UN Global Compact

Recent stories

Georg Kell Under Fire: Insights into the Global Compact

In 2012 the Global Compact raised a lot of attention, as the face of businesses at Rio+20, and consequently in the media.  The United Nations body sets sustainability principles for the world’s corporate elite. Only recently the Compact even held a workshop for journalists to be part of the Compact’s advocacy of sustainable business practices, writes Guardian’s sustainability evangelist Jo Confino.  A striking call to delve more deeply into the Compact’s strategy. The UN Global Compact’s head Georg Kell, an affluent UN diplomat with a slightly German accent, formulated in a New York Times article before Rio+20 what seems to have been the common denominator of business representatives at Rio+20, “Businesses are more advanced in sustainable development issues than governments are.”

A liberal market advocate, the co-authoring Kell wrote in the same NYT article in June, “Businesses don’t need governments to tell them whether or where to treat their workers properly, invest in their communities, or contribute to the broader social fabric from which they source both their customers and their employees.  They can — and should — do these things by themselves.”  On the contrary, in an earlier article, Confino wrote, “Kell is anxious to act because he recognizes that the corporate sector is moving far too slowly to deal with the enormity of the social and environmental challenges heading this way.”

With recent voices such as Patrick Haack, a researcher at the University of Zurich, arguing that the corporate misuse and disregard of the Compact’s principles discredited the Global Compact as a vital instrument for private governance, Kell must have put his colleagues at the Compact under pressure in preparation for Rio+20. Mr Haack conducts research in the legitimacy of global participant organizations such as the Global Compact that rally for transnational governance solutions.

Sustainia – How Can You Contribute To Build A Better Tomorrow

Imagine we had solutions to build a better tomorrow – starting today. The beautiful thing is, we do! Sustainia, the exhibition at the Global Compact’s Corporate Sustainability Forum during Rio+20, shows us a sustainable world that is possible today – by presenting 100 sustainable solutions that are already available. It comes up with smart ideas and solutions for the CEO; the advocate; the engineer; the venture capitalist; and the politician that aim to benefit economic, social, and environmental sustainability. From solar power in Sudan to smart buildings in Sydney, Sustainia presents solutions based on their readiness and availability, scalability, collaborative nature, transformative nature, cost effectiveness, environmental benefit, and improved quality of life.

Corporate Respect, Set the Tone at the Top!

I am a straggler. Arriving after the start of an event usually raises a few judgmental eyebrows from the back row; however, tardiness is also an opportunity to display character. This is especially true when royalty is involved. Stumbling in late to an event with Her Majesty, Queen Silvia of Sweden, in Rio to open the Social Development track of the Global Corporate Sustainability Forum, takes special flair. The series of events inaugurated by Queen Silvia seeks to re-think corporate sustainability, positioning it on a new foundation of social dimensions and human rights.