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In January 2011, the United Nations Global Compact launched a new platform for corporate sustainability leadership – Global Compact LEAD.

The approximately 50 companies that participate in Global Compact LEAD are challenged to implement the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership, which was developed in close consultation with a large number of corporate participants and stakeholders and widely endorsed by business, governments, and civil society at the Leaders Summit in New York in June 2010.

The participants in LEAD have been invited because they have a history of engagement with the UN Global Compact – locally and/or globally.  They have committed to work towards implementing the Blueprint and share related outcomes and learnings with the broader universe of companies in the Global Compact by participating in global initiatives as well as in Global Compact Local Networks. LEAD participants have also committed to address Blueprint implementation in the Communications on Progress (COPs).

Participation in Global Compact LEAD does not represent a “seal of approval” or endorsement by the United Nations. Rather, the platform is designed to challenge highly engaged companies in the UN Global Compact to reach further, to experiment, to innovate, and to share learnings – both successes and failures. Companies in LEAD will be organizations committed to leading new efforts to raise sustainability performance; membership in LEAD does not confer special status or imply a position of superiority with respect to individual participants.

This new platform is a reflection of the essential role that leading Global Compact participants have already played in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability. At the same time, Global Compact LEAD responds to the critical need for leading companies to step up and reach new levels of performance and impact in order for the world to meet today’s social, environmental and economic challenges.

Global Compact LEAD is deeply integrated into other UN Global Compact engagement opportunities – including, notably, the approximately 90 Global Compact Local Networks; the six global working groups as well as the Caring for Climate and CEO Water Mandate initiatives. Further, strong linkages will be built between Global Compact LEAD and the UN Agencies, Funds and Programmes collaborating with the private sector, as well as with the Global Compact’s two sister initiatives – the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), and the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME).

The first two years of Global Compact LEAD (2011-2012) will be considered a pilot phase in order to allow for members of LEAD to help shape the platform and refine its services and programmes. The programmes and projects of LEAD, while aimed primarily at companies, will include the active involvement on non-business contributors, including UN entities, civil society organizations, academic institutions, and other interests. Review evaluation of Global Compact LEAD pilot phase.

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(Last Update 24 April 2013)