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Open University joins the UN Global Compact

pictorial image of the 17 sustainable development goals
29 January 2019

The Open University has publicly demonstrated its commitment to sustainable development by signing up to the United Nations Global Compact.

The OU is one of only 13 UK academic organisations who have so far joined the Compact, a corporate responsibility initiative with more than 12,000 business and other organisations signed up in over 160 countries.

The move formalises the OU’s ongoing commitment to delivering UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), across the four nations of the UK and beyond through the work of the university’s International Development Office and related Strategic Research Area

It also demonstrates the OU’s institutional commitment to corporate responsibility in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

“We are the only UK university that does research, teaching and large-scale project delivery in international development,” said Senior Institutional Fundraiser Tom Bartram, who led the university’s Global Compact application.  

“The OU’s international development projects and research cover the breadth of the SDGs.”

And in the UK, the OU promoted the SDGs to Civil Society Organisations through a series of workshops, culminating in a report examining to what extent the SDGs are being implemented across the UK’s four nations.

Corporate responsibility

Organisations subscribing to the Global Compact pledge to do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with the UN’s Ten Principles; and to take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, notably the SDGs. 

Under the terms of the Global Compact the OU will submit a publicly available Communication on Engagement (report) every two years to show how it is delivering on its commitment. 

“We already have a body of evidence to that effect, because promoting and delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals is an integral part of the OU’s social justice mission,” said Tom Bartram.

“Signing up to the Global Compact is an internationally verifiable way of proving our organisational commitment to sustainability.”

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