- Laurie Richardson
- Symposium - STAND UP Against Human Trafficking
On Sunday October 9, an afternoon panel at the Symposium will focus on “Tools for Sustainable Change in the Private Sector.” One of the panelists will be Ms. Eppy Boschma, Senior Advisor to the Global Compact Network Netherlands.
The UN Global Compact began in 1999 with a challenge from then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan for the private sector to “give a human face to globalization,” and to do business in ways that benefit society and protect people. The UN Global Compact works to ensure that businesses add value to people, communities and the planet, as well as to their bottom lines. Over 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-profit organizations have joined the UN Global Compact in 170 countries, with around 100 local networks connecting stakeholders on the ground.
Corporate sustainability starts with establishing a culture of integrity and a principled approach to doing business. This means operating in ways that meet fundamental responsibilities in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Global Compact signatory companies incorporate the Global Compact principles into their strategies, policies and procedures, setting the stage for long-term success.
Where does human trafficking intersect with corporate activity? Trafficked and forced labor usually involves people working at the margins of formal economies, with irregular employment or migration status. The sectors most likely to use trafficked workers are agriculture/horticulture, construction, sweatshop garments and textiles, catering, restaurants, domestic work, entertainment and the sex industry. It also affects food processing, health care and contract cleaning.
The Netherlands Network of the UN Global Compact
In 2007, a group of Netherlands-based signatories of the UN Global Compact founded The Netherlands Network of the UN Global Compact (GC NL) to promote the Global Compact's principles and serve its members through organizing learning activities, mutual support with reporting and communication on progress, and joint projects. GC NL now includes over 100 companies in financial services, support services, industry, transportation and software and computer services, guided by the ten Global Compact principles and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.
GC NL encourages private companies in the Netherlands to sign on to the Global Compact; provides for learning, benchmarking through peer feedback on GC reporting; offers opportunities to exchange experiences among GC signatories, public authorities, civil society and academic institutions interested in sustainability; and initiates joint projects including:
Business & Human Rights initiative aimed at giving guidance on corporate human rights policies;
Partnering for Prosperity project that seeks to reduce poverty and hunger by forming local partnerships with small farmers; and
A developing network discussing good practices for eradicating child labor.