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Business and industry associations can have significant influence on corporate sustainability. Their vast memberships span business sectors throughout the world, and they offer in-depth understanding of industry-specific trends.
That’s why these groups are so integral to the UN Global Compact initiative. As just one example, the UN Global Compact Board features important associations such as the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Organization of Employers. We also work closely with other leading business associations, such as the World Economic Forum, Business for Social Responsibility and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. And UN Global Compact participants include a number of important business associations representing leading companies from around the world.
How business and industry associations help
Companies around the world in all sizes and various sectors consult associations for expertise on critical issues related to sustainable development and corporate citizenship. To strengthen industry reputation and competitiveness, these associations engage in a range of activities that advance their members’ corporate sustainability practices:
- As a representative of businesses, associations understand issues that are material to their members. Thus, these associations are well equipped to offer sector-specific advice and guidance on key sustainability issues, by developing tools and promoting best practices.
- With their convening power to bring together companies of all sizes in their sector, associations help develop technical standards on corporate sustainability performance. Well-developed and coherent technical standards allow effective benchmarking and data tracking on corporate practices.
- As a trusted business voice, these associations have long engaged with policymakers and other key stakeholders to advance various public policy issues. Global business associations have helped strengthen key sustainability priorities such as anti-corruption and the rule of law.
- Business and industry associations engage with consumers and the public at large to raise awareness on their sector’s contribution to society.
- A recent survey confirmed that business and industry associations are the most preferred partner of companies actively engaged in corporate sustainability collaboration. These associations mobilize the private sector in support of key development projects by brokering sector-specific partnership projects.