What impact will issues of human rights, corruption or the environment have on local, or global real estate businesses?
The United Nations Global Compact has been working with RICS on identifying the most critical issues facing companies with a stake in land, real estate and construction.
The findings are published in ‘Advancing Responsible Business Practices in Land, Construction, Real Estate Use and Investment’ which identified 15 key issues and 15 actions that are tied to the Ten Principles of the Global Compact
The publication contains links to relevant UN resources and tools which can help companies tackle problems in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.
To follow is an extract from ‘Advancing Responsible Business Practices in Land, Construction, Real Estate Use and Investment’ which encourages companies operating in the real estate development phase to ‘actively promote greater transparency and fight corruption at all levels’:
• Companies should put in place control mechanisms and systematic barriers to prevent people from having the opportunity to engage in, and to benefit from, abuses of power. This can be achieved by structuring bids/tenders in the form of sealed bids that are opened in public or by an online anonymous application procedure.
• Companies should adopt a project-by-project process with regard to fighting corruption. Within that process Transparency International advises following their three key principles: build partnerships, proceed step-by-step, and stay non-confrontational.
• Companies should provide training to employees at all levels on all corruption issues and the potential legal and reputational consequences of engaging in corrupt and in-transparent practices.
• Companies should report progress on how they address the four Global Compact issue areas (anti-corruption, environment, labour, human rights) with regard to the Development Phase. This can be done either against The Construction and Real Estate Sector Supplement of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI CRESS), within a standalone annual sustainability report or as part of an integrated financial reporting.
• Companies could encourage more employees to raise questions or concerns without fear of consequences, for example through the use of a reporting hotline for example.
• Companies could jointly promote collective action through measures such as integrity pacts, anti-corruption declarations, certified business coalitions, principle-based initiatives and education and training with representatives from government, the private sector and civil society.