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UN global compact


United Nations Global Compact

The United Nations (UN) Global Compact requests companies to embrace, support and enact nine universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards and the environment. Eskom, a signatory to the compact, continues to support the UN Global Compact through its sustainable practices.

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Practical examples of how Eskom has implemented these principles that are detailed below:

United Nations (UN) Global Compact

Eskom's main activities in support of principles

Human rights

Principle 1

Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights within their sphere of influence.

Principle 2

Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Eskom is a member of the International Labour Organisation and has programmes including:

  • employment equity, including gender and disability equity;

  • electrification;

  • BEE; and

  • SMMEs development and training.

Eskom has incorporated issues surrounding human rights into decision-making, and engaged in extensive public consultation and community involvement through various projects and initiatives such as the electrification programme and assisting in ensuring affordability through energy efficient lighting programmes. Refer to pages 74 -76 of the Eskom 2003 Annual report.

The procurement practices in Eskom support SMMEs and large black businesses for the supply of goods and services. Refer to page 74 of the Eskom 2003 Annual report.

Eskom's policies and procedures are developed to ensure compliance with South African legislation, including the Constitution, which specifically provides for the protection of human rights.

Labour standards

Principle 3

Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.


Principle 4

The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.


Principle 5

The effective abolition of child labour.


Principle 6

Eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

Eskom practises freedom of association and recognises the right to collective bargaining, as set out in the South African Labour Relations Act.

The impact of HIV/AIDS is managed through education and awareness programmes, voluntary counselling and testing, and care and support for infected and affected employees. Eskom has taken a corporate leadership and sponsorship role in the research for the development of a vaccine against HIV/AIDS. Refer to page 63 of the Eskom 2003 Annual report.

Eskom continues to maintain transparency and worker consultation in decision-making through forums and agreements with employees and unions.

Eskom supports the involvement of labour at the highest levels of governance.

Employment equity policies have been implemented that are inclusive of race, gender and people with disabilities to ensure that Eskom builds an organisation that is representative of all the people of South Africa.

Black management, professional and supervisory staff reached 56,3% in 2003 with women in such positions accounting for 27,8%.

Eskom has continued to demonstrate commitment to development and transformation by investing R505 million during 2003 in educating and training workers, both internal and external to Eskom. Refer to page 63 of the Eskom 2003 Annual report.

During 2003, there were 1 850 bursars and trainees, of which 87,0% were black and 50,0% were women.

Eskom has an established home ownership and rental subsidy scheme for employees, to enable them to have access to accommodation.


Principle 7

Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.


Principle 8

Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.


Principle 9

Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.

The Board Sustainability Committee addresses economic, environmental and social issues and is responsible for the approval and the presentation of recommendations to the Board regarding policies, strategies and guidelines in particular for safety, health, environment and nuclear issues.

The Chief Executive is responsible for Eskom's overall sustainability and environmental performance. Environmental performance measures are integrated into the business units and relevant performance contracts. The overall assessment and measurement of environmental performance is managed through the operational sustainability index and the reporting on additional key environmental indicators and issues to the Sustainability Sub-committee of EXCO. Refer to page 19 of the Eskom 2003 Annual report.

Environmental award presentations have been held on an annual basis to reward superior performance in the organisation.

Continual improvement in environmental performance is achieved through the development and implementation of environmental management systems based on ISO14001. Many parts of Eskom have received ISO 14001 certification, while the remainder of the organisation demonstrated compliance during 2003 through third party audits.

Research, development and demonstration focuses on supporting sustainable development. Eskom's investment in research during 2003 amounted to R558 million, which is 1,8% of total revenue. Refer to page 70 of the Eskom 2003 Annual report.


Eskom is committed to aligning itself with international sustainability reporting initiatives. Further environmental and social information is available on the Eskom website.