(Shanghai, People's Republic of China, 30 November 2005) - Nearly 800 international business leaders and representatives of government and civil society assembled today for the Global Compact Summit: China - the largest event ever held in China on the topic of responsible business.
At the two-day Summit business leaders from around the world will demonstrate how they are implementing the Global Compact's ten universal principles in the areas of the environment, labour standards, human rights and anti-corruption.
Reflecting the multi-stakeholder nature of the Global Compact, business executives will be joined by leaders of international civil society and labour organizations who are also participating in the Global Compact - a voluntary corporate citizenship initiative that today includes more than 2,400 companies from over 80 countries, including dozens of leading Chinese businesses.
Business leaders from Chinese and foreign companies are attending the Summit in order to share practices and initiatives on the implementation of the Global Compact's principles, and discuss pressing global issues. The Summit will also lay the foundation for the Global Compact to grow significantly in the rapidly advancing economies of east Asia.
"This is a historic event for the United Nations and the Global Compact specifically", said Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact. "China is today the world's fastest growing economy and Shanghai is an international center of business excellence. This dynamic environment is therefore a suitable place to bring businesses and other stakeholders together to advance good corporate citizenship and address the widening gap between the outcomes of globalization and the needs of humanity".
The Summit will feature a range of plenary sessions and forums covering topics including: sustainable business and development; international trade; the workplace and community; the financial sector; and environmental stewardship.
Mr. Kell added: "The ongoing transformation and expansion of markets around the world remains an uneven and fragile process. Embedding universal principles in the global marketplace has become an imperative for creating more robust and equitable societies. For China, the Global Compact offers a platform to contribute to harmonious development while increasing national competitiveness, as well as international cooperation".
Launched by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in July 2000, the Global Compact has grown to become the world's largest corporate responsibility initiative in the world.
The Global Compact Summit: China was convened with the support of the Government of the People's Republic of China and in collaboration with the Shanghai Municipal People's Government; State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission; All China Federation of Industry & Commerce; China Enterprise Confederation; China Society for the Promotion of the Guangcai Program; Foundation for Globalization Cooperation; and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization.
For background information and interview requests, please contact: Matthias Stausberg, Global Compact Office, +86 13661814169, firstname.lastname@example.org; Gavin Power, Global Compact Office, +86 13661814178 or +1 917-679-8144; Tim Wall, UN Department of Public Information, +1 212-963-5851.