Poppy Jacobs & Charlotte Woodland - May 24 2021
Business as a Force for Good - Palladium’s Commitment to the United Nations Global Compact

Credit: Ilyass Seddoug

Progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals is too slow – the world is not on track to end poverty, achieve gender equality, or combat climate change. With less than ten years to go, not only do governments need to be on board but so do businesses if the Goals are to be achieved by 2030. So, in 2020, Palladium signed up to United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and submitted its first global Communication of Progress last month.

The UNGC is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative, with over 13,000 signatories across 160 countries. Through its ten principles of responsible business, including human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption, the UNGC is a call to action for businesses and organisations to align operations and strategies with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“In the wake of one of the most challenging periods in living memory, we believe that the values enshrined by the UN Global Compact and Sustainable Development Goals are ever more pertinent and sit yet more powerfully at the centre of the impact that Palladium delivers,” says Palladium CEO Christopher Hirst.

For the first time, this report brings together Palladium’s global commitment to Sustainable Business through project work and corporate initiatives. The report details the company’s ambition, approach and impact, celebrating Palladium’s achievements in 2020, and looking ahead to how the company can continue to push itself in 2021.

Going Beyond Commitments

From hosting an internal Race, Ethnicity and Culture month for staff, to mentoring disadvantaged students and supporting environmental organisations through the Let’s Make It Possible Foundation, Palladium’s Commitment on Progress 2020 highlights continued progress as the company further embeds principles of the UNGC into its work, through Palladium’s Sustainable Business approach.

The report highlights areas of strength from across all of the UNGC Principles. Regarding human rights, in the 2020 Global Health 50/50 Report and Index, Palladium was rated as a high scorer based on performance across several indicators from stated commitment to gender equality to addressing imbalances of power and privilege in the workplace.

Palladium is also leading on addressing environmental impacts. Under the Science Based Targets initiative, Palladium committed to developing science-based emission reductions targets in line with limiting temperature increases and achieving net zero emissions no later than 2050.

One example of Palladium leading on labour best practice is attracting and retaining Indigenous Australians into corporate and project roles in the Asia Pacific region. Indigenous Australians experience significantly higher rates of unemployment than non-Indigenous Australians. And in support of the Australian Closing the Gap initiative, Palladium is identifying new channels for recruitment.

A prominent achievement towards the anti-corruption Principles, Palladium has introduced a new Ethical Contracting Policy, which structures its approach to working with select industries and select governments to ensure that the company’s work aligns with its values and commitment to ethical conduct.

Upholding Global Values

Research confirms that the majority of UNGC member organisations are outperforming those that have not committed to the 10 Principles, in relation to sustainability measures within business operations and through their supply chains. This is not surprising, given the wide range of tools, resources, best practice guidance and access to networking and partnerships that are available to UNGC participants.

But the benefits of participating in the network go beyond the UNGC’s toolbox. Commitment to sustainable and responsible business is imperative in terms of building trust and company reputation. Expectations have shifted, and stakeholders, including clients, consumers, employees and impacted communities, demand that companies make a positive impact. 80 percent of companies cite increased trust in the company as the main reason they participate in the UNGC.

By adopting the UNGC’s 10 Principles, businesses demonstrate a public commitment to uphold these values of societal importance. The UNGC’s principled approach and the requirement to report on progress annually is critical to ensure transparency and the accountability of participating companies.

In so doing, UNGC membership is not only good for society but good for business. Demonstrating strong purpose can help businesses attract and retain the best talent, increase competitive advantage within their industries, raise ESG scoring performance, and provide opportunities for growth and innovation.

According to a UNGC and Accenture study, 49 percent of CEOs believe that business will be the most important actor to deliver the Global Goals. Advancing the UNGC agenda is particularly important to show business sustainability leadership. Yet, businesses need to increase their ambitions, and more businesses need to join the mission.

That’s why Palladium is a proud signatory of the UNGC, formalising its dedication as a front-runner of responsible business and demonstrating authentic commitment to driving positive impact for Palladium’s employees, for the communities where Palladium works and throughout the supply chain.

Read the full report and contact info@thepalladiumgroup.com for more information.