University of EdinburghThe United Nations and TransnationalCorporations: The Politics of Organizingfor Corporate Social Re...
Agenda1    Looking into History: From Code to Compact2   The UN Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect3        Looking in...
Davos, World Economic Forum,             31 January 1999“I propose that you, thebusiness leaders, and we,the United Nation...
UN-Business Relations: From           Code to Compact                                                 UN Global           ...
The UN Global Compact -An Initiative Based on Partnership     Business                   United Nations                  A...
Agenda1       Looking into History: From Code to Compact2   The UN Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect3         Lookin...
‘A Moral Compass’ – The                  Compact’s Ten Principles Human       Business should support and respect the prot...
The Global Compact in 2012 –                      Some Key Facts                  •    over 6900 business participants in ...
Multi-Level Governance     in the Context of the Global CompactLocal NetworkEmerging Network                              ...
UN Global Compact – Participant Growth                                         10
What Has Influenced the Continued             Growth of the Initiative?       Political            Governance             ...
The Debate Around                  the UN Global Compact•  Principles miss      •  Absence of       •  Global Compact   pr...
Agenda1      Looking into History: From Code to Compact2   The UN Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect3    Looking into...
Which Challenges Remain Ahead to      Further Develop the Global Compact?Promote Balance                Build Links       ...
Rio+20 as a Chance to           Deepen UN-Business RelationsHow does the UN involve the private sector in achieving sustai...
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The United Nations and Transnational Corporations: the Politics of Organising for Corporate Social Responsibility

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This presentation discusses corporate responsibility in the context of the United Nations (UN) system. Starting with a historical perspective, the presentation shows how the relationship between the business sector and the UN has moved from an era on confrontation to an era of collaboration. In particular, discussions will focus on a recent UN-based public-private partnership: the Global Compact. Additionally, the presentation will also consider the institutional context, achievements, and constraints of the Global Compact as a UN-backed initiative and critically examine its role in the wider context of corporate responsibility and sustainability. The analysis positions the Global Compact as a network-based global governance arrangement reflecting a rapprochement between the UN system and the business community. Overall, the presentation connects the corporate responsibility discourse to scholarly work in the area of political science and international relations.

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The United Nations and Transnational Corporations: the Politics of Organising for Corporate Social Responsibility

  1. 1. University of EdinburghThe United Nations and TransnationalCorporations: The Politics of Organizingfor Corporate Social ResponsibilityAndreas RascheWarwick Business School, University of Warwick19 March 2012 1
  2. 2. Agenda1 Looking into History: From Code to Compact2 The UN Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect3 Looking into the Future: Beyond Rio+20 2
  3. 3. Davos, World Economic Forum, 31 January 1999“I propose that you, thebusiness leaders, and we,the United Nations,initiate a global compactof shared values andprinciples, which will givea human face to the Former UN Secretary-global market.” General Kofi Annan © WEF 3
  4. 4. UN-Business Relations: From Code to Compact UN Global Compact (2000 onwards) UN Center Final Rejection on TNCs of Code (1975-1992) (1992)Group of Eminent Persons (GEP) (1972-1974) 70s 80s 90s 2000 4
  5. 5. The UN Global Compact -An Initiative Based on Partnership Business United Nations Addressing Governance Gaps Peace Profit & & & Creating Poverty Growth Sustainable Markets Reduction Deepening Interdependencies 5
  6. 6. Agenda1 Looking into History: From Code to Compact2 The UN Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect3 Looking into the Future: Beyond Rio+20 6
  7. 7. ‘A Moral Compass’ – The Compact’s Ten Principles Human Business should support and respect the protection of international human rights; and Rights make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses. Business should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; Labour the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor; Rights the effective abolition of child labor; the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Business should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; Environ- undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and ment encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies. Anti- Business should work against all forms of corruption, including extortion and bribery.Corruption 7
  8. 8. The Global Compact in 2012 – Some Key Facts •  over 6900 business participants in over 135 countries Participants •  3100 non-business participants – NGOs, academia, and labour •  mix of large TNCs and SMEs (50% of participants are SMEs) •  requirement to file annual report on implementation progressAccountability •  delisted participants (until March 2012): over 3100 •  reporting not standardized (GRI recommended) •  clusters of participants interacting at the national level Local •  established or emerging networks in over 90 countries Networks •  good presence in developing/transition economies 8
  9. 9. Multi-Level Governance in the Context of the Global CompactLocal NetworkEmerging Network 9
  10. 10. UN Global Compact – Participant Growth 10
  11. 11. What Has Influenced the Continued Growth of the Initiative? Political Governance Global-Local Support Structure Link•  Several GA •  Governance is •  Loosely coupled resolutions as network-based and networks as political back up multi-stakeholder “contextualizers”•  Leadership support •  Participant •  Local networks by Kofi Annan and ownership vital for brought in SMEs and Ban Ki-Moon success globalized debate•  Secured access to •  Enabled responsive •  Networks gave UN system management access to BRICs 11
  12. 12. The Debate Around the UN Global Compact•  Principles miss •  Absence of •  Global Compact precision and independent allows businesses hence offer no monitoring and to capture UN clear guidance for verification agenda – implementation mechanisms privatization of UNVague Lack of UNPrinciples Accountability Capture 12
  13. 13. Agenda1 Looking into History: From Code to Compact2 The UN Global Compact: Retrospect and Prospect3 Looking into the Future: Rio+20 and Beyond 13
  14. 14. Which Challenges Remain Ahead to Further Develop the Global Compact?Promote Balance Build Links Differentiate•  Balance quantitative •  Growing corporate •  Acknowledge (participant) and responsibility leaders, let laggards qualitative (impact) “infrastructure” (e.g. catch up, and punish growth ISO 26000) free riders•  Provide assistance •  Better link existing •  Differentiation must to non-OECD SMEs initiatives and acknowledge firm regarding COP specify value context (e.g. size reporting propositions and regions)•  Strengthen role of •  Link along: types, •  Use differentiation to non-business regions, and sectors build “participant participants to reduce ambiguity clusters” 14
  15. 15. Rio+20 as a Chance to Deepen UN-Business RelationsHow does the UN involve the private sector in achieving sustainabledevelopment?1.  Solutions based on international law are unlikely to emerge in the near future due to a lack of political support.2.  Strong growth of bilateral UN-business partnerships in the context of MDGs (e.g., between UNICEF and businesses).3.  The Global Compact will play a vital role in giving UN-business relations ‘a face’ and providing a platform for companies to learn how to partner. 15

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