Global Compact Principles – Peace – Teaching Materials

The United Nations Global Compact is an initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption.

One of the focus areas of the Global Compact is peace, exploring both how business can impact, and is impacted by, peace and conflict. Although the primary responsibility for peace and security rests with governments, the private sector can have a significant influence through its commercial activities.

The UN Global Compact has put together a range of resources to assist companies around Business for Peace, many of which can also be used by business schools, not only in CSR courses, but across all core courses. Here is a brief overview of just some of the resources available through the UN Global Compact and PRME around peace.

business_4_peaceIn 2013, the Global Compact launched Business for Peace (B4P), a leadership platform that assists companies in implementing responsible business practices and identifying and managing business risks and opportunities. Academics are invited to support B4P by integrating business and peace issues and awareness into management education, business school curricula and related research. Schools are also encouraged to connect with Local Global Compact Networks to engage in national projects in this area.

resource_preview_281Two main publications have been developed on this topic. The first, Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected & High-Risk Areas: A Resource for Companies and Investors, aims to assist companies in implementing responsible business practices in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. It seeks to provide a common reference point for constructive dialogue between companies and investors on what constitutes responsible business practices in difficult operating enviornments. This publication is also available in Spanish and Mandarin.

resource_preview_491Responsible Business Advancing Peace: Examples from Companies, Investors & Global Compact Local Networks provides a range of case studies of how companies are aligning their policies, engaging with investee companies and advancing the implementation of responsible business practices in difficult operating environments around the world. These short case studies provide an introduction to the background and specific situation, actions taken, challenges, outcomes. Each case study also provides a very useful list of 5 major lessons learned.

resource_preview_262A few topic-specific publications are also available. Water as a Casualty of Conflict: Threats to Business and Society in High Risk Areas explores the unique nature of water challenges in conflict-affected or high-risk areas and how this can in turn affect business operations. Public Policy For Conflict-Sensitive Business identifies a range of concrete actions that Governments and international organisations can undertake to better assist private-sector efforts to promote effective conflict-sensitive business practices.

wcms_116629Other publications and initiatives that can be of interest include the Voluntary Principles on Seucirty and Human Rights, which are guidelines specifically designed for the extractive sector companies. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has a publication Business and Decent Work in Conflict Zones: A Why and How Guide, offering practical tips for companies of all sizes looking to build a more peaceful and productive environment within the company itself and in the surrounding context, and thus play an important role in peace building.

resource_preview_691A series of webinars on the topic are also available to use in the classroom. Human Rights and Business Dilemmas Forum: Doing Business in Conflict-Affected Countries addresses how businesses can operate responsibly in conflict-affected or fragile countries and weak governance zones to ensure that operations contribute to peacebuilding, and provides some best practice examples. Also, Business Action in Support of the Rule of Law – An Example in Mynamar explores what the rule of law means for business, as well as the rationale for private sector engagement in these issues. A short summary of the Business for Peace platform is also available through this 22 minute podcast.

idp-logoEvery year the Oslo Business for Peace Awards are given to individual corporate leaders who foster peace and stability by creating shared value between business and society. The global nomination process is conducted in partnership with B4P, and individuals are nominated through Local Global Compact Networks, with which schools can connect. This year, following the occasion of International Day of Peace on the 21st of September 2014, the Global Compact hosted its inaugural Annual Business for Peace Event, in cooperation with participating Local Networks in Istanbul, Turkey, at which academics and researchers were well-represented.  Following this event, PRME officially launched its PRME-B4P Workstream, composed of academics from five countries, supporting diverse projects with the aim to provide tools for incorporating business for peace into management education, and encourage the sustained widespread integration of contributions to peace into company operations and strategy. The next Annual B4P Event will be held in 7 May 2015 in Oslo, Norway.




