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Environmental Stewardship Strategy

Environmental issues — be they related to climate change, water scarcity, or other natural-resource and ecological challenges — are growing in scale and complexity. What is also increasingly clear is that traditional corporate environmental management approaches — based largely on compliance and narrow risk assessments — will not be sufficient to successfully navigate and address these 21st century challenges.

In order to assist companies in preparing for this increasingly challenging landscape, and to give further expression to the UN Global Compact's three core environmental principles, the UN Global Compact Office brought together a group of committed participants and — in partnership with Duke University — developed during the 2009–2010 period a next-generation Environmental Stewardship Strategy and related Resource (taking the form of both a website and CD-ROM).

This Environmental Stewardship Strategy is designed to help companies — at the highest levels of the organization — develop a truly holistic and comprehensive strategy. And, importantly, it recognizes the growing linkages among various environmental issues as well as their connections to social and development priorities. As well, this Environmental Stewardship Strategy incorporates and leverages the UN Global Compact's Caring for Climate and CEO Water Mandate initiatives.

This website Resource has been created to assist the top leadership of companies — including Chief Executive Officers, other CSuite Executives, Board Directors, and senior Sustainability and Environmental Executives as they formulate a new level of environmental management in order to achieve higher levels of sustainability performance for the benefit of the business and planet. The Environmental Stewardship Strategy is grounded in the UN Global Compact's new Management Model, which sets out a dynamic model for sustainability implementation based on the tenet of continuous improvement.

Utilizing this Management Model, the Environmental Stewardship Strategy outlines and describes a comprehensive new-era approach to environment management based on four pillars:

  • Leaders EMBED Environmental Stewardship into all facets of the organization;
  • They BALANCE short-term targets and long-term goals that are both critical to performance and Environmental Stewardship;
  • They DIFFUSE best practices throughout value chains and business networks by collaborating and engaging stakeholders; and
  • They TRANSLATE best practices into processes and practices that are applicable in the diverse geographies in which they operate.

In order to remain relevant and effective, this Environmental Stewardship Strategy and the related website Resource have been designed as organic in nature — that is, to be improved upon over time. In this spirit, this website Resource incorporates platforms and functions to evolve and augment the content over time.

Finally, the Environmental Stewardship Strategy is offered not just to UN Global Compact participants but to the business community at large — as a public good.


Lila Karbassi
UN Global Compact Office

(Last updated: 14 March 2013)