The Communication on Progress (COP) in Brief

Submitting an annual COP is at the heart of your company’s commitment to the UN Global Compact and provides valuable information to your stakeholders. The overall format of a COP is flexible and COPs can be prepared in any language as long as they meet the minimum requirements below. Because our participants are all at different stages in their sustainability journey, COPs are categorized into three differentiation level based on the depth of their disclosure, We also collaborate with other frameworks – for example, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) – to ensure that the standards are aligned and that meeting the requirements of one framework helps to comply with the others.

Three Minimum Requirements

The COP Policy sets out key information including the minimum requirements for each COP:

  1. A statement by the chief executive expressing continued support for the UN Global Compact and renewing the participant’s ongoing commitment to the initiative.
  2. A description of practical actions the company has taken or plans to take to implement the Ten Principles in each of the four areas (human rights, labour, environment, anti-corruption).
  3. A measurement of outcomes.

The COP Policy is available in 9 languages in our library.

Differentiation Levels

Based on a company’s self-assessment, each COP falls into one of the following differentiation levels:

  • GC Advanced: COPs that qualify as GC Active and, in addition, cover the company’s implementation of advanced criteria and best practices
  • GC Active: COPs that meet the minimum requirements
  • GC Learner: COPs that do not meet one or more of the minimum requirements

How are COPs Used?

COPs are made publicly available on the Global Compact website at the moment they are submitted by the participant, enabling companies to communicate their efforts to support and uphold the UN Global Compact principles. Recent growth – both in terms of the sheer number of COPs submitted and their sophistication – is largely driven by demand from key stakeholders including investors, civil society, governments and consumers. COPs provide stakeholders with information to make informed choices about the companies they interact with and stakeholder vetting is a cornerstone of transparency and disclosure as a means of driving performance. Use the participant search to find any COP.

Learn how to create and submit your COP »

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