For a better and fairer world
The UN Global Compact pursues the vision of an inclusive and sustainable global economy for the benefit of all people, communities and markets. BRAIN Biotech AG supports this initiative.
BRAIN Biotech AG has recently become an official supporter of the UN Global Compact, an initiative that promotes responsible corporate governance against the backdrop of greater sustainability. We asked Michael Schneiders, Head of Investor Relations and Sustainability at BRAIN Biotech, about this commitment.
Michael, why did BRAIN Biotech take this step and join the UN Global Compact initiative?
Michael Schneiders: On the one hand, with our commitment as a supporter, we want to show that we pledge to assume responsibility in corporate governance in the spirit of the initiative. On the other hand, the initiative offers the opportunity to exchange ideas on sustainability issues, to learn from others and to actively support fairer globalization. The UN Global Compact has a particularly high level of international acceptance and is a leading global network.
What guidelines or requirements should corporate responsibility be based on?
It is based on the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and the UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, according to which companies should move toward greater inclusion and sustainability. The goal of the initiative is an inclusive and sustainable global economy that benefits markets and communities and ultimately all people. Our services and products already directly address at least five of the UN SDGs.
We are committed to aligning BRAIN Biotech AG's corporate strategy, culture and our day-to-day business with the ten principles and the SDGs relevant to us. One such commitment is, for example, also to communicate once a year to all stakeholders the progress made in sustainable corporate governance. We plan to do this as part of a sustainability report for the BRAIN Group, and as part of a progress report, a “Communication-on-Progress Report”, to the UN.
Is compliance with these requirements legally binding?
No, everything is voluntary. But anyone who fails to meet their obligations can also be excluded from the initiative again. We stand by this agreement and therefore regard it as binding for BRAIN.
What are the specific issues at stake?
Environmental aspects play a very big role, of course, but it's about more than that. It is about shaping globalization in a fair way, which means that, for example, respect for human rights or the prevention of corruption also play important roles.
Of the ten principles, three address the environment. Among other things, companies should accelerate the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies. We are already excellently positioned in this area with our bio-based products and solutions.
With a view to expanding the bioeconomy, industrial companies should put their processes and the manufacture of their products to the test and ask themselves whether fossil feedstocks or energy sources could not be replaced by biological processes at one point or another. Our specialists in the BioScience segment can contribute the know-how needed to underpin such considerations with feasibility approaches. In addition, our own products from the BioIndustrial segment contribute to biological production and the circular economy.
How does the status of "supporter" differ from that of "participant"?
The initiative is not, after all, a certifiable standard or a regulatory instrument. Rather, it provides an open forum to initiate change processes and share ideas or best practices, and there are different levels of engagement. As a supporter, we have deliberately chosen a stronger level of engagement here.
Are there organized events for such an exchange? And what role does the German Network of the UN Global Compact play in this?
The strength of the initiative is that it is designed as a global network. Active exchange and a shared knowledge database are an elementary component here. To a certain extent, the German network forms a geographical subunit here in order to network local stakeholders more closely and to drive forward the German contribution to the global initiative. As a very large industrialized country, we also have a role model function to fulfill in this context.
Are there already measures that have been taken or are now being driven forward in the company with regard to even more corporate responsibility?
Responsible action and sustainable management within the company and with the help of our services and products for our partners have already been part of BRAIN’s DNA since the company was founded 28 years ago. With the support of the UN Global Compact and the preparation of a sustainability report, we now not only want to document this more strongly, but also consciously set ourselves ambitious goals for the future sustainable development of the Group. We will publish concrete goals, the implementation strategy, and the mainstreaming of ESG criteria in the general corporate strategy as part of the sustainability report. In the meantime, we are working hard to contribute to better business practices with our company every day.