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Progress Report: How we're working towards a better world

ThinkPlace is committed to designing for a better world. We do this every day, through every single project we work on.

And the way we understand that commitment is by adopting the United Nations 17 Goals for Sustainable Development as our own guiding principles.

Each project we take on must satisfy our ethics screening process and must 'move the needle' on one of these goals.

They cover areas like ending poverty, pursuing gender equality, good health and wellbeing, tackling hunger and promoting education.

When it comes to practising what we preach, we set high standards for ourselves. And it's important that those standards relate to something larger than just our own sense of ethical behaviour.

That's why we've signed up to the United Nations Global Compact.


The UN Global Compact brings together a group of global companies that share a sense of pupose and a set of principles. Billed as 'the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative' it comprises 9,500 companies across 160 nations. It represents a challenge for companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.

Each company that signs up to the compact must submit a report every 12 months, detailing how they have made progress and performed against a set of ten criteria. It's an important way of making sure our commitment to design a better world is concrete and measurable. It's an important way to make sure we are held to account for the best version of what we strive to be.

ThinkPlace recently submitted its 2018 report. The report can be viewed by clicking on the cover image below, or here on the UN website .


ThinkPlace UN report



ThinkPlace is expanding rapidly and growing with purpose. Since 2005, we have grown from a single employee based in Canberra to a global design network comprising eight studios across five countries. As we expand our footprint and our operations it is vital that we do so in a way that ensures we do not inadvertantly cause harm. Our stated purpose is to create a better world through our work. We must always be careful and have apropriate safeguards in place to ensure that our deeds match our words.

The nature of our work means that we often carry it out in parts of the world where the systems and institutions that should protect human rights and prevent corruption are underdeveloped, nascent or even absent entriely. For this reason it is crucial that we hold ourselves accountable to clear, impeccable and publicly-declared standards.

The Global Compact is how we do this. As this year marks the first time we have submitted a report the 2018 version doubles as a statement of intent. It explains our commitment to the principles behind the compact and puts them in the context of the ethical framework, policies and methods that underpin the way we work. 

It also contains stories that detail the impact of ThinkPlace designers' work allover the globe and links those projects back to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And if that's not enough, there are interviews with ThinkPlace leaders, detailing our commitment to the goals, our chief ethicist role and the way we marry innovation with sustainability.

The sustainable development goals


And given that our very nature is to work collaboratively with design partners around the world, we must ensure that our standards and principles are upheld by those we choose to design alongside and the projects we collaborate upon.

"Our company is growing rapidly." Founder John Body says in his introduction to the report.

"But as it does we have increasingly come to realise the importance of not just doing the right thing because we are convinced it is right but also being part of a broader framework.

"The UN Global Compact has given a shape and structure to the kind of behaviours and practices we already strove for as a company: nothing could be more important to us as an organisation than the four principles of environmental responsibility, labour practices, anticorruption and human rights. We are not only proud to uphold these values, we are bound to do so by our own sense of ethics and decency."



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