(New York) – The Global Compact Office has released the final report of the most recent meeting of the Global Compact Board, held on 24 July at UN Headquarters in New York.
As the discussion of the Global Compact’s integrity measures was given significant time during the Board’s deliberations, the Global Compact Office has developed a brief statement seeking to clarify the role of the integrity measures within the Global Compact’s governance framework:
The United Nations Global Compact is a voluntary business platform focused on dialogue and learning around issues related to corporate responsibility. It is neither a regulatory body, nor a mechanism to monitor, evaluate or certify company performance. Instead, the initiative builds on the convening power of the United Nations to stimulate constructive dialogue and knowledge sharing between business and other stakeholders.
Environmental and social sustainability is a long-term aspiration that often requires far-reaching and complex changes of corporate strategies and operations. Based on this understanding, the Global Compact has welcomed businesses facing serious challenges, as long as their commitment to the Global Compact was made in a spirit of openness to constructive dialogue and practical solution-finding. In this sense, the Global Compact’s is to be understood as a guide, not a watchdog. The initiative has neither mission nor mandate to monitor and judge business performance. It cannot supplant existing legal frameworks or other, more refined instruments.
Nevertheless, the Global Compact’s governance framework, introduced in 2005, includes a set of clear measures to safeguard the initiative’s brand, protect the integrity of the United Nations, and to ensure transparency and accountability:
* Communication on Progress (COP) Policy: Participating companies are required to report annually and publicly on progress made in the internalization of the ten principles. As of July 2009, close to 1,000 companies have been delisted for repeated failure to communicate.
* Global Compact Logo Policy: A strict policy governing the use of the Global Compact logo.
* Dialogue Facilitation Mechanism: A mechanisms to address cases of egregious and systematic violations of the principles, with the sole purpose of opening an avenue of communication in cases where a facilitating role could contribute to practical solution-finding. The Global Compact’s role in this process is not that of a judge, and the mechanism must not be understood as a remedy.
Through these measures, the Global Compact can make a significant contribution to public dialogue and social vetting, specifically in the following ways:
* The COP policy advances public disclosure of non-financial performance in a transparent and accountable manner, establishing, over time, the world’s largest repository for disclosure on environmental and social issues.
* Local Networks, currently operating in over 80 countries, have built growing capacities to address and solve dilemma situations between stakeholders. These capacities will be further developed over time.
* Through new platforms such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), the Global Compact has made much progress mobilizing investors and educators on the issues it seeks to advance.
* As part of its broader governance, the Global Compact continues to support existing mechanisms, for instance by building a closer relationship with the OECD and by strengthening the normative role of the ILO.