The United Nations Global Compact, introduction to extra financial reporting

Launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in July 2000, the Global Compact is a voluntary engagement framework through which enterprises, associations and non-governmental organizations are invited to meet ten universally accepted principles dealing with Human Rights, labor standards, the environment and the fight against corruption. Participants must certify annually the effective implementation of these principles in a "communication on progress", a report posted on the website of the Global compact. This initiative, led by a small secretariat, has experienced a strong development and at the end of 2012 was gathering 10,660 members, including 7071 companies.

The Global Compact has gradually changed its requirements level, excluding members which did not regularly transmit their communication of progress (4011 at the end of 2012) and has partnered with recognized organizations bringing their expertise and legitimacy. Companies joining the Global Compact are set in a large number of countries. With more than 700 members, Global Compact France is one of the largest national networks. This international standard provides an introduction to extra-financial reporting.

The ten principles (P)

Human Rights

P1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

P2: Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

The Global Compact is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Collaboration with the High Commissioner for Human Rights of United Nations contributed to the development of tools helping companies to implement these principles, as well as the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights adopted by the Council of human Rights in 2011.


P3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining:

P4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;

P5: the effective abolition of child labour; and

P6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

The Global compact refers to the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (1998) of the International Labour Organization (ILO), with which a close collaboration has been established. The Declaration proclaims eight core conventions in four areas declined in the principles above.


P7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges; and

P8: Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and

P9: Encourage the development and diffusion of environment-friendly technologies.

The Global Compact is based on certain principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992, such as the precautionary principle and Chapter 30 of Agenda 21 of the Rio Summit, which specifies the role of business in sustainable development.


P10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

This principle refers to the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Collaboration with Transparency International does exist on that matter.

Updated on: 11.01.13