Non-business application handbook

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Overview

About the UN Global Compact

We welcome a wide range of organizations to join the UN Global Compact. Businesses, civil society organizations, business associations, labour organizations, academic institutions and cities can all make a commitment to a better world. We know that it takes collective efforts to make a difference for society. It doesn’t matter if you are heavily experienced in sustainability efforts, or just starting out. Our 20,000+ participating companies and 3,800+ non-business participants have varying needs, and we’re prepared to support them all. We’re shaping a sustainable future, and you need to be a part of it.

 

Our participants include:


  • Large multinational companies with operations in hundreds of countries

  • Small companies located in under-developed or conflict-prone regions

  • Businesses that rely heavily on suppliers based in markets where sustainability norms are sub-standard
  • Foundations, non-governmental organizations and other non-business entities

 

Our participants represent diverse industry sectors, from construction and materials to financial services, support services, computers and electronics. They are located in 160 countries and collectively represent more than 58 million employees.

What’s required

Communication on Engagement (CoE)

 

What is a CoE?

To demonstrate their continued engagement with the UN Global Compact, non-business participants must submit a COE every two years. The COE discloses to stakeholders specific activities that a non-business participant takes in support of the UN Global Compact. It has a flexible format and may be prepared in any language.

 

 

How are CoEs used?

As a public document, uploaded to the Global Compact website, the CoE is an important demonstration of a non-business organization’s commitment to support the Global Compact and promote the implementation of the ten principles among businesses. Failure to submit a CoE to the Global Compact website every two years will result in a change of participant status and can eventually lead to the expulsion of the organization from the initiative.

 

To learn more about submitting your CoE, click here.


Continuous support of the UN Global Compact mission

 

The UN Global Compact encourages you to create a culture of integrity across your business or organization, from strategy to operations.

 

More than 20,000 business participants and 3,800 non-business participants have already embraced the commitments of the UN Global Compact. To join them as part of the world’s largest global corporate sustainability initiative, you must voluntarily pledge to:

  • Operate responsibly, in alignment with the Ten Principles
  • Take actions that support the society around you

  • Commit to the effort from your organization’s highest level, pushing sustainability deep into your DNA

  • Report annually on your ongoing efforts

  • Engage locally where you have a presence

 

We need the expertise of non-business entities to help us shape the most effective ideas, develop tools and research, and further our partnership projects. You can also help to hold businesses accountable to their commitments to the UN Global Compact and its Ten Principles.

Joining policy

Background

The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative that seeks to mobilize companies and other stakeholders from around the world to align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. With a diverse base of businesses and non-business organizations, the UN Global Compact engages stakeholders at all levels of their sustainability journey to create a movement of transformative change.

 

Companies that join the UN Global Compact are committing to:

  • Operate responsibly by embedding the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact into strategies and operations

  • Take bold, innovative action to achieve UN initiatives such as Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement

  • Share their commitments and progress publicly through an annual Communication on Progress
  • Advance the case for responsible business practices through advocacy and engagement with peers, partners, employees, clients, consumers, and the public at large

 

While the UN Global Compact does not have mandate to be a compliance or monitoring body, the initiative provides a platform for continuous improvement, public accountability, learning, and dialogue.


Eligibility for admission

The UN Global Compact is an inclusive initiative open to companies committed to implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, and communicating on progress. To ensure the UN Global Compact Policies and practices safeguard the integrity and reputation of the United Nations and the values it upholds, the initiative maintains a few exceptions that restrict participation. 

 

Applicants that meet the following exclusionary criteria cannot join the UN Global Compact:


  • Subject to a UN sanction

  • Listed on the UN Ineligible Vendors List for ethical reasons

  • Derive revenue from the production, sale and/or transfer of antipersonnel landmines or cluster bombs

  • Derive revenue from the production and/or manufacturing of tobacco

 

Any subsidiary, irrespective of their parent company’s participation, can apply individually to become a participant. Alternatively, subsidiaries may choose to participate through their parent company’s commitment, which applies to all subsidiaries and country offices.

 

If a parent company meets any of the exclusionary criteria, it will not be admitted to the UN Global Compact. Subsidiaries and non-affiliated companies can apply individually should they not meet any of the product-based exclusionary criteria. However, this exception does not apply if the subsidiary or affiliate is part of a corporate group that derives more than 5% of its revenue from the production of tobacco products.


Eligible non-business entities

Application process

1

Create your business profile

Enter information about your organization, such as name, website, number of employees, type, country, and proof of registration

 

Step 1

2

Define the Primary Contact Point

The Primary Contact Point will ensure communication between your organization and UN Global Compact. 

 

They will receive regular emails including the UN Global Compact Monthly Bulletin, Communication on Progress deadlines and updates on news and events.

 

Step 2

3

Define the Highest Level Executive

We require you to provide information about your highest level executive (Chief Executive Officer or equivalent).

 

After your application is approved, this person will receive official documents such as policy updates, reports and invitations to special events via postal mail.

 

You can use the Primary Contact Point’s information, or create a new user.

 

Step 3

4

Complete required documentation

The Letter of Commitment

The Letter of Commitment is a statement of your organization to uphold UN Global Compact’s mission and values signed by the Highest Level Executive or an approved employee. This is not a legally binding document.

 

Download Letter

 

 

Proof of registration

You must provide an official paper issued by a state authority, certifying that the organization is legally registered.

 

 

Mission statement

You must provide a short description of your organization’s mission statement.

