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Business Participation

The United Nations Global Compact presents a unique strategic platform for participants to advance their commitments to sustainability and corporate citizenship. Structured as a public–private initiative, the Global Compact offers a policy framework for the development, implementation and disclosure of sustainability principles and practices related to its four core areas: human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. Indeed, managing the enterprise risks and opportunities related to these areas is today a widely understood aspect of long-term "value creation" — value creation that can simultaneously benefit the private sector and societies at large.

With over 10,000 business participants and other stakeholders from more than 145 countries, the Global Compact offers participants a wide spectrum of specialized workstreams, management tools and resources, and topical programmes and projects — all designed to help advance sustainable business models and markets in order to contribute to the initiative's overarching objective of helping to build a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

The Corporate Commitment

The Global Compact is a leadership initiative, involving a commitment by a company's Chief Executive Officer (or equivalent), and supported by the highest-level Governance body of the organization (eg, the Board).

Participation in the Global Compact is a widely visible commitment to the implementation, disclosure, and promotion of its ten universal principles. A company joining the initiative is expected to:

  1. Make the Global Compact and its principles an integral part of business strategy, day-to-day operations and organizational culture;
  2. Incorporate the Global Compact and its principles in the decision-making processes of the highest-level governance body (i.e. Board);
  3. Contribute to broad development objectives (including the Millennium Development Goals) through core business activities, advocacy, philanthropy and partnerships
  4. Communicate publicly (through its annual report or other public document such as a sustainability report) the ways in which it implements the principles and supports broader development objectives – also known as the Communication on Progress; and
  5. Advance the Global Compact and the case for responsible business practices through advocacy and active outreach to peers, partners, clients, consumers and the public at large.

Financial Commitment

Upon joining the UN Global Compact, companies are asked to make a regular annual contribution to support the work of the UN Global Compact Office. This revenue is critical to the development of value-maximizing programmes, projects and resources for the benefit of all participating companies. These contributions are received, administered and distributed through the Foundation for the Global Compact – a non-profit 501(c)(3) – and are therefore tax deductible in many jurisdictions.

For 2014, the annual contribution amounts are set, by company size, as follows:

 Annual sales/revenue  Annual contribution
 Less than USD 50 million  USD 250 (suggested minimum)
 USD 50 million - USD 250 million  USD 2,500 - 5,000
 USD 250 million - USD 1 billion  USD 5,000 - 10,000
 USD 1 billion - USD 5 billion  USD 10,000 - 15,000
 Greater than USD 5 billion  USD 15,000+

Benefits of Participation

Participation in the Global Compact offers numerous benefits:

  • Adopting an established and globally recognized policy framework for the development, implementation, and disclosure of environmental, social and governance policies and practices.
  • A platform to share and exchange best and emerging practices to advance practical solutions and strategies to common challenges.
  • The opportunity to advance sustainability solutions in partnership with a range of stakeholders, including UN agencies, governments, civil society, labour, and other non-business interests.
  • The opportunity to link business units and subsidiaries across the value chain with Global Compact Local Networks around the world — many of these in developing and emerging markets.
  • Access to the UN's extensive knowledge of and experience with sustainability and development issues.
  • Utilizing Global Compact management tools and resources, and the opportunity to engage in specialized workstreams in the environmental, social and governance realms.