The Global Compact is a United Nations initiative that includes ten principles that are aimed at strengthening the social responsibility of companies, also encouraging businesses to observe human rights and work conditions, to protect the environment, and to oppose corruption. The Global Compact was created in 1999 so as to produce a unified understanding and attitudes toward corporate social responsibility. It was clear that this required a global movement, and the initiator for the compact was UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The work has successfully been continued by the current Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon. The Global Compact movement has brought together hundreds of companies of various sizes and from various sectors all around the world. Companies which join in the movement promise to observe the interests of their employees, customers, partners and the public at large, thus facilitating the development of the business environment and of societies in their region and throughout the world.
The Global Compact is a voluntary movement that does not include any legal obligations. Companies are asked to develop good governance and social responsibility, as well as to encourage a higher level of business practice standards in their countries or globally, thus establishing an orderly and ethical business environment, learning from one another, and facilitating social development. Companies are asked to work with UN agencies, trade unions and non-governmental organisations which deal with aspects of human rights, labour rights, environmental protection and anti-corruption issues in bringing the ten principles of the Global Compact to life.
- Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
- make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
- Businesses should uphold freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
- the effective abolition of child labour; and
- the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
- Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
- undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
- encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
- Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
The UN Global Compact movement in Latvia
Latvia joined the Global Compact movement in 2001, and several companies have become involved in it. In 2005, the Employers’ Confederation of Latvia was assigned the task of co-ordinating the UN initiative with the help of companies such as Grindex, SIA Komin, SIA Lietišķās Informācijas Dienests, SIA Zygon Baltic Consulting, SIA Language Learning Centre, the Turība University College of Business, etc.
Why join the movement?
- Business leaders throughout the world associate several opportunities to joining the Global Compact movement:
- Expressing views and making a contribution toward global sustainable development;
- Finding practical solutions to modern-day problems that relate to globalisation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, always taking the interests of stakeholders into account;
- Increasing corporate competitiveness, because business partners, suppliers and customers in a developed society and under free market conditions often prefer to work with companies that have a good reputation;
- Developing partnerships with other companies, government institutions, trade unions, non-governmental organisations, and international organisations;
- Obtaining information about the approach of other companies in dealing with problems;
- Gaining access to the UN’s knowledge base so as to use it to promote development throughout the world.
How to join the Global Compact movement
The Global Compact is a voluntary movement that is open to any company that wants to facilitate sustainable and global economic and social development.
A company that wants to join the movement must write to the UN secretary general and submit information about the company in English. The company must confirm its support for the Global Compact’s principles. The letter of application must be on company letterhead, and it must be signed by the company’s board chairperson or another top representative of management.
In joining the Global Compact, it is important to understand that is principles affect all corporate activities and must become a component of the relevant company’s strategy, culture and everyday activities. Participants in the movement must regularly provide information about their efforts to bring the principles of the Global Compact to life.
Companies are also expected to express public support for the movement and its principles via the mass media.
Read more about joining the Global Compact movement.
More information about the Global Compact.