Who should join?

We welcome a wide range of organizations to join the UN Global Compact. Businesses, civil society organizations, business associations, labour organizations, academic institutions and cities can all make a commitment to a better world. We know that it takes collective efforts to make a difference for society.

It doesn’t matter if you are heavily experienced in sustainability efforts, or just starting out. Our 20,000 participating companies and 3,800 non-business participants have varying needs, and we’re prepared to support them all.

We’re shaping a sustainable future, and you need to be a part of it. Our participants include:

Our participants represent diverse industry sectors, from construction and materials to financial services, support services, computers and electronics. They are located in 160 countries and collectively represent more than 138 million employees.


To ensure the UN Global Compact policies and practices safeguard the integrity and reputation of the United Nations and the values it upholds, we maintain a few exceptions that restrict organizations from joining the initiative.

Organizations that meet the following exclusionary criteria cannot be recognized as participants of the UN Global Compact

  • Subject to a UN sanction
  • Listed on the UN Ineligible Vendors List for ethical reasons
  • Derive revenue from the production, sale and/or transfer of antipersonnel landmines or cluster bombs
  • Derive revenue from the production and/or manufacturing of tobacco
The exclusionary criteria was updated on 12 September 2017. See here for more information

We also have revised our policies for micro-enterprises/organizations and subsidiaries:

  • Micro-enterprises/organizations: As of January 1st 2020, we will accept all businesses and organizations that fulfill the criteria for participation, regardless of the number of employees. All participating companies and organizations are still required to have at least one direct employee and active operations.
  • Subsidiaries: A company's commitment to join the UN Global Compact applies not only to its headquarters, but also to all subsidiaries and country offices. In addition to the parent company’s commitment, subsidiaries can, but are not required to, become UN Global Compact signatories alongside their parent company. Subsidiaries of non-participating parent companies can also decide to participate individually. Parent companies and subsidiaries are strongly encouraged to actively participate in our activities at the global and local level, including through our Global Compact Local Networks. Learn more about subsidiary participation.

See our FAQ to learn more about participating in the UN Global Compact.

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