Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact
Photo courtesy of the United Nations
"The business case for corporate sustainability is gaining global recognition," said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. "But this is the time for business leaders to follow words with action and ensure that responsible practice becomes part of the corporate DNA."
Companies around the world are understanding more each day the value and critical importance of sustainability and the Global Compact says companies of all sectors are stepping up efforts to build environmental and social sustainability policies, however, more work needs to be done to translate these commitments into action, finds the UN's Global Compact 2011 Implementation Survey, whose findings were revealed during Monday's press conference at UN headquarters.
1300 companies anonymously participated in the Survey, revealing that 2011 reflected unprecedented growth for the Global Compact with 1,861 companies joining the UN initiative created to promote responsible business practices around the world.
Other key findings reflect that 49 percent of all companies reported that their sustainability commitments are developed or evaluated at the management board level. The Survey also reveals that corporate disclosure on sustainability issues is on the rise, with companies taking most action on the environment and labor standards.
Key issues still lagging on improvement are human rights and corruption in the workplace. Signaling hope, the Survey states that anti-corruption efforts have increased steadily for two consecutive years. However, human rights action continues to lag behind. The Global Compact focuses on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption, calling on companies around the world to align their strategies, policies and operations in support of ten universal principles under these four pillars.
The Global Compact has grown to 6985 companies from 140 countries with a 50/50 split from developed and developing countries, since its conception in 2000, and currently reflecting a growing number of medium size businesses.
2000 companies have registered to take part in the Global Compact's Corporate Sustainability Forum at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this month. The Global Compact head said 1000 companies will be participating in the Global Compact Sustainability Forum, which will have 120 sessions, and noted that the success of Rio+20 will depend on the amount of action participants manage to inspire.