Formulate sustainability policies

By Ann-Christin Pålsson, Johan Widheden, Sofia Petersson

A sustainability policy defines and expresses the company´s overall vision and intentions concerning sustainability. The policy guides the organisation in their actions concerning sustainability.

Sustainability policies should be based on knowledge regarding the important sustainability aspects of the company´s operations and value chain.

Also, a number of external bodies may help to guide the policy formulation for a company. For example:

The European Union policy documentations may be used as input in the development of company specific policies. The sustainable development strategy for EU recognises the need to gradually change the current unsustainable consumption and production patterns in the world and to do this by striving for an integrated approach to policy-making. It also points out the importance of strengthening the work with partners outside the EU, including developing countries which will have an upcoming significant impact on global sustainable development. Policies set by the EU has a large influence on European based businesses with world wide value chains.
For further information: EU policies for sustainable development

The UN Global Compact states a number of policies that participating organizations shall follow. It is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainable development and responsible business practices.  The UN Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption, called the ten principles. The UN Global Compact was launched in july 2000.
For further information: UN Global Compact