UN Secretary-General Opens Historic Leaders
Summit on Corporate Citizenship
1000 Leaders from Business, Government, Civil Society Rally on Global Compact:
(Geneva, 5 July 2007)
Major Initiatives Launched on Climate, Education, Investment, Water
– United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially opened the Global Compact Leaders Summit today, announcing that the UN has successfully created an international movement of companies dedicated to advancing responsible business practices – but adding that more work needs to be done.
Speaking before an international audience of 1000 chief executive officers, government ministers, and the heads of civil society and labour organizations, the Secretary-General said that more than 4000 companies and stakeholders in 116 countries have committed to the Global Compact’s ten principles related to human rights, working conditions, the environment and anti-corruption.
“In the beginning, some voiced skepticism about the UN working together with business. Today, I think we can say that the Global Compact has lived up to its promise – bringing business together with other stakeholders, and infusing markets and economies with universal values”, the Secretary-General said.
The Secretary-General said that groundbreaking reports released at the Summit show that more than 90 per cent of companies have expanded the integration of the Global Compact’s principles during the past five years, and that corporate citizenship leaders generate superior stock-market returns.
During the the two-day Summit – the largest event the UN has ever convened on the topic of corporate citizenship – a range of new initiatives and projects will be announced, including a Business Leadership Platform on climate change; a set of Principles for Responsible Management Education, and a CEO Water Mandate.
The Secretary-General said that while the Global Compact has achieved significant progress, the business community is still too often linked to serious problems, including exploitative practices, corruption, and income equality.
“Power cannot be separated from responsibility. For markets to expand in a sustainable way, we must provide those currently excluded with better and more opportunities to improve their livelihoods”, he said.
The first comprehensive Annual Review of the Global Compact was presented at the Summit, showing wide adoption of the ten principles by companies around the world. In addition, the review showed that companies, in increasing numbers, are following the initiative’s new reporting policy, whereby signatories are expected to disclose annually how they are implementing the principles – or risk being delisted.
Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact, said that while companies are accelerating implementation efforts, there are notable “performance gaps”.
“For multinationals and other large companies, it is clear that more work needs to be done to embed the principles into subsidiaries and supply chains. By doing, so companies will realize the full benefits of engagement”, he said.
A research report presented at the Leaders Summit by Goldman Sachs, one the world’s largest investment companies, showed that among six sectors covered – energy, mining, steel, food, beverages, and media – companies that are considered leaders in implementing environmental, social and governance policies have outperformed the general stock market by 25 per cent since August 2005. In addition, 72 per cent of these companies have outperformed their peers over the same period.
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About the United Nations Global Compact:
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labor, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With over 3,100 participating companies and hundreds of other stakeholders from more than 100 countries, it is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. For more information, please visit
About the Global Compact Leaders Summit:
On 5-6 July 2007, the United Nations is convening history's largest and most significant event on the topic of leadership and corporate responsibility. Chaired by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and featuring an international roster of business leaders, government ministers, and heads of civil society, the Global Compact Leaders Summit is above all about building the markets of tomorrow. For more information please go to
. For webcasts of the Leaders Summit’s plenary sessions please visit