"Business practices rooted in universal values can bring social and economic gains."

Ban Ki-moon,
United Nations Secretary-General

About the UN Global Compact

In an address to the World Economic Forum, on 31 January 1999, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan challenged business leaders to join an international initiative – the Global Compact – that would bring companies together with the UN 'to give a human face to globalisation'.

Kofi Annan
 Kofi Annan | © World Economic Forum

"Let's combine the power of markets with the authority of universal values, and the creative power of the entrepreneur with the needs of the left-behind and future generations".

See for a short introduction an article (in Dutch) from our chairman Mr André van Heemstra.

Global Compact provides a framework of 10 principles in 4 different categories - human rights, labour standards, the environment & anti-corruption. Companies are invited to commit themselves to these principles, to implement them in their strategies, managementsystems and operations.

Global Compact provides a large network of more than 7,000 companies from all regions of the world, as well as non governmental organisations (ngo's) and civil society organisations (cso's). All members are engaged in the Global Compact, working to advance the ten universal principles:

Human Rights
  • Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
  • 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; and
  • Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
  • Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
  • Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
As a Public-Private Partnership the Global Compact is a purely voluntary initiative with 2 objectives:
  1. Mainstream the ten principles in business activities around the world
  2. Catalyse actions in support of UN goals
There are numerous benefits of participating in the Global Compact:
  • Demonstrating leadership by advancing responsible corporate citizenship.
  • Producing practical solutions to contemporary problems related to globalisation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility in a multi-stakeholder context.
  • Managing risks by taking a proactive stance on critical issues.
  • Leveraging the UN's global reach and convening power with governments, business, civil society and other stakeholders.
  • Sharing good practices and learnings.
  • Accessing the UN family with its broad knowledge in development issues.
  • Undertaking of joint projects.

Through the power of cooperation, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that business can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalisation.
In this way, the private sector can help realise a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

See for more information about the Global Compact Initiative United Nations Global Compact

How to participate in the Global Compact Initiative?

See www.unglobalcompact.org

Inititatives, tools, and publications

The Global Compact Initiative undertakes many initiatives, often with partners, like:
- PRI, Principles of Responsible Investing
- the Climate Mandate
- the Water Mandate
- Women's Empowerment Principles

The Global Compact website provides numerous tools and publications on various subjects like reporting, combating corruption, doing business in conflict areas, the relation with ISO 26000.

Many local networks developed tools as well.
For example the Danish network made a tool for selfassessment which enables companies to assess their performance with respect to the 10 principles.