United Nations Global Compact: The Ten Principles – Understanding Their Scope of Sustainability

Throughout the report, the term sustainability encompasses environmental, social, and corporate governance. The ten principles the United Nations Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support, and enact within their sphere of influence are as follows:

Human Rights

Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the internationally proclaimed human rights.

Principle 2: Make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.


Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.

Principle 4: The elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor.

Principle 5: The effective abolition of child labour.

Principle 6: The elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.


Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.

Principle 8: Undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility.

Principle 9: Encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

Seven Steps to Sustainability

From the research and analysis done, the report outlined, as follows, that leaders are approaching sustainability differently. CEOs see seven key themes that guide their thinking and actions, which transform strategies, business models, value chains, and industries in order to achieve leadership in sustainability and high performance.

Step 1: Realism and context – understanding the scale of the challenge and the opportunity.

Step 2: Growth and differentiation – turning sustainability to advantage and value creation.

Step 3: Value and performance – “what gets measured gets man aged;” quantifying the value of sustainability initiatives, more sustainable business models, track impact on communities.

Step 4: Technology and innovation – new models for success; investment in renewables, intelligent infrastructure enabled by machine-to-machine communication, closed-loop business models, innovative R&D, cloud computing, analytics, etc.

Step 5: Partnerships and collaboration – new challenges, new solutions; close partnerships with governments, policymakers, industry peers, consumers, and NGOs.

Step 6: Engagement and dialogue – broadening the conversation; two-way dialogue – engaging stakeholders (consumers and local communities, regulators and policy makers, investors and shareholders, employees and labor unions) to negotiate role of business in addressing global challenges.

Step 7: Advocacy and leadership – shaping future systems; collaborative solutions with governments and other stakeholders; business leaders' advocacy and public commitment is integral to progress.

Will the pace of change address the global challenges to be able to support a population of nine billion by 2050? Time will tell.

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