Purnaa’s social mission of creating employment that empowers marginalized people to fresh starts and fulfilled lives is central to why we exist as a company. We believe that business can be used to make a positive change in the world. As such, we choose to participate in various networks and organizations to help us focus our social-mission efforts and advocate for more ethical business practices around the world. This is why we joined WFTO, why we are members of the Freedom Business Alliance, and why next month we will participate in Fashion Revolution.
When we learned about the UN Global Compact and UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, we thought it aligned so well with what we are doing with these other efforts that we became official signatories in Oct 2020.
But, what is the UN Global Compact you might ask? And what does the UN have to do with garment manufacturing?
What is the UN Global Compact?
The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, with more than 12,000 companies participating. Launched in 2000, it was created to guide and inspire companies around the globe to join in tackling humanity’s most pressing challenges.
Businesses that join the initiative commit to align their corporate strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption and take actions to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What are the 10 Principles?
The Ten Principles are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. They provide a common framework for companies to operate responsibly and ethically.
Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
What are the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
In September 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted a plan for achieving a better future, making 17 goals to achieve by 2030 to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect our planet.
What does it mean to join the United Nations Global Compact?
Companies that want to take part in the UN Global Compact must commit to implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, take action in support of the Sustainable Development Goals, and submit an annual Communication on Progress (COP). Companies are divided into two categories (participant and signatory) based on company size and financial contribution to the Compact. Purnaa was accepted as a signatory in Oct 2020.
What does this have to do with Garment Manufacturing?
Recognizing that the global textile industry is among the most polluting and has a history of poor labor practices, we believe that companies in the garment industry are among the most important types of companies that should participate in this effort. Thinking similarly, the UN created The United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. The alliance partners with the UN Global Compact to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals through coordinated action in the fashion sector. The alliance frequently holds events to gather together leaders in international development and the fashion and textile industry to work together to accomplish the SDGs.
At Purnaa we hope that by joining the United Nations Global Compact, we can continue to advocate for ethical and sustainable practices in garment manufacturing and complement the efforts we are already doing through our social mission.
If you’d like to read more about how Purnaa is partnering with different organizations and campaigns to advance sustainability in the garment industry, check out our other blogs and links below.