(New York, 1 November 2007) - Corporate members of the United Nations Global Compact Board, the UN’s highest-level business and civil society advisory body, addressed the General Assembly’s Second Committee in a panel discussion today, to highlight the progress to date of the UN Global Compact, discuss the role of the initiative and provide further input to the Second Committee for a resolution on the mandate of the Global Compact Office.
Mr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder and Chairman of the Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization in Egypt, said that the UN Global Compact is “an ideal vehicle for implementing the Millennium Development Goals.” He explained that the Global Compact motivates businesses to serve society, brings business knowledge to the United Nations, raises awareness at the country level of the role business can play in partnership with governments, and helps business realize that society rewards socially responsible corporations.
Mrs. Chen Ying, Deputy Director-General of the China Enterprise Confederation, highlighted a number of efforts undertaken by Chinese businesses in support of the Global Compact principles and the broader sustainability agenda. She called on UN Member States to positively support the Global Compact. “Because the Global Compact’s efforts on encouraging enterprises to take on social responsibility is consistent with the fundamental principles of the United Nations and seeks the mutual goal of human society development”, she said.
Mr. José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, President and CEO of Petrobras in Brazil, explained that Petrobras signed on to the Global Compact in 2003 and that the company’s social responsibility measures have since then become a corporate function. Now Petrobras aims at setting “an international benchmark of social responsibility in business management, contributing towards sustainable development.” Recently, Petrobras announced the 2020 Petrobras Strategic Plan, which aims to achieve sustainable development through the Triple Bottom Line – a balance between the economic, environmental and social spheres.
Mr. Bunmi Akinremi, Deputy of Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa’s New York Branch, speaking on behalf of the African private sector, said that “corporate citizenship in Africa is critical if we are to make significant strides toward sustainable development.”
Mr. Toshio Arima, Director and Executive Advisor to the Board of Fuji Xerox in Japan, presented several examples of how his company has implemented the Global Compact principles. For example, Fuji Xerox launched a recycling program that was recently deployed throughout East Asia. This program “helps Asian partners develop new business processes and create new jobs”, he said. He also stressed the financial returns Fuji Xerox enjoys as a result of this environment-friendly program.
As one of four civil society representatives on the Global Compact Board, Mrs. Habiba Al-Marashi of the Emirates Environmental Group, a Dubai-based non-governmental organization, highlighted the link between corporate responsibility and social development. She outlined the various actions of her organization undertaken in collaboration with Global Compact participants in the Gulf Region, stressing that the Global Compact has played a strong role in promoting environmental sustainability and engaging the private sector more actively to address global challenges.
Concluding the panel presentations, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of Anglo American in the United Kingdom and Chairman of the Global Compact Foundation, said that “the strength of the Global Compact is that it brings together companies with civil society and labor organizations to work constructively on very practical implementation of the Global Compact principles in day-to-day operations”. He mentioned the natural resources industry, where the sharing of best practice with NGOs and labour organizations helped develop higher standards.
UN Global Compact
UN Global Compact