 

Mission statement
De-listing & re-joining

De-listing

The UN Global Compact is an inclusive initiative for companies that commit to align with the ten universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. In order to maintain the integrity and reputation of the initiative, the UN Global Compact has developed criteria for de-listing participants.

 

Companies and organizations that are de-listed from the initiative:

  • Will be reflected as such on the UN Global Compact website
  • Will have all formal relationships with the UN Global Compact and/or Global Compact Network(s) terminated (whether held in an individual or company/organizational capacity - this could include, but not limited to, participation in an Expert Group, Participants or Patron Sponsors of Action Platforms and LEAD)
  • Are not allowed to use the UN Global Compact name or logo, even if such permission had been granted prior to their removal
  • May result in the forfeiture of financial contribution, including required annual contributions or contributions made to support any engagement opportunity such as Action Platforms, sponsorships, etc.

 

All companies or organizations that are no longer part of the initiative are given the status of ‘de-listed’, with a reason for de-listing, and it is reflected as such on the UN Global Compact website.

 

De-listings can either occur for integrity reasons or for administrative reasons, which are usually based on a request by the participant.


Integrity reasons for de-listing

 

Failure to communicate on progress

The UN Global Compact requires all business participants to submit an annual Communication on Engagement (CoE) that outlines the company’s efforts to operate responsibly. If a company is unable to meet its annual submission requirement, it will be listed as ‘non-communicating’ on the UN Global Compact website. If the status persists for another year, the company or organization will be de-listed for failure to communicate.

 

 

Failure to engage in dialogue

Under the integrity measures’ dialogue facilitation process, participants are required to respond to third party concerns raised with the UN Global Compact Office within a two-month deadline. If a participant fails to respond within the required deadline, it may be listed as ‘non-communicating’ on the UN Global Compact website until such dialogue commences. If the status persists for a year, the company will be de-listed for failure to engage in dialogue. For more information, please read the Integrity Measures Policy.

 

 

Other reasons related to integrity

The UN Global Compact reserves the right to de-list participants for:


  • Egregious or persistent misuse of the UN and/or UN Global Compact name and/or logo. The UN Global Compact reserves the right to refer cases to the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs
  • Learning that after an applicant is accepted that the participant provided false or misleading information in the application form
  • Suspension or removal from the UN Vendor List
  • When egregious or systematic abuse of the Ten Principles is admitted by an authorized company representative or there is a finding of guilt in a court of law, as a last resort the company may be de-listed if their continued participation in the initiative is detrimental to the reputation and integrity of the overall UN Global Compact and its Local Networks.

Other reasons for de-listing

 

Participant requested withdrawal

The UN Global Compact is a voluntary initiative, and participants are free to end their participation at any time. Participants may decide to withdraw if they determine they are not in a position to continue their participation in their initiative or if they are unable to uphold their commitment to the Ten Principles. The Intention to withdraw should be communicated in writing by an authorized representative of the participating company or organization and specify the reasons for ending the commitment.

 

 

Merger or acquisition / Organization no longer exists

A participant no longer exists as a separate entity.

 

 

Consolidation of commitment under the parent company

A company’s commitment to join the UN Global Compact applies not only to its headquarters, but also to all subsidiaries, local branches and country offices. Parent companies that prefer that their subsidiaries do not remain individual participants of the initiative can consolidate their commitment. In this instance, the parent’s CoE is required to cover all subsidiaries’ activities. For more information, read the Subsidiary Policy.


Re-joining

All participants de-listed from the UN Global Compact that wish to re-join the initiative will have to submit the below documents:


  • Letter of Re-commitment to the UN Secretary-General from the chief executive (or equivalent) pledging to make progress on the UN Global Compact Ten Principles and take action in support of UN goals. The letter shall also include an explanation of the reason for de-listing along with corrective measures

  • Valid CoE

 

The UN Global Compact will consider the following during the re-admission process:


  • The results of a due diligence review 
  • The substance of the Letter of Re-commitment and COE

 

These additional documents/ criteria are required as applicable to the specific reason for de-listing:

 

 

Failure to engage in dialogue

Submit a response letter to the third party in the dialogue facilitation process.

 

 

Suspension or removal from the UN Vendor List

Submit proof or re-instatement in the UN Vendor database.

 

 

Other reasons related to integrity (Reputational concerns as a result of a finding of guilt or admission of wrongdoing)

All de-listings for this reason will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

 

The UN Global Compact generally recommends companies that are de-listed for this reason to wait at a minimum three years before re-applying in order to provide sufficient time to address the issues of concern. This requirement also applies to companies who decided to voluntarily withdraw for their inability to continue to uphold their commitment to the Ten Principles. 

 

Re-admission will be based on a substantive review of the following:
Whether the CoE sufficiently describes actions taken to remedy the situation detailing alignment to the Ten Principles.


 

If applicable, the company should provide the outcome of an assessment conducted by a regulatory body or independent third party.

 

 

Other reasons related to integrity (Egregious abuse of the UN/UN Global Compact name or logo)

Submit clearance from the UN Office of Legal Affairs.

 

 

Non-responsive

Submit proof of payment for the forthcoming 12 months.

 

 

Product-based exclusionary criteria

Demonstrate that revenue is no longer derived from the production and/or manufacturing of tobacco.

Resources

Access resources

Understand more about your participation to the UN Global Compact.

UN Global Compact Brochure

Guide to Corporate Sustainability

Join UN Global Compact and shape a sustainable future

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