The United Nations Global Compact

Achievements, Trends and Challenges

The United Nations Global Compact
  • Edited by Andreas Rasche

    Edited by Georg Kell

    Foreword by Ban Ki-moon

  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

    Online Publication Date:February 2012

    Online ISBN:9780511762642

    Hardback ISBN:9780521198417

    Paperback ISBN:9780521145534

  • Book DOI:

    Subjects: Management: general interest

The United Nations Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative that encourages businesses to support ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. It is the world's largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative with more than 7,500 business and non-business participants in over 130 countries. This book reviews the first ten years of the Compact's existence (2000–2010) by presenting exclusively commissioned chapters from well-known scholars, practitioners from the business world and civil society, and Global Compact staff. They reflect on what the Global Compact has achieved, what trends it may have to respond to, and what challenges are ahead. The book contains not only up-to-date reflections but also debates recent changes to the structure of the Compact, including the Communication on Progress policy, the role of Global Compact Local Networks, and the role of emerging specialized initiatives.


“This timely book reviews the UN Global Compact's strengths and shortcomings over its first decade and provides helpful guidance for all committed to mainstreaming responsible business practices and achieving real change through multistakeholder initiatives.”
– Mary Robinson, President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, Former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

“By orders of magnitude, the Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative —and one of the United Nations’ true success stories. As such, it deserves a comprehensive analysis. With this book, it has got it. Encyclopedic in scope, the volume touches on all facets of the Global Compact’s ideas, ideals, innovative organizational modalities and impact. It will be an indispensable reference work, and an inspiration to global norm entrepreneurs in every field, for many years to come. It is a ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in sustainable globalization, which includes most if not all of us.”
– Professor John G. Ruggie, Harvard University and Special Representative of UN Secretary-General on Business and Human Rights

“provides an extensive and diverse assessment of the Global Compact initiative, its history, dynamics and diffusion process. This makes it most useful for anyone interested in voluntary standards and initiatives, the effectiveness of CSR and the relationship between business and society in general. The combination of academics (some of whomsit on company boards) and practitioners (many of whomare also active in the academy) not only reflects the make-up of the multi-stakeholder initiative but also provides for a unique mixture of academic assessment and inside knowledge that is crucial for understanding how a global initiative can work and have an impact, or fail.” -Nicole Janz , University of Cambridge, Cambridge Review of International Affairs

“While not aiming to be a comprehensive summary of the first decade of UNGC, the book does an excellent job in evaluating the initiative’s achievements, a good job at examining key trends in corporate responsibility, and a fair job at listing and addressing past and potential future challenges of the initiative...this book offers an invaluable and reflective look back at the first decade of the UN Global Compact and perspectives on what lies ahead. As such, it definitely deserves a place in the bookshelf of corporate managers, policy makers, civil society representatives, and especially scholars interested in corporate responsibility.”-Arno Kourula, University of Amsterdam Business School, Business & Society