Article | Last updated: 05/10/2012 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The UN Global Compact seeks to advance 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, which all socially responsible companies should follow. All companies that have joined the Global Compact are expected to implement the principles in their business operations.
The Global Compact is today the world’s largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative. It has more than 8000 participants, including more than 7700 businesses from more than 130 countries.
Overall, the Global Compact pursues two complementary objectives:
- Mainstream the ten principles in business activities around the world
- Catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
No companies are too small to engage in targeted CSR activities. Companies should check to see if they face challenges in their own operations, in the areas of labour standards, the environment, corruption or human rights. But it is just as important that they check the operations of their suppliers and subcontractors. Even if the company itself operates in compliance with clear legislation in Norway, its suppliers may face difficulties abroad. Norwegian companies, whether they produce or import goods, must be aware of the conditions under which the products they offer are produced. This is an important element of corporate social responsibility.
Why should your company join the Global Compact?
A growing number of companies are seeing the connection between their social and environmental performance and their long-term profits. By exercising social responsibility, companies can enhance their risk management capability and credibility, reduce costs as a result of lower energy consumption, and improve their employees’ job satisfaction. By having a clear awareness of their social responsibility, companies can enhance their reputation. Participation in the Global Compact also gives companies the opportunity to take part in global initiatives for sustainable development.
The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact
- Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
- Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
- Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
- Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
- Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
- Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
- Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
- Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
- Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.