Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Join the discussion: What to do with the “bad apples” in the Global Compact?

The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest voluntary corporate accountability initiative, with the number of corporate members exceeding seven thousand. The Global Compact aims to “encourage businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies and practices”. Participants of the Global Compact commit to implement ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. The Global Compact aims to stimulate change by facilitating learning, dialogue and partnerships. It does not “police or enforce the behavior or actions of companies”.

The lack of monitoring and enforcement mechanisms has been criticized by many civil society organisations and other actors. For instance, many have argued that companies that are involved in serious violations of the Compact’s principles should be delisted (see for example the complaints against DeutschePost DHL, Lifosa, NestlĂ©, Bayer and PetroChina).

Patrick Haack, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Zurich is of another opinion. According to Haack, “delisting and related measures are more likely to “backfire” and prove detrimental to the cause of global sustainability by alienating business participants“. Attitudinal and behavorial change, he argues, is more likely to be achieved through persuasion, learning and dialogue between business firms, government and civil society organizations. “Keeping bad apples and providing them with time and resources to overcome organizational barriers may prove more fruitful than unconditional punishment.”

Click here to read Patrik Haack’s article: ‘Managing the legitimacy commons in transnational governance: Why keeping bad apples, instead of sacking them, can lead to global sustainability’.

Join the discussion!
We are interested in learning the position our readers take in this discussion and welcome you all to participate in it. If you would like to react on Patrick’s article, please send your reaction to m.theuws[at]somo.nl or use the reaction field.

photo: retrieved from http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/library/t_library.aspx?pid=10307 

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