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Secretary-General Meets with Business Leaders in Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul

(New York, 4 July 2008) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has completed a tour of Global Compact Local Networks in Japan, China and South Korea as part of his official travels in Asia. The Secretary-General was hosted by business leaders in Tokyo on 29 June, Beijing on 2 July and Seoul on 4 July. The meetings allowed businesses engaged in local Global Compact networks to discuss their efforts to advance environmental, social and governance principles with the Secretary-General.

In all three meetings, the Secretary-General reiterated the critical role that business plays in achieving United Nations goals. He made an appeal for further action by businesses, stressing that “ taking steps to address climate change, uphold workforce standards, or achieve higher levels of corporate accountability is not just about the financial success of companies or rewards from the market. It is also about building a better future for our children, our countr[ies] and our planet. It is a call to our humanity.”

Tokyo – 29 June 2008

In Tokyo, the Secretary-General met with approximately 50 business representatives, as well as several high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on 29 June 2008. Global Compact Japan Network chairman Toshio Arima, Board Director of Fuji Xerox Co., welcomed the Secretary-General and reported on recent developments in the network. Additional remarks were made by: Mr. Masamitsu Sakurai, Chairman of the Board, Ricoh Co., Ltd; Mr. Yuzaburo Mogi, Chairman and CEO, Kikkoman Corporation; Mr. Yoshiaki Shin, Chairman of the Board, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group Holdings, Inc; and Mr. Akio Nomura, member of the Global Compact Japan Board.

In his first official function in Japan as Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon praised Global Compact Japan Network members for their recent decision to adopt a CEO-led structure. “The Japan Network is truly supporting the Global Compact's leadership model – which recognizes that long-term, active commitment to organizational change must be led by top management. Your model will be a powerful inspiration for other Local Networks seeking to transition to business-led structures,” said the Secretary-General.

Read the Secretary-General’s full remarks at the Global Compact Event in Tokyo on 29 June 2008.

Secretary-General talks with Global Compact supporters in Japan
Secretary-General talks with Global Compact supporters in Japan

Beijing – 2 July 2008

During the Global Compact event in Beijing on 2 July 2008, the Secretary-General was addressed by numerous representatives of companies and business confederations on efforts to advance responsible corporate practices, particularly related to climate change, poverty reduction and disaster relief. Approximately 30 high-level representatives from business, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, attended the meeting.

Speeches were delivered by: Wang Zhongyu, President, China Enterprise Confederation; Wang Maolin    President, China International Institute of Multinational Corporations; and Huang Yuejin, Vice President, China Society for Promotion of GuangCai Program.

Additionally, brief interventions were made by numerous business leaders: Chen Yuan, President, China Development Bank; Wang Junjin, Chairman, Jun Yao Group Co.; Zhai Ruoyu, General Manager, China Datang Corporation; Zhang ZhengYu, Chairman, Hi-Tech Wealth Company; Zhou Shouwei, Deputy General Manager, China National Offshore Oil Corporation; and Zhang Zhongzheng, Chairman, Befar Group.

In his address, the Secretary-General called on Chinese business leaders engaged in the Global Compact to continue efforts to embrace responsible practices, particularly related to climate change. “By investing and planning today for a future that protects our planet, Chinese business has an opportunity to be a true front-runner,” he stated. “I'm sure Chinese businesses will not wait for the long and complex intergovernmental agreements to be finalized, but rather engage pro-actively in China and elsewhere in the world to pave the way for a low-carbon path to prosperity.”

Read the Secretary-General’s full remarks at the Global Compact Event in Beijing on 2 July 2008.

Secretary-General at the Global Compact event in China
Secretary-General at the Global Compact event in China

Seoul – 4 July 2008

The Global Compact Korea Network convened a luncheon for the Secretary-General on 4 July 2008, attended by Prime Minister Han Seung-Soo, over 200 business leaders and other distinguished guests.

Following remarks by Global Compact Korea Network President Nam Seung-Woo and Network Secretary-General Ju Chul-Ki, the Secretary-General praised the rapid growth of the network which has attracted nearly 120 companies in less than one year. He encouraged companies to strive for world-class responsible business practices and expressed his “hope that the Compact can help bring a new dawn of transparency and good governance to our country’s business sector”.

The Secretary-General also remarked on the success of the recent “Changing Landscapes” conference co-hosted by the network in June 2008, which was the first meeting of Asian business, global investors and civil society on such a broad scale.

“You have made an important contribution by giving practical meaning to United Nations values, and helping to build bridges between countries, based on commerce, trade and investment,” stated Ban. “ The more investors recognize that business responsibility is about reducing risks and enhancing benefits, the faster we can move towards market sustainability.”

Read the Secretary-General’s full remarks at the Global Compact Event in Seoul on 4 July 2008.

Secretary-General addresses Global Compact Korea Network
Secretary-General addresses Global Compact Korea Network

Contact

Matthias Stausberg
+ 1 917 367 3423
stausberg@un.org

Carrie Hall
+1 917 367 5232
hallc@un.org