revised in 1998 by collaborating agencies of certain faith communities in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. They are the Taskforce on the Churches and Corporate Responsibility (TCCR) in Canada, the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) in the UK, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) in the US.
Critical Content. The Principles are offered as an ethical standard for global corporate social responsibility. They arise from the faiths of the participant groups, communities, denominations and traditions. At the foundation of the Principles is the belief that the community rather than the company is the starting point of economic life. For the community to be sustainable, all members (stakeholders) need to be recognized, i.e. consumers, employees, shareholders, the community at large and corporations. The Principles are grouped into two "sections" -- "The Wider Community" and "The Corporate Business Community" -- as indicated below.
The Wider Community
Section 1.1 - Ecosystems. High standards to minimize environmental damage and health impacts. The 'precautionary principle' is overriding: Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation. Companies should take responsibility for the environmental impact of its products and services throughout the life cycle of these products and services.
Section 1.2 - National Communities. The company values being a citizenship in all its locations and full compliance with all internationally recognized standards. It also contributes in a responsible and transparent way to each society's efforts to promote full human development for all its members and does not use the mobility of capital and the immobility of labor as a tool against workers.
Section 1.3 - Local Communities. The company strives to contribute to the long-term environmental, social, cultural, and economic sustainability of the local communities in which it operates.
Section 1.4 - Indigenous Communities. The company is committed to respecting fully the rights of indigenous peoples as they are recognized by the appropriate jurisdictions and laws.
The Corporate Business Community
Section 2.1 - The Employed - Conditions. The company ensures that each employee is treated with respect and dignity. This includes genuine respect for employees' right to freedom of association, labor organization, free collective bargaining, non-discrimination in employment and a safe and healthy working environment provided for all employees.
Section 2.2 - The Employed - Persons
Sub-section 2.2a - Women in the Workforce. The company values women as a vital group of employees who have a significant contribution to make to the work of all companies and ensures that there is equal remuneration for work of equal value.
Sub-section 2.2b - Minority Groups. The company does not discriminate on grounds of race, ethnicity, or culture.
Sub-section 2.2c - Persons with Disabilities. The company ensures that persons with disabilities who apply for jobs with the company receive fair treatment and are considered solely on their ability to do the job with or without workplace modifications.
Sub-section 2.2d - Child Labor. Neither the company nor its contractors exploit children as workers.
Sub-section 2.2e - Forced Labor. The company does not use any forced labor, whether in the forms of prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor, slave labor or any other non-voluntary labor.
Section 2.3 - Suppliers. The company accepts responsibility for all those whom it employs either directly or indirectly through contract suppliers, sub-contractors, vendors or suppliers.
Section 2.4 - Financial Integrity. The company insists on honesty and integrity in all aspects of its business, wherever business is conducted. It does not offer, pay, solicit or accept bribes in any form.
Section 2.5 - Ethical Integrity. The company recognizes that its directors and employees have a central role in upholding the company's ethical standards and codes of conduct.
Section 2.6 - The Shareholders. The company's corporate governance policies balance the interests of managers, employees, shareholders, and other interested and affected parties.
Section 2.7 - Joint Ventures / Partnerships / Subsidiaries. When entering into and throughout the duration of joint ventures and partnerships, the company takes into account the ethical implications as well as the financial implications of those relationships.
Section 2.8 - Customers & Consumers. The company adheres to international standards and protocols relevant to its products and services and is committed to marketing practices which protect consumers and which ensures the safety of all products. It is fully committed to fair trading practices.
Implementation. The Principles for Global Corporate Responsibility are aspirational in the sense that they urge adoption by managers and corporations, but do not specify an assessment or follow-up process. However, the Taskforce has correlated a set of critiera and benchmarks with the Principles; these can be used to assess a company's conformity to these aspirations.
More information about the Principles may be found at http://www.web.net/~tccr/benchmarks/index.html .
4. June 2003
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United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Origin. The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.
Purpose. The Declaration is intended to provide a foundation for the recognition, respect, and realization of human rights by promoting a common understanding of these universal rights and freedoms.
Content. The rights enumerated within the Declaration are relevant to all spheres of human activity. Like the Caux Round Table Principles for Business , the Declaration recognizes the dignity of the human person and the fundamental equality of all (Article 1). Articles 23, 24, and 25 (1) are of particular interest to business organizations. They identify a series of rights intimately linked to the employment relationship.
- Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
- Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
- Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
- Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Article 24 .
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
- Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Implementation. The Declaration calls upon “every individual and every organ of society” to promote respect for the enumerated human rights through education, and to support “their universal and effective recognition and observance” through progressive national and international measures.
To visit this code in its entirety please visit: http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html
08. May 2002
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The United Nations Global Compact
Origin. United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed the Global Compact at the World Economic Forum on January 31, 1999. He challenged world business leaders to help build the social and environmental pillars required to sustain the new global economy and make globalization work for all the world's people.
Purpose. The Global Compact is not a regulatory instrument, but a tool designed to promote institutional learning. It seeks to use the power of transparency and dialogue to identify and disseminate good practices that are rooted in globally-acknowledged principles.
Critical Content . The Compact encompasses nine principles, drawn from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights , the International Labor Organization’s Fundamental Principles on Rights at Work and the Rio Principles on Environment and Development . These are:
- Principle One : Protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
- Principle Two : Non-complicity in human rights abuses
- Principle Three : Support for freedom of association
- Principle Four : Elimination of forced and compulsory labor
- Principle Five : Effective abolition of child labor
- Principle Six : Elimination of employment and workplace discrimination
- Principle Seven : Support for a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
- Principle Eight : Initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
- Principle Nine : Development and diffusion of environmentally-friendly technologies
Implementation . To engage in the Compact, companies are asked to have their chief executive officer send a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General, expressing a clear commitment to the Compact. Engagement includes (1) taking concrete steps within the organization to act on the nine principles, (2) sharing these experiences on the Global Compact website, to contribute toward the development of a “comprehensive learning bank”, and (3) advocating publicly for the Global Compact.
To view this code in its entirety, please visit: http://www.unglobalcompact.org/Portal/Default.asp
29. January 2002
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