On 9 June, the Global Compact Office officially released a comprehensive report undertaken by McKinsey & Company that assesses the Global Compact's impact since the initiative's launch in July 2000. The independently prepared report, entitled "Assessing the Global Compact's Impact", was based on extensive data analysis, interviews and surveys conducted with a range of stakeholders, including Global Compact participants as well as outside observers and detractors.
The McKinsey report concludes: “Our impact assessment has found that the Global Compact has had noticeable, incremental impact on companies, the UN, governments and other civil society actors. A solid participant base and the power of the idea of high-level UN engagement with the private sector have largely driven these successes to date”.
Commenting on the report, Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact, said: “At its core, the McKinsey study shows that the Global Compact has, overall, been a significant force for positive change. Our challenge is to address key areas identified in the report so that the Global Compact remains relevant and important. The Leaders Summit will be a perfect opportunity to do just that”. (The Global Compact Leaders Summit will convene on 24 June at UN Headquarters.)
Among the report’s other findings:
• Approximately 67 percent of survey respondents said they changed their corporate policies in relation to the human rights, labour and environment principles since joining the Compact, with 40 percent reporting that the Global Compact was a significant driver of these changes.
• The Global Compact has helped put “corporate responsibility” on the agenda in the developing world: nearly 67 percent of survey respondents in the developing world said they joined the Global Compact to become more familiar with corporate responsibility issues.
• More than 50 percent of NGO survey respondents report that since signing up to the Global Compact they are more engaged in helping companies to solve problems or make decisions in the implementation of the Compact’s principles.
• But the report also notes that “inconsistent participation and divergent and unmet expectations limit the impact on companies” and hinder the Compact’s credibility.
• The Global Compact has helped spread the acceptance of business collaboration throughout the UN network and helped promote innovative intra-UN partnerships.
The McKinsey assessment notes that the Global Compact has grown rapidly in a relatively short amount of time. However, the report states: “As it transitions from its entrepreneurial, experimentation phase to a phase of sustained growth focused on impact, the Global Compact will need to manage participants’ expectations by increasing the value of participation with more targeted business-oriented engagement mechanisms, robust local networks, and effective communication and collaboration with participants and partners”.