A profound retrospective of the first decade of the UN Global Compact, challenges in the light of the year of biodiversity, and instruments for an adequate Corporate Citizenship are some of the issues highlighted in the new 2010 edition of the “Global Compact International Yearbook”. Among this years prominent authors are Ban Ki-moon, Bill Clinton, Joschka Fischer and Achim Steiner. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “As the Global Compact enters its second decade, it is my hope that this Yearbook will be an inspiration to bring responsible business to true scale.” Formally presented during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York, the yearbook is now for sale.
Looking back at the past ten years, the United Nations Global Compact has left its mark in a variety of ways, helping shape the conservation about corporate responsibility and diffusing the concept of a principle-based approach to doing business across the globe.
In the first section “10th Anniversary”, the Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact Georg Kell writes about past and future of the Global Compact: “If its first 10 years were about raising awareness and stimulating positive organizational change, the next decade will be about turning principles into practice; mobilizing tangible – individual and collective – action; cultivating issue leadership and local networks to bring good efforts to true scale; and further intensifying public-private collaboration, so that effective business solutions can stimulate positive policy responses, which, in turn, will help improve the enabling environment for responsible practices to grow.”
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, Nobel Prize winner and Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, used the chance to express his congratulations: “I would like to convey my best wishes and congratulations to those who have been involved in the growth and development of the UN Global Compact and in leading its activities over the past ten years.” Other well-known congratulators are Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International and Tensie Whelan, President of the Rainforest Alliance.
Chapter two deals with Biodiversity: UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner emphasizes the importance of protecting the nature: “Climate change has been described as the biggest market failure of all time – the loss of biodiversity and nature’s economically-important services must surely be running a close second, if not an equal first. Year in and year out, the world economy may be losing services from forests to freshwaters and from soils to coral reefs, with resulting costs of up to $4.5 trillion or more. Decisive action needs to be taken to reverse these declines or the bill will continue to climb – and with it any hopes of achieving the poverty-related Millennium Development Goals and a sustainable 21st century for six billion people, rising to nine billion by 2050.” Dr. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, adds: “Now is the time for concrete action from the business community to save life on earth. The alternative is an impoverished planet that can no longer support a healthy, vibrant global economy. The stakes in this fight could not be higher. As the slogan of the International Year reminds us, ‘Biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is our life.’”
Another important topic of the Global Compact International Yearbook 2010 is Corporate Citizenship. Prof. Georg Scherer from the University of Zurich and Dr. Dorothée Baumann, Project Manager for AccountAbility are talking about “The organizational implementation of Corporate Citizenship”: “The Communication on Progress (COP) policy is the central component of the UN Global Compact’s integrity measures. The policy establishes a mandatory reporting requirement for businesses to report annually on their progress in implementing the Ten Principles of the UNGC. Despite these efforts, the UNGC’s COP policy is still a limited safeguard against what many UNGC critics call “bluewashing.” Whether the COP reports disclose Corporate Citizenship (CC) performance in a meaningful and informative way is unclear. With the purpose of shedding light on the actual implementation status of CC, a research project at the University of Zurich has developed an assessment tool that focuses on the organizational embeddedness of CC. The tool assesses organizational prerequisites for managing issues with implications for human rights, labor rights, environmental standards, and corruption.” Further contributions are from Harvard professor Kash Rangan and Thomas Palley, Research Fellow at the New America Foundation.
In the next chapter Anita Sharma, North America Coordinator of the UN Millennium Campaing, looks back on ten years after concluding the Millennium Declaration. “We have learned a lot since the Millennium Development Goals were adopted about what works and what is needed to achieve more progress. Still, challenges remain and have been compounded by the food, energy, and financial crises and by climate change. This year offers a unique opportunity to catalyze public discussion and policy development on the MDGs, particularly leading up to the 2010 MDG Review Summit in September. It is possibly the most important event on the global policy calendar this year and it offers a critical opportunity to galvanize efforts and partnerships for the push to meet the 2015 target.
The Global Compact International Yearbook 2010 also includes 46 best practice examples from different companies, which illustrate how to implement the ten Global Compact principles in daily business and projects.