The UN Global Compact has been asked to speak about 3 topics this afternoon:

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1 Remarks of Ursula Wynhoven The UN Global Compact has been asked to speak about 3 topics this afternoon: 1. A key output of the work we were asked to do on engaging responsible business in the Post 2015 development agenda. 2. An initiative on engaging business in support of the Rule of Law that we are currently working on 3. Some ideas for how we could work more closely with UNCITRAL standards, tools and expertise. First though a line or two about what the UN Global Compact is. It is the UN s corporate sustainability initiative. We define corporate sustainability as the creation of long term value by business in economic, social, environmental and governance terms. The UN Global Compact is a call to action to business everywhere to align their strategy and operations with 1

2 ten universal principles on human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption, to take action in support of UN goals and to report on their progress in doing so to their own stakeholders. The mandate from the General Assembly is to promote responsible business practices and UN values among the global business community and the UN system. There are signatories from 145 countries and country networks in more than 80 countries. 1. Within the post 2015 process that was outlined earlier, we have been very involved in trying to engage business. Not just any business, business that has made public commitment to uphold and support universal principles and to report on their progress. Have conducted consultations with the private sector around the world in person and virtually, have produced a report for the UN SG, a publication called Building the Post 2015 Business 2

3 Engagement Architecture, a series of issue briefs, a white paper on the role of responsible business and finance in implementation of that agenda, and are working on a toolkit to support corporate measurement and goal setting in alignment with the final SDGs whatever they may be (scheduled for release in Oct 2015). The post 2015 Business Engagement Architecture was, as I mentioned, one of these outputs. It is a publication that lays out ideas for how different societal actors, from governments, to civil society, to investors and others can take action to encourage business to scale up their implementation of corporate sustainability, which is business main contribution to sustainable development. It was developed by the UN Global Compact together with the Global Reporting Initiative and the World Business 3

4 Council on Sustainable Development. At the heart of the architecture model is the idea that to maximize business positive role in sustainable development businesses should 1. respect universal principles, i.e. do no harm 2. take action in support of broader UN goals and 3. engage in partnerships and collective action globally and locally. It emphasizes the growing interdependency of business and societies and encourages businesses to align their long term business strategies with sustainable development goals. It also emphasizes the importance of transparency and accountability to build trust and spur deeper implementation of corporate sustainability, and market and society based drivers of greater corporate sustainability. Finally, it calls attention to the value of platforms for action and partnership that allow companies to come together with other businesses and 4

5 other stakeholders to bring greater specificity geographic, issue, sector to corporate sustainability issues, to help tackle systemic issues and find practical solutions to corporate sustainability challenges they face. 2. The work on business for the rule of law, which began at the end of last September when the Secretary-General announced the workstream and asked the UN Global Compact to work together with the SG s Rule of Law Unit to lead it, is an example of such an issue based effort. The ROL is essential for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Where ROL is weak, it is harder for responsible business to function and to meet their corporate responsibilities and commitments to universal principles. Among other things, ROL entails legal systems that foster economic investment 5

6 by increasing the security of contracts, lowering levels of corruption, and allowing for timely, fair, transpareny and predictable resolution of disputes. It is also concerned with legal identity and empowerment for individuals and organizations, enabling transition from the informal sector into the formal economy. Such individuals and organizations are at the base of many companies supply chains. We have put a multistakeholder steering group in place to help guide the development of a framework on business for the rule of law that would provide guidance and support dialogue on how companies from around the world can take voluntary action to support the ROL in their business operations and relationships, as a complement, not substitute for government action and a complement and not substitute for business respect for universal principles. 6

7 We ve gathered more than 60 examples of corporate action in support of the rule of law across sectors and countries reinforcing that many businesses already see the business case for such action. The initiative is also an important channel for the UN Global Compact to engage an important constituency on corporate responsibility, namely lawyers inside companies and their external legal advisers. Both are key intermediaries that influence corporate engagement in voluntary initiatives such as the UN Global Compact. As well as development of the Framework, which will set out the business case, actions business can take and examples of action that businesses have taken, the initiative will also entail an international consultation process. Subject to the availability of resources, we may also develop a technology hub to help build a community of interested 7

8 businesses and others to facilitate greater collaboration in support of the ROL and collaborate with our country networks to host events that seek to engage business in support of the rule of law in a particular country. 3. On opportunities for UNCITRAL and the UN Global Compact to work together, one idea concerns UNCITRAL s Model Law on Public Procurement. The UN Global Compact with the support of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Transparency International, the Open Contracting Initiative, the World Bank Institute and the Global Organization of Parliamentarians against Corruption, has launched the Call to Action: Anti-Corruption and the Global Development Agenda, in which companies ask Governments to promote anti-corruption measures and implement robust policies for good governance. The call is the result of recommendations made by the UN Global Compact s Anti-Corruption Working Group and was developed together with the organizations I mentioned over a six month period by a taskforce, which explored the private sector s perspective on anti-corruption and good governance in the global development agenda. The Call 8

9 asks Governments to: 1. Fully implement and enforce the tenets of the UN Convention against Corruption by strengthening anti-corruption policies, laws and enforcement mechanisms to create a level playing field and incentivize good behavior; 2. Make a commitment to reduce corruption risks from procurement and contract processes of large-scale projects that are designed to support sustainable development; 3. Commit to engaging in competitive and transparent procurement processes through public advertising of all Government procurement cases; 4. Achieve greater transparency in relation to revenues received by Governments from private sector companies; 5. Support corporate efforts to enhance anti-corruption implementation, corporate governance, innovative collective action, and public-private partnership initiatives. 80 companies have already signed it. Signatures will be collected until at least December

10 In effect, the call to action is making the case for further adoption of UNCITRAL s model law on public procurement and may help create additional demand for the technical assistance that we understand that UNCITRAL provides in relation to the model law. There is a really nice complementarity there. We are also exploring ways and means to prepare a revised version of a publication released in 1999 called The United Nations and Global Commerce. It outlined the essential role of the UN System in global commerce by among other things promoting agreements on States jurisdictional rights, promoting accords on intellectual property rights relevant to international commerce, standardizing definitions and measurements of economic concepts, standardizing and harmonizing rules for international commercial transactions etc etc. We would be delighted to work on this with UNCITRAL. We also understand that UNCITRAL has standards and expertise in other areas relevant to corporate sustainability and the UN Global Compact, such as infrastructure and SMEs. We look forward to exploring with UNCITRAL s secretariat how we might collaborate in these and other areas too. 10

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