Global Compact International Yearbook 2014

macondogroup

Fighting poverty and global warming are key challenges for mankind. „This year we are laying the groundwork for success in 2015 on three fronts: achieving the Millennium Development Goals, adopting a meaningful new climate agreement, and establishing a new vision for a sustainable future“, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in the 2014 edition of the Global Compact International Yearbook. Edited by macondo publishing the new yearbook offers insights to political as well as sustainability issues.

This years´ focus lies on the Post-2015 Agenda. We discuss the transition from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals. Question are among others: Are the concepts compatible? How does the architecture of a sustainable future look like? And above all: What role does corporate responsibility play in this context?

The second key aspect in our Post-2105 discussion is about measuring the SDGs. In the past indicators have been developed and used in reporting progress toward the MDGs, and now the approach to upcoming SDGs must be systematically developed. This section also includes lessons from innovation management and "big data".

Climate change is another focus of teh yearbook. It counts on very prominent authors like Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Sigmar Gabriel, Vice-Chancellor of the German government and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Other issues are :

Traceability: How certification brings positive impacts and better traceability to business. Elaborated NGO inputs by Karin Kreider, the Executive Director of the ISEAL Alliance and one of the world’s leading experts on credible certification and eco-labeling, as well as Markus Arbenz, Executive Director of the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) and Caroline Hickson, Director of Brand, Communications and Strategic Partnerships at Fairtrade International.

Mandatory CSR: When CSR discussions started in the late 1960s, early 1970s ethical and moral arguments were the drivers. Since then CSR activities have become more holistic and professional. This becomes a principle-based approach in which business seeks to identify smarter business models, products, and services. Elmer Lenzen illuminates the boder zone between voluntary and mandatory CSR.

INDIA’S CSR STORY

The Indian Companies Bill is a remarkable piece of legislation. With one

stroke, it has mandated CSR spending across a multitude of companies.

It is the result of months of discussions with NGOs, companies, politicians,

and bureaucrats, and it is estimated that $3 billion in capital will be

generated annually through the money spent by 16,000 companies on CSR

(2 % of net profits).

By Dr. Utkarsh Majmudar and Namrata Rana

This has happened amidst energetic debate in the Western

world arguing against the need for legislating CSR. But India

operates in a unique context. Our health, water, sanitation,

illiteracy, and poverty problems are immense. Scalable, highimpact,

innovative solutions – driven in part by legislation,

enterprise, and personal action – are the only way out.

The task now is to convert the opportunity that this legislation

provides into tangible outcomes that not only comply with the

law but also highlight the larger vision of the organizations

they impact. The unique culture, skills, and intrinsic abilities

of Indian companies to innovate can establish new ways

to support society and build their brands. CSR solutions can

take the form of collective funds for greater impact, financial

innovation, and new social impact models.

Targeted CSR spends

A study of the Global Reporting Initiative on Indian companies

reveals CSR investments in a multitude of areas. However, the

new bill gives legitimacy only to select areas where these funds

need to be invested. Some of the areas covered include poverty,

education, gender equality, health, and environmental sustainability.

Under the new rules, companies would need to clearly

distinguish those activities that are undertaken specifically in

pursuit of the normal course of business and those that are

done incrementally as part of their CSR initiatives. Expenses

incurred during the normal course of business cannot be

classified as CSR expenses – even though the expenditure is

for CSR-related purposes.

Pooling together resources to reach scale

Before the new rules were mandated, an important question

arose: Rather than simple charity, can corporate India collectively

fund efforts to solve common problems? For example,

large food and drink companies can together target the waste

that their product packaging generates. Automotive companies

can pool resources to address road deaths and unsafe driving.

Steel companies, which are large consumers of water, can work

with local communities to recharge underground wells and

help provide safe water solutions. Together, these corporations

can leverage the kind of scale and longevity needed to solve

these deep-rooted problems.

The rules have given legitimacy to the idea of pooling of resources,

thereby enabling companies to enhance their spending

capacity on bigger CSR projects. Companies belonging to the

same group can set up a nonprofit trust and can join hands

with other companies to undertake CSR projects jointly.

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Global Compact International Yearbook 2014

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