Social Sustainability

Social Sustainability

BDO supports clients in addressing the social pillar of ESG through global experts who offer services that meet clients’ local requirements as well as global policies, if applicable.

We apply a broad view toward relevant industry-specific social topics for our clients, collaborating with external parties and topic-specific experts from within the BDO organisation.

Our work is centred on three core areas:

  • Human Rights
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)
  • Human Capital Management

Human Rights

Human rights recognise the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all humans. They are the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace.  The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948, is a milestone document outlining 30 Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

While countries are obliged to protect human rights, businesses have the responsibility to respect human rights. Companies are held accountable even if the territories in which they operate do not fulfil their obligations. 

Why human rights are important to business

Businesses are increasingly held accountable by their stakeholders to uphold and respect human rights, especially with regards to their people and the communities in which they operate. Respecting human rights forms part of an organisation’s risk strategy, it gives competitive advantage and strengthens a brand. Failure in this important area of ESG can lead to legal consequences, financial loss, investor divestment and reputational damage.

BDO Services

  • Audits of social bonds. Social Bonds are any type of bond instrument where the proceeds, or an equivalent amount, will be exclusively applied to finance or re-finance in part or in full new and/or existing eligible Social Projects
  • Supporting clients with the journey towards SA8000 (a world-leading social certification programme) certification, or join audit teams
  • Stakeholder mapping/dialogue analysis
  • Human rights due diligence
  • Assisting with ISO 14001 certification
  • Social Impact Assessments
  • Compliance assessments, reviews, and audits of the EU Taxonomy minimum safeguards. The EU Taxonomy requires corporate due diligence processes on human rights, including labour rights.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I)

Different talents and perspectives in an organisation make it easier to solve problems and to develop creative solutions to challenges.

However, while diversity brings power and added value, it also comes with challenges - unconscious biases, a dynamic environment with fast-changing realities and the growing movement towards more sustainable production and consumption. This means that organisations need to operate in a completely different way and must develop a strong and resilient corporate culture.

An inclusive workplace means all people can contribute, each with their own uniqueness, with opportunities for everyone to grow at every stage, feeling welcome, heard, valued and respected.

BDO Services

  • Development of an Inclusion and Diversity strategy and roadmap
  • Awareness: leadership and team conversations, integration in employee onboarding and leadership development plans, training to understand bias
  • Employee materials: booklet and conversation starters for parents, reverse mentoring, sponsor programmes
  • Inclusive processes: ID scan of recruitment, promotion and exit processes
  • Development of communication plans to drive internal and external awareness

The goal is to become an organisation with DE&I embedded in the company culture (fixing the organisational system) so that no additional initiatives are required.

To speak to a BDO expert: