The United Nations Global Compact is a voluntary initiative bringing together companies, foundations, associations, and academic entities that commit to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support United Nations goals.
The mission of the UN Global Compact is to contribute to the creation of a sustainable and inclusive global economy that delivers lasting benefits to people, communities, and markets. To this aim, it supports companies to: do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption; and take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.
Members of the initiative commit to guide their activities by the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.
The activities undertaken by the Global Compact cover a wide range of issues, such as: sustainable development, gender equality, innovation, inequality, human rights, education, and children. Some of these activities also touch on aspects related to the use and evolution of information and communications technologies. In one example, a Breakthrough Innovation Platform has been developed with the aim to drive radical new business models to advance the SDGs by connecting mainstream companies with next generation innovators and entrepreneurs. One aim of the Platform is to identify and analyse the advantaged and disadvantages of technologies that have the potential to disrupt indutries and create opportunities for advancing sustainability (such as big data, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, etc.).
The Global Compact is governed by a framework that was adopted by the UN Secretary General in 2005. The governance functions are distributed among several entities (from a General Assembly and Board, to local networks and a Government Group) so as to engage participants and stakeholders at the global and local levels in making decisions and giving advice, and to reflect the initiative's public-private and multistakeholder character.