Global Compact International Yearbook Ausgabe 2011


Over the last several years, the United Nations has become a trailblazer in promoting corporate responsibility. “In the 11 years since its launch, the United Nations Global Compact has been at the forefront of the UN’s effort to make the private sector a critical actor in advancing sustainability,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in the 2011 edition of the Global Compact International Yearbook. Edited by the German publishing house macondo, the new Yearbook offers insights on political as well as sustainability issues.

Exemplary entrepreneurial commitments can foster and create incentives for other companies. To guide companies along this road, they need a blueprint for corporate sustainability. This is the focal topic of the new Global Compact International Yearbook. Guidelines for consumer standards and labels, an analysis of the new ISO 26000 SR Standard, and a debate about the historic changes in the Arab world are other major topics explored. Among this year’s prominent authors are Lord Michael Hastings, NGO activist Sasha Courville, and the former Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Sergei A. Ordzhonikidze.



The future of the Accountability Web

Circling back to where we started, the outcome of the Greenpeace-Nestlé

controversy exemplifies the potential of the Accountability

Web to scale up positive change. In response to

the Greenpeace campaign, Nestlé strengthened its palm oil

sourcing policy to include best practices such as free, prior,

informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous and local communities.

Indeed, FPIC (which the International Finance Corporation

recently institutionalized in its updated Sustainability

Framework, and Talisman commissioned a report on FPIC by

Foley Hoag LLP endorsed by the World Resources Institute)

strengthens the web of accountability between stakeholders

and companies.

Joining the Dots

How UNGC and GRI Are Working

Together for a Sustainable Future

By Teresa Fogelberg

What does the future hold? In our view, this dynamic negotiation

for social license to operate will weave its way into

the digital realm, as previously marginalized communities

gain increasing interconnectivity – for example through

cell phones and other handheld devices that enable wider

participation and representation. In the end, the Accountability

Web illustrates the power of interactive technologies

to support the dialogic nature of mutual accountability,

spinning a virtuous cycle spiraling toward a more just and

sustainable world.

The trend toward transparency on corporate non-financial

performance is gaining momentum and there are a number

of frameworks, systems, and principles that help companies

disclose information. A key requirement for making

sustainability disclosure standard practice for companies

and other organizations worldwide is harmonization

between these guidance sources.

In line with this, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

and the UN Global Compact (UNGC) have been working

together to align advice and help organizations through

the reporting process.

GRI provides a comprehensive framework for producing

sustainability reports. The GRI Sustainability Reporting

Guidelines enable all organizations worldwide to assess

their sustainability performance and disclose the results

in a similar way to financial reporting. GRI’s vision is a

sustainable global economy where companies’ disclosure

of their sustainability performance is standard practice.

As both UNGC and GRI are based on the concept of encouraging

continuous improvement, there is significant

alignment in approaches to quality and scope of sustainability

reporting. In 2007, the two organizations published

a linkage document to help companies navigate the two

systems and their crossovers. The publication “Making the

Connection: The GRI Guidelines and the UNGC Communication

on Progress” includes a table outlining crossovers

between UNGC’s Communication on Progress and GRI’s

G3 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.

UNGC and GRI signed an agreement in May 2010 to align their

work in advancing corporate responsibility and transparency.

As part of this agreement, GRI is working to develop guidance

regarding the Global Compact’s Ten Principles and is striving

to align its next iteration of its Sustainability Reporting Guidelines,

“G4,” with UNGC issue areas. UNGC will adopt the GRI

Guidelines as the recommended reporting framework for the

UN Global Compact signatories.

Ernst Ligteringen, GRI’s Chief Executive, explained the importance

of the partnership when it was announced: “The agreed

collaboration, combining the expertise and efforts of GRI and

the UN Global Compact, will allow us to significantly extend

our outreach and support an increasing number of companies

and stakeholders around the world which seek to improve

their sustainability performance.”

GRI is working toward its mission to make sustainability reporting

standard practice, and as such is now developing the

next generation of Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, G4.

The Guidelines need to be fit for purpose, and should align

with other frameworks, initiatives, and principles, including

those of the UNGC’s.

are now 60 training partners in more than 40 countries – that

have been approved by GRI to train people in sustainability

reporting. There are also UNGC Local Networks in many countries.

Many companies in OECD and developing countries are

both signatories to the Global Compact as well as GRI reporters.

Because of this, it makes sense for these local representatives

of GRI and UNGC to work together: Both organizations will

partner at the country level. Seven countries have been selected

in which GRI and UNGC will join forces and develop activities

that are relevant to the local agenda.

The ongoing partnership between GRI and UNGC will ensure

that harmonization is successful, both globally and locally,

thereby helping to make disclosure of environmental, social,

and governance factors a mainstream practice.

Bill Baue is Senior Research

Fellow with AccountAbility.

Dr. Marcy Murninghan

is co-founder of the The

Murninghan Post.

In the publication, Georg Kell, Executive Director United

Nations Global Compact, notes: “Companies participating

in both initiatives have long stressed the understanding

that the GRI is a practical expression of the Global


GRI now has local representation, called Focal Points, in five

countries – Australia, Brazil, China, India, and the United

States – to increase the number and quality of reports and to

provide local input into global developments. GRI works with

independent Certified Training Partners worldwide – there

Teresa Fogelberg is Deputy Chief

Executive, Global Reporting Initiative.

22 Global Compact International Yearbook 2011

Global Compact International Yearbook 2011


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