Switching to sustainability and Agenda 2030
In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted 17 global goals for sustainable development. Under the Agenda, all 193 member states have now committed to striving for a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable world by 2030. The Agenda contains 17 goals covering everything from combating poverty and improving education to gender equality and sustainable consumption. Holmen is already working within the scope of several of the goals, illustrated above. We are also finalizing a materiality analysis which will identify the areas that our continued sustainability work shall focus on.
"Holmen has been part of the UN Global Compact and its corresponding Nordic network since 2007. We see it as natural to support its ten principles on human rights, social responsibility and anti-corruption." (Henrik Sjölund, President and CEO, Holmen)
Of course, we are not the only ones with sustainability in focus. Many companies are working to make their business more sustainable. Our customer magazine Paper has spoken to three companies from completely different trades whose sustainability work puts them at the vanguard.
The sustainability concepts you need to know about
is the chemical formula for carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Greenhouse gases reflect the sun’s infrared heat back to the Earth’s surface, causing the planet to warm up. We do, however, need carbon dioxide, as without it there would be no life on the planet. Plants use carbon dioxide in the photosynthesis process, converting it into the oxygen that is so important to humans.
The idea that companies have certain obligations and can’t just focus on maximizing their profit has been around for a long time. But only in this millennium has the notion of companies bearing responsibility for their impact on society really broken through on a broad front. Corporate Social Responsibility means a company’s environmental, economic and social responsibility, covering everything from climate impact and biodiversity to product responsibility and working conditions. Increasingly, the term sustainability has begun to replace CSR. Essentially, however, they address the same areas.
The Brundtland Commission’s report Our Common Future defines sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” What does this mean in practice? That companies must take social, ecological and economic considerations into account when doing business. The production of goods and services, for example, must not come at a cost to the environment or human health. Nature’s resources also have to be available to future generations.
There is only one planet and for it to remain in equilibrium, we must not cross the nine boundaries that researchers have defined. Overstepping these boundaries may carry major risks, for example with regard to the supply of food, water and energy. According to published research, we have already crossed four of these boundaries: genetic diversity, climate change, land-system change and biochemical flows of nitrogen and phosphorus, which cause eutrophication.
The UN Global Compact has drawn up 10 principles for companies in the areas of human rights, labour law, the environment and corruption. These principles are based on the UN’s Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the ILO’s fundamental conventions on human rights at work, the Rio Declaration and the UN Convention against Corruption. Companies that wish to run their business in accordance with the 10 principles can become members of the Global Compact. Over 12 000 companies around the world have so far signed up.
More and more companies are reporting their social and environmental responsibility. The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has drawn up a framework of guidelines on how sustainability reporting should be set out. G4 is the name of the framework’s fourth update, which focuses on auditing and reporting on the areas of a company’s business that have a significant impact on the wider world. The guidelines can be followed at two different levels: Core or Comprehensive.