I have heard that question several times, and I have heard several answers to it as well. Some people say that the best time to join the UN Global Compact depends on how well established your Corporate Sustainability strategy is, while others say that this doesn’t really matter. Some base their answer on budgeting matters while others prefer to match it with commercial milestones or even Board or senior leadership readiness.
If you ever wondered what would be the best time for YOUR company to join the Global Compact (or if you are already a signatory but would like to help your suppliers or partners find out the answer to that question), let me guide you through a few revealing items that will help you draw your own conclusion.
Are you in the first stages of the CSR or Sustainability journey?
Although suitable for you too if you are a company highly experienced in Sustainability, the Global Compact will be your ally if you are in the initial stages. This is because it provides you with a framework to guide your company across these four core areas: human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. You’ll have also access to tools and stacks of resources, in addition to great opportunities to network with other companies and learn from their best practices.
Are you looking for credentials?
If you already have some CSR or Sustainability programs in place and you are looking for credentials that back your genuine social responsibility commitment, you need look no further. One of the top reasons why corporates join the Global Compact (as for 79% of interviewed companies) is because they have seen increased trust in the company and investor support through this commitment.
Is your business or one of your programs related to any of the Sustainable Development Goals?
The sooner you learn about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) the better because this is what everyone will talk about the next months and years. They are 17, they were published in September, and they address the most important challenges of our time. They are wide-ranging, covering gender equality, health and well-being, water, innovation and infrastructure, responsible consumption, partnerships, among other issues.
The SDG represent the best answer to many companies’ question “What do our stakeholders expect from us?” Through your commitment to the UN Global Compact, you would be taking the first step to contribute to achieving the SDGs
Are Millennials increasing in your customers or workforce profile?
Those born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s (currently 15 to 35 years old if you want to avoid doing the maths), believe that business should focus on people and purpose, not just products and profits according to the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2015. They know the challenges of their time and demand transparency and accountability, the report Impact – Transforming Business, Changing the World” says. Global Compact signatories know that and they are strategically capitalising on it.
Are you still analysing your CSR budget?
If you envisage you may have a modest budget for your CSR strategy, this is something you’ll find like music to your ears; the cost of joining the Global Compact is as high as $0. Yes! It doesn’t cost more than the effort to have your Board and CEO convinced and willing to commit to the Ten Principles through a Letter of Commitment, and then to produce your Communication on Progress Reports annually.
“There is nothing free in this world” you may say, and it is also true about this. You should consider the cost of time and resources you’ll have to put on the implementation of your commitments. You may also want to consider that companies are encouraged to make a voluntary financial contribution to the UN Global Compact headquarters in NY and that, additionally, you have the opportunity join the Global Compact Network Australia (the wisest thing to do as you can listen here) through a membership fee. Both contributions depend on the size of your business.
However, if you think of this as an investment – which it actually is – led by a good internal CSR/Sustainability innovator and the collaboration of your managers and staff, you will get significant tipple bottom line results.
After reading these lines, when do you think is the best time for YOUR business to join the Global Compact? If your answer is TODAY, I think you are absolutely right! Start you application here.