BERN, Switzerland – A member of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) since June 2015, the ECLT Foundation attended the UNGC event held by the Global Compact Network Switzerland to make ‘Global Goals Local Business’ on 2 February. At the event, representatives from Swiss government, companies, and civil society discussed corporate social responsibility and Sustainable Development Goals as a factor in innovation for the Swiss economy, as part of broader global discussions taking place among 9,300 companies in 166 other countries.
With projects running in eight countries, based on international standards and principles, the ECLT Foundation is committed to moving the Sustainable Development Agenda forward through progressively getting more children out of child labour in tobacco-growing communities. The ECLT Foundation is contributing to the UNGC, specifically through ongoing efforts to support SDG8: the ECLT Foundation is currently aligning and supporting the dissemination of good practices throughout the tobacco supply chain as demonstrated through the Good Practice Guide on Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing. Through its Monitoring & Evaluation online system, the ECLT Foundation is also measuring the impact of its activities to support the 10 principles of the UNGC and the SDGs.
During the forum, company leaders and NGOs raised questions on the creation of new business models that integrate the Sustainable Development Goals. They also discussed specific ways to implement evaluation and control of SDGs to increase transparency. CEOs of Swiss SMEs and multinational enterprises confirmed their commitment to act for sustainable development and to respect and protect human rights throughout their supply chains.
Robert Heinzer of Victorinox said, “Since the creation of the company in 1884, founders and CEOs have been committed to protecting and create new jobs.” Susanne Ruoff, CEO of Swiss Post, explained that “today, employees want to have a job that concretely contributes to society. With our 60,000 employees, we can and want to have an impact on society; our electric fleet is a good example that makes us save tons of CO2 each year.” Improving people’s lives can be good for business, as underlined by Gilbert Ghostine, CEO of Firmenich: “As a global fragrance leader, we worked on molecules to create fragrances that eliminate malodorous smells in emerging countries’ latrines. That considerably improves the well-being of people, and this is also a business opportunity.”
Swiss authorities also reaffirmed their respect of human rights by launching the Swiss national action plan based on the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights, one of the first national plans already available globally. This action plan completes the CSR Position Paper and Action Plan of the Federal Council published in 2015.
The ECLT Foundation is currently preparing its first UNGC Communication on Engagement, which will be available in April.