The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Home / case studies / Case study: How the UNOPS works to have a positive impact on the communities where it operates

Case study: How the UNOPS works to have a positive impact on the communities where it operates

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)’s mission is to serve, collaborating with a range of partners, people and communities in need across the globe, increasing local capacity and supporting the delivery of development, humanitarian and peacebuilding projects that meet the needs of the people served.

This case study is based on the 2015 Sustainability Report by UNOPS published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying an organization’s or company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing.

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Working together with governments, UN organizations, local authorities and a wide range of different partners to serve communities in need in over 80 countries around the world, providing project management, infrastructure and procurement services, UNOPS tries to place the needs of local communities at the centre of its operations.  Tweet This! In order to have a positive impact on the communities where it operates, UNOPS took action to:

  • contribute to economic sustainability
  • contribute to social sustainability
  • build national capacity
  • facilitate access to healthcare
  • strengthen safety and security in post-conflict countries

What are the material topics the organization has identified?

In its 2015 Sustainability Report UNOPS identified a range of material topics, such as exit strategy and project closure, anti-corruption, compliance, environmental impact of services including transportation, non-discrimination, health and safety, responsible economic management, responsible procurement. Among these, having a positive impact on the communities where it operates stands out as a key material topic for UNOPS.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups UNOPS engages with:   

Stakeholder Group
UNOPS Executive Board
Internal

Personnel

UNOPS senior management

Regional and country office management

Partners and funding sources

Multilateral partners and funding sources (e.g. UN Agencies, international financial institutions e.g. World Bank, other multilateral institutions e.g. the Global Fund)

Governments

Trust Funds

Foundations

Host governments

Government officials and decisions makers

Regional and local authorities

Cross-sector partners

Non-commercial partners (e.g. Green Project Management, academia, private sector)

Local implementing partners and grantees (non-commercial)

Local communities

Local beneficiaries/community

Civil society

Suppliers

Suppliers of goods, works and services

Media and watchdogs

Local and national media

Other thought leaders

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material topics

UNOPS validated an initial materiality matrix of potential material sustainability risk topics by means of a workshop with key internal stakeholders. To further explore and validate the topics, 14 interviews with primarily internal stakeholders and three external stakeholders (a partner, a donor and a supplier) took place, along with an online survey sent to 1,809 UNOPS personnel in English, French and Spanish (with a 44% response rate, which was regarded as satisfactory). The survey and interview results were taken to a second workshop with internal stakeholders, which helped UNOPS develop a final materiality matrix.

What actions were taken by UNOPS in order to have a positive impact on the communities where it operates?

In its 2015 Sustainability Report UNOPS reports that it took the following actions for having a positive impact on the communities where it operates:

  • Contributing to economic sustainability
  • UNOPS contributes to economic sustainability by, among others, implementing effective management and investment strategies with national governments, supporting livelihoods by creating local employment opportunities, and improving access to markets, through local suppliers. In 2015:
    • 44% of all projects included activities that contributed to economic sustainability
    • 29% of all projects created work for local people
    • 15% of UNOPS senior management was hired locally
  • Contributing to social sustainability
  • UNOPS contributes to social sustainability by, among others, respecting international human rights principles, engaging local communities, placing emphasis on the protection of vulnerable groups, and improving access to food, water, sanitation, education and justice. In 2015:
    • 58% of all projects included activities that contributed to social sustainability
    • 38% of all projects included local community engagement                                             
  • Building national capacity
  • UNOPS collaborates with its partners to develop skills in the communities where it operates. In 2015:
    • UNOPS supported the training of over 62,000 people in health, project management and improved sanitation, among others
    • 55% of all projects included activities that helped develop national capacity, with 33% of all projects providing on-the-job-training to local people
    • 28% of all projects included formal certification programmes
  • Facilitating access to healthcare
  • Much of UNOPS’s work is about developing healthcare infrastructure across the globe. In 2015:
    • UNOPS procured and distributed $15,730,032 worth of goods and services in support of activities concerning malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and, also, maternal, new-born and child health
  • Strengthening safety and security in post-conflict countries
  • The UNOPS Peace and Security Centre assists partners with implementing and managing projects in post-conflict countries. In 2015:
    • UNOPS supported, among others, mine-action, humanitarian, stabilization and explosive management activities, and the weapons and ammunition management work of UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service) and partners in 17 countries and territories

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:

1) G4-8: Report the markets served (including geographic breakdown, sectors served, and types of customers and beneficiaries) – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 102-6 Markets served

2) G4-EC6: Proportion of senior management hired from the local community at significant locations of operation – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 202-2 Proportion of senior management hired from the local community

3) G4-EC7: Development and impact of infrastructure investments and services supported – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 203-1 Infrastructure investments and services supported

4) G4-EC8: Significant indirect economic impacts, including the extent of impacts – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 203-2 Significant indirect economic impacts

5) G4-SO1: Percentage of operations with implemented local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs – the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by UNOPS, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

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