U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced the creation of the Global Compact LEAD on January 28, 2011 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. A total of 54 companies are members, including Intel, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell, Tata Steel, Total and Unilever. Participating companies are also part of the UN Global Compact, which requires members to commit their company’s to align their strategies and operations with ten “universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. The first two years will be a pilot phase.
Members share their knowledge through local networks in over 90 countries and commit to work more actively with U.N. agencies. All members are committed to the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership, introduced last June by the Global Compact, which outlines actions businesses can take in sustainability.
“Participation in Global Compact LEAD does not represent a ’seal of approval’ or endorsement by the United Nations,” the U.N. said. “Rather, the platform is designed to challenge highly engaged companies in the UN Global Compact to reach further, to experiment, to innovate, and to share learnings – both successes and failures.”
“From the beginning, the Global Compact has been driven by business leaders willing to move beyond the status quo,” the Secretary-General said. “Through Global Compact LEAD, you can help guide the way to the level of sustainability performance our world requires from business today.”
The Secretary-General told participants in Davos, “You are part of something big.” He said that the participants are an “exclusive group of companies at the leading edge.” He added, “…when companies like yours drive sustainability issues deeper into your operations and strategy, year after year, you send a powerful signal. Indeed, you change the world.”
In order to become members of Global Compact LEAD, companies must have signed the UN Global Compact, plus meet two of three criteria:
- Demonstrate leadership by either actively participating in at least one issue working group or in a collective action initiative or working group launched by Global Compact LEAD
- Demonstrate leadership locally by participating actively in a Local Network
- Submit a Communication on Progress (COP) that covers the company’s efforts in implementing the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership
The annual membership fee for participation in Global Compact LEAD is based on the company’s annual sales/revenue and range from $65,000 to $10,000.