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Global Compact

Author: Moketi Moshoeshoe ~ African Institute of Corporate Citizenship

( Article Type: Explanation )

The United Nations – Global Compact is a voluntary corporate citizenship initiative with two objectives: mainstreaming the nine principles in business activities around the world and to catalyse actions in support of UN goals. In order to achieve these objectives, the Global Compact offers facilitation and engagement through several mechanisms: Policy Dialogues, Learning, Local Structures and Projects.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan proposed the Global Compact in an address to The World Economic Forum on 31 January 1999. He challenged business leaders to join an international initiative – the Global Compact – that would bring companies together with UN agencies, labour and civil society to support nine principles in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment.

These are:

Human Rights: Business should…

  • Support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights.
  • Ensure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Labour: Business should uphold and support
  • The freedom of association and the effective recognition of the rights to collective bargaining.
  • The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour.
  • The effective abolition of child labour.
  • The elimination and discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Environment: Business should…
  • Support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.
  • Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.
  • Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies. The Global Compact is a network. At its core are the Global Compact Office and five UN agencies: the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; the UN Environment Programme; the International Labour Organisation; the United Nations Development Programme; and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. Today, hundreds of companies from all regions of the world including South Africa, international labour and civil society organisations are engaged in the Global Compact.

South African Global Compact Network
On 24 April 2003 the South African Global Compact Network was launched and this led to the formation of a Taskforce. The Taskforce was mandated by the conference to work towards establishing a South African Global Compact Network. The overall aims of the Network would be inter alia to promote, support and entrench the United Nations Global Compact principles and corporate social responsibility through policy dialogue workshops, seminars, and a national learning forum. Corporations in the taskforce have committed to developing case studies to showcase the value and benefits of participation and share this information among members and other participants in the South African Global Compact Network.

For more information contact:
Nkosithabile Ndlovu Tel: 011 643 6604, email: or
Mokhethi Moshoeshoe Tel: 011 643 6604, email:
AICC Malawi office contact: Sean de Cleene Tel: +265 1 772404, e-mail: