Business Ethics Policy (1213P10)

Status: Lapsed | Zone: Sustainability

Passed: 04/02/2014 | Lapsed: 04/02/2014

This policy was discussed at the following meetings:

  • That after the standing committee review, sustainability  has taken a much bigger role in SUSU with the introduction of the      Sustainability Zone
  • That sustainability is defined as: “development that  meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future      generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland, 1987)
  • That in The Union Plan to 2015, two of SUSU’s ten values  are ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’
  • That in The Union Plan to 2015, we pledge to: “systematically  test the sustainable impact of our events, services and activities –      economically and environmentally, reducing impact where we can”  (18.1)
  • That SUSU currently has seven policies relating to our  business ethics, which are as follows: ‘No Sweat’ (2007), ‘The Arms Industry and the Students’ Union’ (2009), ‘Fairtrade and Trade Justice’ (2009), ‘Purchasing of Recycled and Environmentally Sensitive Materials’ (2010), ‘Purchasing of Fairly Traded Items’ (2010), ‘Ethical and Environmental Policy Statement’ (2010), ‘Nestlé Boycott’ (2011)
  • That of these policies, three of them are due to lapse in June and there is duplication between many of them
  • That SUSU trades with dozens of local, national and international commercial organisations
  • That our current practise of vetting external organisations is subjective and undemocratic, which leads to a non-consistent approach
  • That as a charity that claims to be both sustainable and responsible, we should take care to work with external organisations that share      our values
  • That as a member-led organisation, we have the capacity to make an impact on the world around us
  • That SUSU should favour an objective scheme for checking the business ethics of any external company that do business with SUSU to      ensure impartiality
  • That SUSU, as a powerful stakeholder, should open constructive dialogue with businesses so that their ethical practices can be discussed and improved
  • That SUSU should inform students of poor ethical  practises in businesses and provide information to help them make personal      choices
  • That a business ethics policy offers SUSU a chance to influence key partners such as the university to adopt a similar scheme
  • To implement a practice across the whole of SUSU which assesses the corporate social responsibility records of external companies      and organisations
  • To use an external organisation which independently and impartially audit companies to assist us in making these ethical business      choices
  • To fully understand the highest priorities of our students when it comes to business ethics and take into account these      priorities when it comes to auditing
  • To include in the process an opportunity for allowing special dispensation; if the decision is challenged by a student or staff member based upon legitimate circumstances, it can be taken to  Sustainability Zone, or Union Council or Trustee Board if the issue is      particularly contentious
  • To lapse any current policies which are covered by this holistic approach
  • To allow for individual policy to over-ride this one in extreme and specific cases
  • To advertise our suppliers’ ethical rating, as defined by the auditing process, on any labels used to advertise them in commercial spaces.
  • The Ethics and Environment Committee and the VP Welfare and Communities (the Sustainability Zone and VP Welfare from July 2013) to      roll out an implementation programme with a phased approach by 2015
  • The Ethics and Environment Committee and the VP Welfare and Communities (the Sustainability Zone and VP Welfare from July 2013) to consult students regarding their priorities with business ethics
  • The Ethics and Environment Committee and the VP Welfare and Communities (the Sustainability Zone and VP Welfare from July 2013) find an appropriate way to communicate which businesses we accept and reject to students.