21.04.2021  |  Menneskerettigheder

Building Responsibly

Indhold fra partner Hvad er dette?

In light of the sustainable construction theme on csr.dk, take a look at BSR's article on Building Responsibly: Integrating sustainability in construction is not just about environmental impacts, it is also about worker rights and resilience.

Integrating sustainability in construction is not just about the environmental impacts of materials and structures, it is also about worker rights, well-being, and especially in a COVID-19 affected world, resilience.

The engineering and construction sector was hit hard by the pandemic as non-essential construction work came to a halt in many locations. Construction workers and companies are faced with a precarious situation with limited income and employment. Even in cases where construction continues, guaranteeing the health and safety of workers poses a significant challenge for companies.

During these circumstances, collaboration can be a critical component for companies to react and eventually recover swiftly from a crisis. The opportunity to reach out and come together with industry peers to share challenges and knowledge is an advantage in 'normal' times and becomes crucial in times of crisis. The initiative Building Responsibly provides businesses in the construction industry with this very opportunity to collaborate.

Launched in 2017, Building Responsibly is a BSR collaboration of leading engineering and construction companies to ensure a better working environment for and promote the welfare of workers in the two sectors. Building Responsibly focuses on three key issue areas: recruitment practices, working and living conditions of workers, and subcontractor and supply chain practices.

How can sustainable business collaborations scale impact?

The challenges and responsibilities companies face regarding worker welfare have increased due to the rapid growth of the sector in the past decade and are increasingly emphasized by the media and civil society organizations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have been exacerbated worldwide and the expectations that external stakeholders have on companies in terms of worker welfare come to the fore.

Many companies are already committed to health, safety, and workers' rights. However, the impact companies may have while working in isolation is limited. In order to address these industry-wide challenges and significantly drive change, collaborations are essential to scale impact.

Building Responsibly helps companies in the engineering and construction sector to align more effectively with regulations and clients' requirements and learn from, as well as engage with, civil society stakeholders. In addition, the collaboration provides opportunities to help promote the rights and welfare of workers and share effective practices with peer companies.

Eventually, the fulfilment of human rights and the commission of safe workplaces is not only a moral bond but will also lead to a healthier and more productive workforce.

How does Building Responsibly advance workers' welfare?

Building Responsibly engages workers, clients, governments, civil society, and international organizations to drive continuous improvement, innovation and development tools to ensure workers rights and welfare. Members adopt common practices and principles, such as the Building Responsibly Worker Welfare Principles.

These principles were developed to provide a global standard of worker welfare in the industry and ultimately advance the safety, security, and welfare of people, specifically workers in the engineering and construction industry. The principles for instance require that workers are free from forced, trafficked, and child labor and are in general treated with dignity, respect, and fairness. And, of particular importance in the context of COVID-19, working and living conditions must be safe, clean, and healthy.

Furthermore, Building Responsibly provides a platform and creates a sense of community for members through stakeholder rountables and other events. Since the pandemic hit for example, the initiative supported companies to navigate risks by facilitating discussions, knowledge sharing and developed COVID-19 Guidance Notes.

What's Next

The sustainability strategy of companies is crucial to truly driving change and work towards a more sustainable engineering and construction industry. Sustainable construction is simply not sustainable if it does not respect workers' rights, no matter how small the environmental footprint of the building might be. Collaborative initiatives provide a unique opportunity for industry peers to successfully integrate this aspect of sustainability into their strategy and address the challenge of worker welfare on their construction sites. Ultimately, we, as a society, are not going to stop building. Thus, let us together build responsibly.

For more information and membership enquiries: BSR or Building Responsibly

Mere fra BSR - Business for Social Responsibility

BSR - Business for Social Responsibility

https://www.bsr.org/

  • web@bsr.org
  • +45 3311 0510
  • Vester Voldgade 8, 1552 Copenhagen V, Denmark

BSR is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies and other partners to build a just and sustainable world. From our eight offices in Europe, North America and Asia, we develop sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration. We are present in the Nordics with our Copenhagen office…

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