Un Urges Businesses To Join Corporate Responsibility Pact Ahead Of Rio Forum

kristy Green Prosperity, SRI/ESG News

New York, Feb 28 2012 7:05PM
The world’s corporations are increasingly adopting a more sustainable course
of doing business, a senior United Nations official said today, but voiced
concern that participation was still lagging below expectations ahead of a
major forum on corporate sustainability in Rio de Janeiro in June.

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Georg Kell, Executive Director
of the Global Compact Office, the UN
initiative that seeks to foster socially responsible corporate practices,
emphasized the increasing need for the private sector to put sustainability
on its agenda.

“After 10 years of mobilizing businesses around the world we have made some
progress and we have growing evidence that long-term value creation
embracing universal principles makes good business sense,” stated Mr. Kell.

The UN Global Compact today counts more than 10,000 participants, including
over 7,000 businesses in 140 countries, many of whom are working to advance
greater environmental and social sustainability in the spirit of the
initiative’s 10 universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour,
environment and anti-corruption.

But Mr. Kell noted that while the 7,000th participant had recently signed up
for the programme, over 3,000 companies had already been delisted for

“We are disappointed, as a matter of fact, that the movement isn’t growing
faster,” he told reporters. “Of course, it’s a big movement, but not yet

But, with over 2,000 participants expected at the upcoming Rio+20 Corporate
Sustainability Forum, which is part of the broader Rio+20 conference in the
Brazilian city, Mr. Kell voiced hope that the time had come for business
leaders and investors to further spearhead their sustainability initiatives
with governments, local authorities, and civil society groups.

“Our hope is that Rio+20 will deliver a very strong encouragement for
corporate sustainability. That we will be able to demonstrate that most of
the solutions we need exist already,” he stated.

Mr. Kell added that he was approaching the Rio+20 forum with optimism.

“We know there is a huge appetite in the private sector. The time is now to
move forward and to demonstrate through solutions that we can find answers
to many of the problems. What it takes is goodwill, collaboration, and the
right incentives.”
For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news