Business process outsourcing (BPO) provider and customer experience partner, Merchants, has become South Africa’s first BPO to join the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.

“We are excited about this new step in our sustainability journey,” says Dr Sydwell Shikweni, transformation director at Merchants. “As a business that serves the needs of clients from a number of offshore regions, we strive to ensure that we are making a positive social impact in our value chain and within every community in which we operate. P

“eople are at the core of our operations, and we strive to ensure we are building a skilled talent pipeline, creating employment opportunities, and providing the right technology to give our people the best possible experience in the workplace.”

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. Its ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change.

With more than 15 000 companies and 3 800 non-business participants based in over 160 countries, and 69 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative — one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.

“The benefit of this goes beyond our business and into our relationships with our partners, stakeholders and clients as we remain transparent, credible and accountable in all we do; and look to advance the responsible business agenda,” says Dr Shikweni.

“Global Compact Network South Africa welcomes Merchant’s public commitment to the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles and Sustainable Development Goals. We look forward to supporting their journey, together with other companies in the Network, for lasting impact both on the company and on society as a whole,” says GCNSA’s executive director Dr Achieng Ojwang.

To build trust, credibility and transparency, companies participating in the UN Global Compact communicate their progress made in implementing the Ten Principles and supporting the Sustainable Development Goals annually.