Ten Ways to Bring Anti-Corruption Discussions into the Classroom

banner_img2According to the UN Global Compact, “corruption is recognised to be one of the word’s greatest challenges.” In the private sector corruption impedes economic growth, distorts competition, and presents serious legal and reputational risks. It is also a challenge that students will be faced with in the workforce post–graduation, so it is important that they not only understand the topic, but are able to recognise it, and explore ways to prevent, diminish or remove, its negative effects. There are countless ways to bring this far-reaching topic into the classroom. Here are ten.

  1. Use online platforms: The internet is home to a growing number of websites that allow students to explore the topic in different ways. For example to or Ask students to start a blog, or contribute to a class or school blog, focused on current corruption issues, policies and solutions.
  1. Conduct a survey: Ask students to conduct field research on a particular topic, such as young peoples’ perceptions of corruption, or HR directors experience with or perceptions on anti-corruption training. Students can then analyse and present the data collected.
  1. Use mini cases and dilemmas: Several sites provide short case studies and dilemmas that can be presented to students to discuss and debate. The PRME Anti-Corruption Toolkit has a series of mini cases throughout, as does Giving Voice to Values.
  1. Explore real cases: Involve students in exploring small cases of corruption that they have experienced in the workplace, either as group discussions or through individual reflection papers. Engage alumni as well to come back into the classroom to share their experiences.
  1. Research projects: Engage students in a variety of research projects to explore the topic in more detail. This could be designing a law or company policy regarding corruption and/or whistleblowing, or taking a look at current guidelines and principles on the subject, in particular in their country. The UN Global Compact Anti-Corruption Tools Inventory has a wide range of anti-corruption resources that can be used.
  1. Company specific: Explore as a class how different companies approach corruption and bribery specifically. What is the company policy? How does it work in practice? What would you as an employee do if you encountered an incident? Have students look at the companies they are hoping to work for post graduation and even look into having students visit the companies to see these policies in action first hand.
  1. Organise an event: This could be a debate where students explore questions such whistleblowing or what exactly constitutes a bribe. This could also be part of a larger event which brings together individuals and organisations working in the field of anti-corruption. The 9th of December is the International Anti-Corruption Day aimed at raising awareness of corruption and the how to combat and prevent it.
  1. Bring in Guest Speakers: Connect with individuals working on anti-corruption in local, national, and international businesses and invite them into the classroom to share lessons and present current or past cases they have handled and how they were approached.
  1. Dilemma Scenarios: Jointly produced by the UN Global Compact and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime,, is a series of six interactive learning modules to further students’ understanding of corruption and the UN Convention against Corruption as it applies to the private sector. Each short interactive video lasts 5 minutes and provides real situations that employees are likely to find themselves in as well as questions along the way to help that employee make the right decisions.
  1. Look at your school’s polices: Take a look with students at how your school approaches the topic of corruption. What kinds of policies are in place? Is there training for employees? What could be done to strengthen the policies and raise awareness about this?

For more take a look at the PRME Anti-Corruption Toolkit which provides guidance for incorporating the topic of anti-corruption into the business school’s curriculum. Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Business Contributions to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals – Issue Briefs (part 2 of 2)

Post 2015Over more than a decade, the international community has been working on reaching targets set forth by the Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight goals which focused global attention on a limited set of concrete human development goals and provided targets for national and international development priorities. As these targets are set to expire in 2015, the international community, including the private sector and Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are currently discussing what will comprise the new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) post-2015.

Based on extensive consultations with the UN Global Compact network of companies around the world, a series of ten issue briefs have been developed to explore the critical role business has to play in achieving sustainable development goals, and the willingness of the business community and HEIs, to support the efforts of government and civil society in this work. These briefs provide suggestions of issues and accountability mechanisms to be included in the SDGs, and outline business’ role in helping to achieve these goals. These papers were presented to the co-chairs of the inter-governmental Open Working Group on SDG.

