The UN Global Compact

The Global Compact is a UN initiative that establishes ten general principles for companies' CSR activities.

The ten principles in the UN Global Compact are a good starting point for companies' CSR and sustainability activities. The principles are founded on internationally recognised conventions relating to human rights, labour rights, the environment and anti-corruption.

All companies can draw inspiration from the ten principles, but they can also opt to subscribe to the UN Global Compact initiative. As of June 2013, 276 Danish companies and organisations had done this.

Companies that subscribe to the UN Global Compact, undertake to incorporate the ten principles into their business activities and to report their performance to the Global Compact. The reporting requirements depend on the company's size.

The principles set out in the UN Global Compact are targeted at a very wide range of businesses and organisations.

The ten principles are:

  1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
  2. Businesses must make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses
  3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  4. Businesses should support the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour
  5. Businesses should support the effective abolition of child labour
  6. Businesses should support the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
  7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  8. Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  9. Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies
  10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery 

Principle 1 is closely related to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UN Guiding Principles can be seen as detailed descriptions and instructions for how a company can comply with principle 1.

You can read more about the UN Global Compact at the website.

For investors there is a separate set of principles: PRI's UN-Supported Principles for Responsible Investment

UN Global Compact and other guidelines

The UN Global Compact is broadly worded and does not prevent the company from adhering to other principles and standards, including the OECD's Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, etc.

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