“Mapping of the diversity of CSR tools”
Group N (14)
United Nations Global Compact
The Global Compact is a multi-stakeholder voluntary initiative that the UN Secretary-GeneralKofi Annan spearheaded in 1999. Therefore the source of this tool is the public sector.
The main issues of this tool are Human rights, labor standards, environment and corruption as businesscommitments.
Like the UN Norms, the GC calls on companies to “support and respect human rights”, within their sphere of influence in its first principle, this include rights such as life, liberty, securityand freedom from torture, slavery, arbitrary arrest, of movement, of religion, of expression as well as a right to education, food, shelter and so forth.
The degree of constraint of this tool is low,many critics favor a robust verification system in order to be efficient. Principles are insufficient and vague, guidelines for implementing them are also vague and many argue that corporations willsign up to the GC solely for public relations purposes in a “reputation management” ploy.
The field of the GC concerns all organizations, indeed there are over 2,270 companies involved from 80countries. Several critics cite the lack of major US companies although there are a few exceptions such as Gap, Cisco Systems, DuPont, HP, Pfizer, Nike and Starbucks. But all organizations can be concerned.Regarding material aspects, the GC is about Substance more than Procedures, Companies join by sending a letter of support to the UN Secretary-General and publicly advocating its principles.Companies are expected to incorporate the principles into their day-to-day activities and culture and periodically submit a “communication in progress”. A communication in progress entails a description ofthe company’s activities, a statement from an executive, discussion of how the company has implemented the principles and the outcomes. These submissions are in no way monitored by the Global Compact...