Here, in Part 2 of the blogpost, is an introduction to the issues of infrastructure & technology, peace & stability, poverty, water & sanitation and women’s empowerment. For more detailed information click on the links below to access the full issue brief. (See Part 1 for energy & climate, education, food & agriculture, governance & human rights, and health)

Infrastructure and Technology: Technology is the beating heart of economic transformation, and good infrastructure protects the environment while providing the leverage people need to lift themselves out of poverty. This includes deploying investment sufficient to meet requirements for “green” transport, energy, and water systems in the developing world and upgrading and replacing old infrastructure in the developed world, increasing the share of the population with access to public transportation, stepping up R&D in both public and private sectors and reducing carbon emissions from the construction and operation of buildings. Equally important, is creating universal and affordable access to the internet and computing technology, and effective use of e-governance to increase managerial capacity and transparency. Businesses are engaging in these issues in a variety of ways, including through the Green Growth Action Alliance launched by the World Economic Forum.

Peace and Stability: Businesses consider peace and security to be crucial to sustainable development, and an area where their own interests give them reason to complement the responsibility of public institutions to build and maintain peaceful situations. This includes improving access to justice, services and economic opportunity for diverse ethnic, religious and social groups; improving mediation, dispute resolution and dialogue mechanisms to prevent and resolve conflict and to build peace; and reducing violent deaths, preventing and reducing the illicit trade of small arms, and reducing the reach and extent of organised crime—especially through the provisions of the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. Violent crimes are bad for business, and companies are looking at the means they have at their disposal to defuse social conflicts before they get out of hand or, in post-conflict situations, help to weave a strong social fabric leading to shared prosperity and stability. Businesses are engaging in these issues through platforms such as the UN Global Compact’s Business For Peace.

Poverty: The eradication of poverty is widely expected to be the overarching objective of the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes eliminating extreme poverty (those living under $1.25/day in 2005 real US dollars), creating jobs , eliminating child labour, ensuring full access to private finance and reducing the Gini co-efficient rating, a measurement of income inequality, in each country. Recognising the drawbacks that even moderate poverty poses to societies and economies, a growing number of companies are adopting new policies and practices that are inclusive of the poor as employees, customers, suppliers, and neighbours. This includes work being done through the Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Poverty Footprint Methodology.

Water and Sanitation: Water and sanitation are key given their cross-cutting nature in relation to sustainable development priorities—including energy, food, and women’s and girl’s empowerment. This includes universal access to affordable and safe fresh water, and basic and improved sanitation facilities to bring freshwater use in line with supply, and ensure establishment and full implementation of national water effluent standards. A growing number of companies are adopting new policies and practices to reduce their corporate water use, improve the quality of water returned to the environment, and to provide decent water, sanitation and hygiene services for employees, and the communities in which they operate. Further efforts include the UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate and the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Action Hub.

Women’s Empowerment: A key target for the sustainable development priorities will be to achieve women’s and girl’s empowerment. This includes increasing the proportion of leadership positions held by women in public and private sectors, universally recognising and enforcing equal pay for equal work, increasing full and equal access of women to ownership, property rights and land titles, and reducing the rates of violent acts committed against women and girls. In addition to gender equality being a fundamental and inviolable human right, women’s and girls’ empowerment is essential to expanding economic growth, promoting social development, and enhancing business performance. The full incorporation of women’s capacities into labour forces would add percentage points to most national growth rates. Business is engaging through the Women’ Empowerment Principles among a range of efforts, to further this goal.

For more details about the business sectors contribution to the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals visit the UN Global Compact site and stay tuned for future Primetime Posts on the topic.

From now through July 2014, the Online Consultation for the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda on Engaging with the Private Sector is being held on the World We Want platform, hosted by the UN Global Compact and UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). You can contribute to the dialogue at


What happened at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013

UN Global CompactThe UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013: Architects of a Better World took place on 19-20 September in New York. The event brought together representatives from the business community to set the stage for business to shape and advance the post-2015 development agenda and put forward a framework for business to contribute to global priorities, such as climate change, water, food, women’s empowerment, children’s rights, decent jobs, and education, at unprecedented levels. The Global Compact comprises 8,000 companies and 4,000 civil society organisations from 145 countries.

