The UN Global Compact complements other corporate citizenship initiatives by promoting dialogue on the relationship between business and society. At the same time it is the only truly global corporate citizenship initiative. It is not an auditable standard; indeed, it is not a standard or a code in the way that these are normally viewed. It is a set of principles through which business and the United Nations can work in partnership for global social development. For some businesses it is a simplified codification of their existing policies and management practices, but for many engagement represents a challenge and an opportunity to raise their game by aligning profitability with the common good. As the only genuinely global corporate citizenship initiative, the Global Compact draws its moral authority from the UN Secretary-General and its moral and political legitimacy from the UN as the only global political body. It can be viewed as a series of nested networks involving the Secretary-General's Office, the ILO, UNEP, UNHCHR, UNDP and UNIDO, business, NGOs and labour. It can variously be described as an international learning network, as a social network of people and organizations engaged in a global conversation, as a global public policy network, and as a multi-stakeholder dialogue. It is all of these things, but more than anything its greatest success has been in providing a convening platform for a growing global conversation about social development among a variety of actors. However the Global Compact is viewed, it is time to reflect on the first tentative steps of an initiative born in the aftermath of the Cold War, in the "triumph of global economic liberalism" and mass demonstrations against "globalisation". In its first few years, the world has experienced 9/11 and the Iraq War, not forgetting the forty or so civil wars that are ongoing at this time. Whatever is written about the UN Global Compact or its success will be tentative. But there can be some serious reflection on its aims and origins; some telling of stories of engagement; and discussion on how this initiative has quickly become an important reference point in the dialogue on global and corporate governance.
A collection of key writings about the UN Global Compact by some of the leading actors to date.
Industry and Environment, April–September 2004
Foreword Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Introduction Malcolm McIntosh, Independent Commentator, Sandra Waddock, Boston College, USA, and Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Part 1: The origins and development of the UN Global Compact1. An Appeal To World Business: 31 January 1999 Kofi Annan, Secretary-General, United Nations 2. The theory and practice of learning networks John Ruggie, Harvard University, USA 3. The Global Compact Network: an historic experiment in learning and action Georg Kell, UN Global Compact, and David Levin, University of Pennsylvania, USA Part 2: The Global Compact and human rights4. De-compacting the Global Compact Tom Donaldson, Wharton School, Philadelphia, USA 5. Business and human rights Klaus Leisinger, Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development and University of Basel, Switzerland 6. Operationalising the Global Compact with a focus on the human rights principles: learning to walk the talk Erroll Mendes, University of Ottawa, Canada 7. Institutionalising global standards of responsible corporate citizenship: assessing the role of the UN Global Compact Mara I. Hernandez, Massachussets Institute of Technology, USA Part 3: The evolution of the UN and the UN Global Compact: critical perspectives8. Growing big, learning that small is beautiful Cornis de Lugt, United Nations Environment Programme, France 9. Flags of inconvenience? The Global Compact and the future of the United Nations Jem Bendell, Nottingham University Business School, UK 10. Labour and the Global Compact: the early days Jim Baker, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 11. The UN Global Compact: a triple-win partnership Michael Hougard Pedersen, Novozymes, Denmark Part 4: Action and learning12. Reflections on the Global Compact Chris Tuppen, British Telecommunications, UK 13. Learning from company engagement with the Global Compact: the First Global Compact Learning Forum, Denham, UK, November 2001 Malcolm McIntosh, Independent Commentator, and Ruth Thomas, Sustainability Researcher 14. Learning from experience: the United Nations Global Compact Learning Forum 2002 Sandra Waddock, Boston College, USA 15. Learners and leaders: evolving the Global Compact in North America Sandra Waddock, Boston College, USA 16. Pfizer: a New Mission in Action Nancy Nielsen, Pfizer Inc. USA 17. Learning from doing: The Third International Global Compact Learning Forum Meeting in Belo Horizonte, Nova Lima, Brazil, December 2003 Malcolm McIntosh, Independent Commentator 18. Shaping the future by walking together: Novo Nordisk's promotion of human rights and good environmental management, with specific reference to an evaluation of suppliers in 2002/2003 Malcolm McIntosh, Independent Commentator, and Annette Stube, Novo Nordisk Part 5: The unfolding world of the UN Global Compact19. Responsible excellence pays Claude Fussler 20. The Global Compact as a new organisational form: a global action network Steve Waddell, Global Action Network Net, USA 21. Learning by doing: the Global Compact and the ethic of corporate citizenship James E. Post and Tanja D. Carroll, Boston University, USA 22. The living world of the UN Global Compact Malcolm McIntosh, Independent Commentator 23. The UN Global Compact Cities Programme. The Melbourne Model: solving the hard urban issues together David Teller, Committee for Melbourne, Australia 24. The Global Compact: promoting convergence in corporate responsibility Deborah Leipziger, Consultant, Corporate Responsibility Part 6: Taking off25. The Global Compact: selected experiences and reflections Georg Kell, UN Global Compact 26. Vision and action: the possibilities of action research Gill Coleman, University of Bath, UK 27. The future Malcolm McIntosh, Independent Commentator, Sandra Waddock, Boston College, USA, and Georg Kell, UN Global Compact Appendix A: The Millennium Development GoalsAppendix B: The Global Compact Advisory CouncilAppendix C: Global Reporting Initiative indicators for progress on the UN Global CompactAppendix D: Results of the consultation process on the introduction of a principle against corruption Bibliography