The UN Global Compact has a whole basketful of detractors. This is not surprising: like anything emanating from UNHQ in Manhattan it is unwieldy and slow moving, and often seems to work against itself.
Recently it hit back at these critics and got tough by introducing “integrity measures”. These resulted in over 20% of its signatories being classed as inactive or delisted altogether because they hadn’t reported back on progress.
Two of the principles refer to Human Rights, stating that the signatory will uphold internationally agreed human rights standards and make sure they’re not complicit in human rights abuses.
At the time of writing there are 3704 businesses classed as active by the Global Compact. However, according to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre only 167 businesses worldwide have policies which explicitly mention human rights.
Now comes news that Mary Robinson, the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, is writing to leading international companies urging them to use the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to adopt a human rights policy.
What do you think her chances of success are? Should businesses adopt a specific human rights policy, and if so what is the best way for investors to keep track of its effectiveness?
Let me know what you think below, or start a discussion on the Green Options Discussion Forum.