The United Nations Global Compact is a multi-stakeholder network joining governments, enterprises, UN agencies, labour and civil society, aimed at promoting on a global scale the culture of corporate citizenship.
The initiative was launched for the first time in January 1999, by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, in his speech in Davos at the World Economic Forum. At that meeting, Kofi Annan invited the leaders of the world economy to make a Global Compact to support nine universal principles in the area of human rights, work and protection of the environment. Since June 2004, a tenth principle for the fight against corruption has been added to the first nine.
Since it became operational in July 2000 at United Nations General Headquarters, the Global Compact has developed rapidly and is now the prime global forum called upon to face the most critical aspects of globalisation. A growing number of enterprises and organisations from all parts of the world are participating; they decide to collaborate on a volunteer basis to contribute to creating “a more inclusive and sustainable global economy” through the sharing, implementation and dissemination of the principles promoted by the initiative.
The basic idea of the Global Compact is that the enterprises having a long term strategic vision orientated towards social responsibility, innovation and accountability, may contribute to a new phase of globalisation characterised by sustainability, international cooperation and partnership in a multi-stakeholder prospect.
In accordance with this, the initiative has two complementary aims:
- To make the Global Compact and its ten principles become an integral part of the strategy and day to day operations of the member enterprises;
- Encourage and facilitate dialogue and cooperation of all major stakeholders to support the ten principles promoted by the initiative and the broader goals of the United Nations.