Several major projects and documents were released during the summit. One of the most anticipated ones was the New Global Architecture for Corporate Sustainability designed to “drive and scale up corporate actions to directly advance United Nations goals,” according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It provides an overview of plans to link business engagement with global priorities, in particular around the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and expected Sustainable Development Goals (details to be unveiled by the Secretary General this week). Further, the architecture has already been endorsed by both the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

In addition to the existing UN Global Compact programmes, three new programmes were launched on education, agriculture, and peace. Additionally, a new Business Partnership Hub will provide a space online for the business community to post projects around the UN Global Compact’s different themes. Further, the summit officially launched the PRME Champions leadership group (more details to follow in an upcoming blog post).

The summit also saw the launch of several major reports. The Global Corporate Sustainability Report 2013 looks at the state of corporate sustainability today – providing an in-depth review of the actions taken by companies around the world to embed responsible practices into their strategies, operations and culture. The report is based on the results form a survey with nearly 2,000 companies across 113 countries.  The Report shows that companies are doing a good job at making commitments, defining goals and setting policies but still have a lot of work to do on putting these into practice. Larger companies are more likely to put these strategies into action than smaller companies however small companies are increasingly taking steps to catch up with their larger peers. Sustainability in the supply chain is not just one of the key actions in sustainability within companies but also one of the biggest roadblocks because tracking compliance is a challenge.

UN Global Compact – Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability 2013: Architects of a Better World surveyed 1,000 CEOs and includes in depth interviews with 75 of them.   The report says that more than two thirds of chief executives – 67% – believe that business is not doing enough to address global sustainability challenges. Seventy eight percent see sustainability as a route to growth and innovation and 79% believe that it will lead to competitive advantage in their industry. Respondents also site lack of financial resources, a failure to make the link between sustainability and business value as challenges. CEOs are demanding greater collaboration between business, governments and policymakers as well as increased regulations, standards, subsidies and incentives to support their sustainability efforts.

Global Compact 100 is a stock index of companies committed to the UNGC’s ten principles which tracked the stock market performance of GC companies during the past three years, comparing the results against a broad market benchmark, the FTSE All World. Released in partnership with research firm Sustainanalytics, the index shows a total investment return of 26.4% during the past year, surpassing the general global stock market (22.1%). “While the performance of the GC 100 should not be seen as clear evidence of a causal relationship between a commitment to corporate sustainability practices and stock performance, there appears to be an exciting correlation,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director the UN Global Compact. “Moreover, the results may also reflect the fact that sustainability performance is a factor that is receiving increasing interest from investors.”

Corporate Sustainability and the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda, based on consultations and surveys with thousands of businesses in all major regions, contains business perspectives and recommendations in three areas: determining the core of a post 2015 agenda, including suggested sustainable development goals and targets; how to engage business and investors towards sustainable development goals; and recommending ways that Governments can advance inclusive and sustainable markets. The proposed goals are: 1) End poverty and increase prosperity via inclusive economic growth; 2) Quality education for all; 3) Achieve women’s and girls’ empowerment; 4) Universal health coverage; 5) Good nutrition for all through sustainable food and agricultural systems; 6) Water and sanitation for all; 7) Sustainable energy for all; 8) Build peaceful and stable societies; 9) Modernize infrastructure and technology; and 10) Good governance and realization of human rights.

The Africa Sustainability Barometer was also launched, covering more than 1,000 international companies with operations in the region, as well as local and regional companies. It gauges the state of corporate sustainability reporting and is a joint initiative between the UNGC and the Financial Times.

The Smartest Investment:  A framework for Business engagement in education  was launched at the event as a joint initiative between UNESCO, UNICEF, UNGC, and the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. The report makes that case that education is not only good for society but also good for business and charts the means to realize business benefits while advancing education goals.

Sustainable Agriculture Business Principles, launched in collaboration with key civil society organizations, the Principles were developed in response to the need for a common understanding between existing standards and industry initiatives. The Principles will provide a framework for furthering good practice and for developing effective private and public sector policies and partnerships.

