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How global is the Global Compact?

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Launched by the United Nations in 2000, the Global Compact (GC) promotes private sector compliance with 10 basic principles covering human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption. Its sponsors aim to establish a global corporate social responsibility (CSR) network based on a pledge to observe the 10 principles adopted by companies across the range of company size and regional origin, backed by a modest reporting system and collaborative programmes. The author analyzes the GC's progress toward building a global network from its launch through 2006 and finds that, while the GC's nominal membership base of nearly 3000 companies makes it the largest system among collective action institutions (CAIs) for corporate responsibility, the GC has not reached ‘critical mass’. Deficiencies in its nascent global network include limited market penetration among the largest corporations, a membership heavily weighted toward Western European companies, and major weaknesses in compliance with its reporting system. The author concludes that the GC must improve both penetration and compliance if it is to succeed in building a global standard for CSR.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Associate Professor of Management, Jameel Management Center, American University, Cairo, Egypt

Publication date: July 1, 2008


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