Press Releases

    ECO/64
                                                                                                         10 June 2004

    Global Compact Leaders Summit at Headquarters to Set Stage for Expansion of Good Corporate Citizenship

    NEW YORK, 9 June -- On 24 June 2004, Secretary-General Kofi Annan will convene the Global Compact Leaders Summit at United Nations Headquarters, the largest gathering ever of chief executive officers, government officials and leaders of civil society and labour, on the topic of corporate responsibility.

    More than 400 participants are expected to attend the one-day Summit, including hundreds of CEOs and senior executives of major international corporations. President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil will deliver the keynote luncheon address.

    “It is clear that if globalization is to work it must be rooted in universal values and deliver benefits to the world’s poor”, said John Ruggie, Special Adviser to Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Global Compact. “Given the tensions in today’s world -– be they related to conflict, terrorism, or threats to multilateralism –- it is more important than ever that global stakeholders and institutions, including the private sector, work collaboratively to ensure stronger bonds of community among people and societies. Advancing global corporate citizenship is crucial in this endeavour.”

    At the Summit, participants will assess the progress of the Global Compact initiative and chart its future course. The Global Compact has grown rapidly since its launch by the Secretary-General in July 2000. More than 1,400 companies, along with international labour and civil society organizations, are participating in the initiative, making the Global Compact the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world. The Global Compact has established networks and activities in more than 50 countries.

    Report by McKinsey & Company Highlights Impact of Global Compact

    McKinsey & Company, the international management consultancy, today released a comprehensive report on the Global Compact entitled “Assessing the Global Compact’s Impact”. The report is based on extensive data analysis, interviews and surveys conducted with a range of stakeholders, including Global Compact participants, as well as outside observers and detractors.

    The McKinsey report concludes: “Our impact assessment has found that the Global Compact has had noticeable, incremental impact on companies, the UN, governments and other civil society actors. A solid participant base and the power of the idea of high-level UN engagement with the private sector have largely driven these successes to date.”

    Commenting on the report, Georg Kell, Executive Head of the Global Compact, said: “At its core, the McKinsey study shows that the Global Compact has, overall, been a significant force for positive change. Our challenge is to address key areas identified in the report so that the Global Compact remains relevant and important. The Leaders Summit will be a perfect opportunity to do just that.”

    Among the report’s other findings:

    -- Approximately 67 per cent of survey respondents said they changed their corporate policies in relation to the human rights, labour and environment principles since joining the Compact, with 40 per cent reporting that the Global Compact was a significant driver of these changes.

    -- The Global Compact has helped put “corporate responsibility” on the agenda in the developing world: nearly 67 per cent of survey respondents in the developing world said they joined the Global Compact to become more familiar with corporate responsibility issues.

    -- More than 50 per cent of non-governmental organization survey respondents report that since signing up to the Global Compact they are more engaged in helping companies to solve problems or make decisions in the implementation of the Compact’s principles.

    -- But the report also notes that “inconsistent participation and divergent and unmet expectations limit the impact on companies” and hinder the Compact’s credibility.

    -- The Global Compact has helped spread the acceptance of business collaboration throughout the UN network and helped promote innovative intra-UN partnerships.

    The McKinsey assessment notes that the Global Compact has grown rapidly in a relatively short amount of time. However, the report states: “As it transitions from its entrepreneurial, experimentation phase to a phase of sustained growth focused on impact, the Global Compact will need to manage participants’ expectations by increasing the value of participation with more targeted business-oriented engagement mechanisms, robust local networks, and effective communication and collaboration with participants and partners.”

    The Secretary-General will open the Global Compact Leaders Summit at 9:30 a.m. in the Delegates Dining Room of the United Nations. The remainder of the morning will be devoted to round-table discussions on corporate experiences in advancing Compact principles. President Lula da Silva will deliver the luncheon presentation. Following that, participants will engage in additional dialogue in the Dining Room, before moving to the General Assembly Hall in the late afternoon for a plenary session and closing speech by the Secretary-General.

    Please contact: Gavin Power, Global Compact Office, tel: 212-963-4681, e-mail: powerg@un.org; or Tim Wall, Department of Public Information, tel: 212-963-5851, e-mail: wallt@un.org.

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