For more news about the event visit the UN Global Compact website.

Management Education and Rio+20 (Part 2)

This June will see representatives from governments, the UN, major groups, business and a range of international organisations come together in Rio e Janeiro, Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The management education and business communities will be playing an active part in this historic event. In preparation for this summit, here are 10 things you need to know (read part 1 here):

6. The 3rd Global Forum for Responsible Management Education is the official platform for management-related Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) at both the Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum and Rio+20. On 14-15 June, 2012 in Rio, the Global Forum will focus on the role of management education in society for the future we want and how the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) can facilitate individual and systemic change within higher education as the community mobilises action toward achieving the Rio+20 vision on sustainable development. The event will be highly interactive, with an ultimate goal for participants to agree on concrete actions items and next steps. The formal outcomes of the Global forum will also inform the proceedings and outcomes of the Rio+20 Summit.

7. On the occasion of the Rio+20, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative calls upon the leaders of the international academic community to sign a declaration of commitment to teach sustainable development concepts, encourage research on sustainable development issues, green their campuses, support sustainability efforts, engage with and share results through international frameworks, and engage with and share results through international frameworks. Heads of HEIs are invited to sign the declaration and submit it online.

8. There are a range of other management education-related projects feeding into the Global Forum. The Inspirational Guide for the Implementation of PRME will also be presented at the Global Forum. Through a range of case studies from schools around the world, the Guide responds to the most frequently asked questions concerning the implementation of the Principles of PRME with the further intention to help current and future signatories make progress on these issues beyond the events of Rio+20. Also, the PRME Working Groups on Anti-Corruption, Gender Equality and Poverty will present progress on their ongoing work.

9. 50+20: Management Education for the World is collaborative initiative between PRME, the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) and the World Business School Council for Sustainable Business that seeks to find new ways and opportunities for management and business education to transform and reinvent itself. The report will launch officially at Rio+20 during the Global Forum.

10. Another project that will contribute to the proceedings of the Global Forum is the research report by Ashridge Business School, International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) and PRME about the changing role of business leaders. Released on 29 March, the report ‘Leadership in a Rapidly Changing World: How Business Leaders are Reframing Success’ shows how an increasingly number of business leaders are connecting company success with social progress, and paying attention to social and environmental issues that have conventionally been the territory of political leaders and NGO activists.

Management Education and Rio + 20 (Part 1)

This June will see representatives from governments, the UN, major groups, business and a range of international organisations come together in Rio e Janeiro, Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, better known as the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The management education and business communities will be playing an active part in this historic event. In preparation for this summit, here are 10 things you need to know.

1. The first Earth Summit, the Conference on Environment and Development, took place in Brazil in 1992. The 10th anniversary World Summit on Sustainable Development, took place in 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 20th anniversary Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio+20 will take place June 20-22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is envisaged as a conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government, and will result in a focused political document.

2. The aim of Rio+20 is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.  The conference will focus on two main themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development. For more information about the summit and why it is being convened, read the Rio+20 Brochure-The Future We Want.

3. The Rio+20 conference will address seven critical issues: jobs (trade, green jobs and social inclusion), energy, cities, food, water, oceans, and disasters. To learn more about these critical issues and other themes, you can read the issue briefs prepared for the event.

4. At the first Earth Summit in 1992, there was a realization that sustainable development could not become a reality without the active participation of stakeholders. Agenda 21 formalized nine groups that include Business and Industry, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Local Authorities, NGOs, Scientific and Technological Community, Women and Workers and Trade Unions. Each has been contributing to the process, and their position papers can be accessed online.

5. The private sector plays a crucial role in moving sustainable development forward. Over 2,000 participants from business are expected to attend the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation and Collaboration for the Future We Want, which will take place on 15-18 June 2012 in Rio. This event will inform the proceedings and outcomes of the Rio+20 high-level meetings. For more information on the business contribution, read their input to the preparatory process, Corporate Sustainability Leadership: A Framework for Action at Rio+20 and Beyond.

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