The UN Global Compact is the biggest CSR initiative in the world. Many terms have emerged in recent years to describe the environmental and social responsibility of business: corporate responsibility, corporate citizenship, corporate sustainability, to name just a few.
All of these terms describe a rapidly expanding global movement, one that reflects the increasing alignment between the objectives of the international community and those of the private sector.
Shared goals, such as building stable markets, combating corruption, safeguarding the environment and ensuring social inclusion, have resulted in an unprecedented rise in partnerships between business, civil society, governments – and the United Nations. In fact, throughout the UN System, agencies, funds and programmes are relying on business collaboration in one way or the other to address critical issues, from humanitarian relief to the fight against TB, Malaria and HIV/AIDS.
This new relationship is rooted in the notion that business must be made part of the solution to global challenges. At the same time, the United Nations has repeatedly called on companies around the world to ensure that their strategies and operations are aligned with universal values, so that negative environmental and social impacts of business are minimised.
It is against this background that the UN Global Compact was launched in July 2000. The Global Compact is a voluntary learning and dialogue platform for businesses that are committed to ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Through a wide spectrum of specialised workstreams, management tools, resources and topical programs, the Global Compact aims to advance two complementary objectives:
Mainstream the ten principles in business activities around the world Facilitate actions in support of broader UN goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
With over 5000 business participants and 2000 other stakeholders from civil society, academia, labour and other sectors, the Global Compact is today the world’s largest corporate responsibility initiative. All companies seeking to partner with the United Nations are highly encouraged to join the Global Compact and help realise the UN’s vision of a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.
For more information, visit www.unglobalcompact.org.