Appen and the UNGC: Defining Sustainability and Ethics in the AI Era

AI for Good: Aligning with the United Nations Global Compact

In January 2023, Appen signed the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), joining more than 23,000 companies that have committed to supporting sustainable business practices and to taking ownership of creating a brighter, more just society. In our rapidly evolving world, it’s never been more important for businesses to operate within a strong, shared system of values — and that’s exactly why we took this important step.

Businesses like ours that join the UNGC are asked to uphold its Ten Principles, which are designed to promote the creation of policies that advocate for human rights, protect the wellbeing of our environment, establish equitable labor standards, and fight corruption.  

As a people-first organization focused on using AI for good, we’ve always believed in these principles. Our goal is to help build a reality where responsible businesses coexist in harmony with the community and environment.

For the remainder of the year and beyond, we’re excited to continue to rigorously integrate more forward-thinking policies across Appen’s core strategies and operations. Here are the commitments we’ve made so far, and how we’re working to keep them.

Environmental Impact Reduction: Net-Zero Emissions by 2030

We take the responsibility to combat climate change seriously. That’s why we’ve signed up with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a group affiliated with the UNGC which is designed to empower companies to set targets for reducing operational emissions. 

As a testament to Appen’s own environmental impact commitment, our target is to achieve net-zero emissions across our entire business by 2030. This initiative is part of a larger collective goal among all SBTi members to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius. To learn more about our board-approved plan, check out our net-zero emissions roadmap.

For us, actions speak louder than words. We’re dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint and ensuring a well-preserved planet for the many generations to come.

Upholding Human Rights and Battling Corruption

We also have our sights set on ensuring that human rights are recognized and respected globally. This priority includes reducing the risk of modern slavery across businesses and supply chains. 

To bolster these duties and guide our behavior, we’ve established a global ethical sourcing and modern slavery policy, which we’ll strictly enforce within our own business and among our suppliers. This policy robustly addresses a number of crucial areas, including:

  • No tolerance for slavery, forced labor, or human trafficking
  • Child employment regulations
  • Fair wages and regulated working hours
  • Creating a discrimination- and harassment-free environment
  • Ensuring the safest-possible working conditions
  • Upholding freedom of association
  • Continuous supply chain mapping and risk assessments

Furthermore, Appen stands firmly against all forms of bribery and corruption. With designated channels for whistleblowing, we encourage transparency and the upholding of our shared values. Everyone who does business of any kind with Appen should always feel safe and supported.

AI for Good: Aligning with the United Nations Global Compact

As a company that’s been trusted for its expertise in data annotation and AI-related services for more than 25 years, Appen’s philosophy has always been to use AI for good. With our pledge to the UNGC, our commitment to the highest ethical standards grows even stronger.

We believe that ethically crafted AI can have a lasting positive impact on the toughest global challenges across businesses, governments, and communities. With over a million diverse contributors, we’re helping build AI that’s reliable, useful, and fair. 

Along this journey with the UNGC, we promise transparency. We’ll provide comprehensive annual updates to all stakeholders on how we’re progressing with these initiatives, ensuring we consistently champion the global compact’s Ten Principles.

Our commitment to the UNGC is driven by our desire to be better. We’re deeply passionate about building a more ethical and inclusive society through AI, and we want to do it with the best practices in place. By joining the UNGC, we’re standing together for a brighter future and to continue on this journey with our incredible partners in the AI and technology industry.

Website for deploying AI with world class training data