Australian SDGs Hub For Business

                                

Violence is on the rise worldwide, with a significant increase since 2014.1 Over a period of 15 years, some 3.34 billion people, nearly half the world’s population, have been affected by violence, with children suffering the longest lasting and often most severe consequences.1

Corruption, bribery, theft and tax evasion also blight societies, effectively stealing from future generations. On Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016, more than 120 countries and territories placed closer to the “highly corrupt” end of its corruption scale than the “very clean end.“2

Australia is a relatively peaceful country, ranking 15 out of 163 in the Global Peace Index.3 Australia also ranks highly in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index at 13 out of 176 (although our score has dropped since 2012).4

That said, there remain a range of areas for improvement in this space including for example Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights, domestic violence, and bribery and corruption.

 

How is this relevant to business?

Sustainable development requires stable societies, including the rule of law and respect for human rights. Violence and a lack of human rights undermines communities, human potential and virtually every type of progress – social, political, economic, technological and environmental.

 

What can business do?

Businesses can impact on governance issues, including human rights, peace, bribery and corruption, in a number of ways.

Businesses have a responsibility to ensure they are not contributing negatively to these issues, by respecting human rights and not participating in bribery and corruption. Businesses also have significant opportunities to promote and advance good governance in the communities in which they operate.

At the micro level, companies can enhance good governance by integrating corporate sustainability principles into their own operations and relationships, allowing for greater transparency, accountability and inclusiveness. At the macro level, companies can contribute to the development and implementation of international norms and standards.5

Act Responsibly

  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws
  • Respect human rights
  • Identify any ways that the business might undermine aspects of good governance and think broadly in doing so
  • Pay tax fairly
  • Adopt a code of conduct and robust anti-bribery and corruption program
  • Report transparently
  • Engage with governments (including in relation to policy development) responsibly and consistently with

Find Opportunity

  • Support the rule of law
  • When working in developing countries find ways to support governance institutions (municipal through to national)
  • Enhance community engagement
  • Leverage core competencies and work alongside UN bodies in developing countries
  • Provide access to technology and innovations that benefit underserved markets and populations
  • Invest in children’s rights, nutrition, education and protection
  • Make in-kind contributions to humanitarian organisations
  • Join a national platform or international initiative such as the United Nations-Business Action Hub or the Connecting Business Initiative

 

Links Between Goal 1 and the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles

Human Rights & Labour (UN Global Compact Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

Human rights are undermined by violence and weak governance, and on the other hand a lack of human rights undermines the ability to achieve Goal 16.

“As we see now with utmost clarity in numerous countries, degradation of human rights undermines social justice; erodes political and economic stability; and, eats away at every measure of human development. The outcome for people is calamitous.” (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights)

Environment (UN Global Compact Principles 7, 8, 9)

Environmental impacts that destabilise access to food and water can throw societies into stress and can be a catalyst for conflict. At the same time, conflict has no respect for the environment. This includes the destruction of oil fields, habitat devastation through deployment of chemical weapons and through to harm caused by the mass movement of people.

Anti-Corruption (UN Global Compact Principle 10)

Corruption undermines civil society and feeds conflict and violence. Peaceful, inclusive societies require a fair go for all, free from the distorting influences such as extortion and bribery.

 


1 OECD (2016), http://www.keepeek.com/Digital-Asset-Management/oecd/development/states-of-fragility-2016_9789264267213-en#page50

2 Transparency International (2016), http://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016

3 Vision of Humanity (2017), http://visionofhumanity.org/indexes/global-peace-index/

4 Transparency International (2016), https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/corruption_perceptions_index_2016#table

5 UN Global Compact, https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/our-work/governance

GOAL TARGETS

16.1
Significantly reduce all forms of violence and related death rates everywhere

16.2
End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

16.3
Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all

16.4
By 2030, significantly reduce illicit financial and arms flows, strengthen the recovery and return of stolen assets and combat all forms of organized crime

16.5
Substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms

16.6
Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels

16.7
Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels

16.8
Broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries in the institutions of global governance

16.9
By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration

16.10
Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements

16.a
Strengthen relevant national institutions, including through international cooperation, for building capacity at all levels, in particular in developing countries, to prevent violence and combat terrorism and crime

16.b
Promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies for sustainable development

 

FURTHER RESOURCES

The UN Global Compact’s Business for Peace initiative provides a platform for businesses dedicated to catalysing collaborative action to advance peace.


The UN Global Compact’s Business for the Rule of Law Framework provides guidance on how business can respect and support the rule of law as a complement to government action.


The Anti-Bribery Checklist is based on Transparency International’s Business Principles for Countering Bribery and is designed for business to assess their anti-corruption policy, implementation and monitoring and review mechanisms. It should be read in conjunction with Transparency International’s Self-Evaluation Tool.


The Bribe Payers Index ranks the world’s wealthiest countries by the propensity of their firms to bribe abroad and looks at which industrial sectors are the worst offenders. The index is based on the views of thousands of senior business executives from developed and developing countries.


For more goal-related tools, go to the Inventory of Business Tools webpage on the SDG Compass website. Businesses can explore and find commonly used tools when assessing their impact on SDGs.