(Seoul, 17 September 2007) – More than 180 participants, including about 70 CEOs, representing Korean business, government, labour and civil society gathered at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Seoul today for the inauguration ceremony of the Global Compact Korea Network. The event was organized by the UN Global Compact Korea Network Preparatory Committee with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in Korea and the ROK Government. The Inauguration Ceremony concluded a comprehensive 18-month outreach effort to promote the world’s largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative in Korea. The new network, joining a global family of more than 80 Global Compact country and regional networks, brings together more than 82 businesses and other stakeholders, including some of Korea’s largest corporations.
The ceremony opened with a video message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who encouraged Korean Global Compact participants to “write a new chapter in the success story of Korean business”. “This network is a tremendous opportunity for you as business leaders”, the Secretary-General said. “By supporting the Global Compact, you become advocates and ambassadors for the UN and its mission, and you will help bolster Korea’s role as a global hub of trading and manufacturing”. He closed by expressing his hope that the Global Compact Korea Network will become “a model for others to follow”.
Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Song Min-soon, expected that the “Korea Network will, first of all, focus on its role as an educational network for sharing success stories” and emphasized that the “success of the Korea Network greatly depends on all participants here and member companies of the Network”. He pledged that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will do its utmost to ensure the success of its activities”. Minister Song also expressed confidence that “the network will play its role in shaping Korea into a society heralded for its transparency, environmental friendliness, and respect for human rights”.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr. Song Min-soon.
In a message to the inaugural ceremony, Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact Office in New York, welcomed the newly inaugurated network and stressed that it “will provide an excellent platform for dialogues and learning among participants and stakeholders in Korea. It will also be a platform for innovation, for finding new and pragmatic approaches to doing business in an ever-changing global economy.”
Congratulatory remarks to the ceremony were also made by Sohn Kyung-shik, Chairman of The Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ahn Kyong-Whan, President of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea; Lee Jong-baek, Chairman of the Korea Independent Commission Against Corruption; and Lee Yong Deuk, President of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions. The event demonstrated that the Global Compact can serve as a common ground for collaboration among different societal actors in Korea, in an effort to advance responsible business practices and make a contribution to broader development objectives, such as the Millennium Development Goals.
During the ceremony, Nam Seung-Woo, CEO of Pulmuone, was elected as the Chairperson of the network’s inaugural Board of Directors, and 19 other CEOs and heads of private and public companies and civil society organizations were elected to serve as the inaugural Board member. The participants of the UNGC Korea Network also adopted the network’s Article of Corporation as well as its first work plan, mapping out strategic and operational priorities. A workshop will be held on 18 September to further define the role of the Global Compact Korea Network.
Global Compact Office