Friday, January 12, 2007

The 10 UN Global Compact Principles

The owner of one of the biggest exhaust companies in the world, a Dutch entrepreneur, is building a villa (mansion) right across the street where I live. When reading about his company I found out his company committed itself to the UN Global Compact and its basic principles. Some of these principles sound so 'normal' to us, it wouldn't cross our mind to incorporate them in our business mission statement. But if you are producing goods on a global scale, with major operating units in some well known low labor cost countries, it doesn't hurt to hear and see your company stress its belief in doing the 'right' thing. I can imagine it has a healthy impact on the mindset of the managers in such environments.

The Global Compact is an international initiative by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, bringing together businesses and UN agencies, the labour world and the civil society around 10 principles related to human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to promote responsible corporate citizenship so that businesses can be part of the solution to the challenges of globalization.
The Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 core values:

Human Rights
  • Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
  • make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


  • Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
  • the effective abolition of child labour; and
  • the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


  • Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
  • undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
  • encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


  • Businesses should work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.