The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It’s a call to companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption—and take actions that advance broader societal goals.
Copperleaf® recently joined over 12,000 companies from 160 countries that have pledged to do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with the UNGC’s Ten Principles and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In this article, we speak with Paul Sakrzewski, Copperleaf President, about why we joined and what lies ahead on Copperleaf’s sustainability journey.
Why did Copperleaf join the UNGC?
“We chose to join the UNGC as a signatory to build on our commitment to our Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) goals, and to support the UN’s aspirations of transforming our society and the environment through principled business.
“The UNGC understands that a sustainable future cannot be delivered by governments and non-profits alone, and that organizations must take a leading role in setting and aligning sustainability and financial targets for both the good of their businesses and our planet.”
How are businesses kept accountable?
“Participation in the UNGC requires all signatories to submit an annual Communication on Progress (COP) report that details how a company is embedding the Ten Principles into its strategy and operations. It’s a transparent way for stakeholders to understand an organization’s commitment to these universal sustainability principles and development goals.”
What else does the UNGC do?
“The UNGC is focused on learning, dialogue, and partnerships and has developed a large knowledge base of resources—including reports, courses, and webinars—designed to help companies on their sustainability journeys.
“The UNGC Academy is a digital learning platform, where members can access live or on-demand educational sessions with world-class leaders, changemakers, and practitioners about today’s most pressing sustainability issues.
“One of my favourite videos features Filip Engel from Ørsted, a Danish power generation utility that transformed itself from a primarily coal-burning energy producer into a champion of sustainability as the world’s largest developer of offshore wind power.”
How does Copperleaf impact sustainability issues?
“Copperleaf helps utilities, transportation companies, and other organizations that manage critical infrastructure build capital plans that drive their ESG strategies.
“We collaborate closely with our clients as we add new learnings to our evolving value model library. The value frameworks we develop together include ESG value measures like climate risk, emissions reduction, cybersecurity, employee and public safety, community development, government and investor relations, business continuity risk, and so much more.
“This is of course an extensive list, because while environmental factors are among the first that come to mind, we don’t want to forget about the S or the G in ESG either. Having the right value measures in place for social and governance initiatives helps everyone make investment decisions that are more equitable, and leads to reporting that’s more transparent.
“It’s thanks to our client community’s openness and engagement—with how to do better when it comes to doing good—that our growing library now has over 200 value models, with 70% of them related to ESG measures. This library is open to all Copperleaf users because we want to keep the knowledge exchange going.
“One example of our impact is our work with Anglian Water, a water company that operates in the East of England. They’re using Copperleaf’s Decision Analytics Solution to support their ambitious target of achieving net zero by 2030. Our solutions help Anglian Water ensure carbon reduction targets are considered during the planning of their investment portfolio to drive sustainability performance. Our work with Anglian Water also won an Innovation Excellence Award for Enterprise Carbon Management.”
What’s next for Copperleaf’s sustainability journey?
“Our ESG @ Home initiative is Copperleaf’s collective effort toward being more environmentally conscious in everything we do, and holding ourselves accountable by tracking and reporting on our progress. For example, since implementing an action plan to reach carbon neutrality, we’re proud to have achieved it for the past two years by purchasing Gold Standard carbon offsets, equivalent to the carbon we generate.
“We are intentional with our office operations and travel, and maintain an open and inclusive culture where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas—including ones about sustainability. We also demonstrate this mindset in how we help our clients on their sustainability journeys.
“As a new signatory of the UNGC, we’re currently preparing our first formal ESG report and are using this initiative as a catalyst to become a top performer in the ESG space. We’re committed to continuing to make ESG part of our culture, strategy, and operations.”
Learn more about how Copperleaf helps organizations turn aspirational ESG goals into operational plans.