Business for Development

The UN Global Compact asks companies to:

1. Internalize the ten principles in their business strategy and operations, and
2. Take action and engage in partnerships to advance the broader UN goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Global Compact is both a framework for companies to align internal operations and strategies with the universal principles, and a platform for companies to engage in high-impact and effective partnerships to promote development goals. Together, these two complementary objectives constitute the comprehensive model of corporate citizenship promoted by the Global Compact.

According to the “Global Compact Implementation Survey” – presented in the first Annual Review of the Global Compact – the majority of Global Compact participants engage in partnerships. 75% of respondents say that they have engaged in various types of partnerships with their stakeholders – non-governmental organizations, the UN system or governments – to promote development objectives.

What are partnerships for development?

The basic concept of partnerships is simple and straightforward – to identify common ground between the private and the public sectors and to combine the skills and expertise of the private sector with the public sector’s legitimacy and knowledge of development issues. Partnerships focus on the many areas where private actors and public institutions can engage in win-win relationships, such as poverty reduction, health, education and community development. Effective cross-sectoral partnerships can make it possible to overcome challenges that are too difficult or complex for one organization or sector to address alone. Collaboration can enable companies and organizations to better achieve their own individual objectives through leveraging, combining and capitalizing on complementary strengths and capabilities.

The Business Case for Partnering

Companies are increasingly finding that advancing broader societal objectives is a necessary step to ensure the growth and stability of their own business operations. In many countries, a company’s deep commitment in areas such as infrastructure development, local capacity-building, education, health, job creation, disaster relief and more can serve as far more than philanthropy.

Companies partner with their stakeholder to:

  • Improve risk management
  • Increase operational efficiencies
  • Gain access to the knowledge and expertise
  • Improve understanding of challenging issues and sustainable solutions
  • Improve stakeholder relations
  • Better understand the nature of business operations
  • Increase the efficiency and capacity of the company’s supply-chain
  • Improve license to operate
  • Contribute to build the markets of tomorrow

For more information on partnering with the United Nations and the role of the Global Compact, please click here.

Sustainable Development

Long-term poverty reduction in developing countries cannot happen without sustained economic growth, which requires a strong business sector. While it is the responsibility of governments to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth, business actors – through investment, partnerships, trade, and other engagement – create the employment, the markets and the value-added goods and services that allow developing countries to benefit from economic globalization. Although there is growing debate on what the boundaries of business should be in tackling these challenges, there is no doubt that the private sector plays an important role.

How can companies contribute to development?
1. Through a company’s core business activities
2. Through social investment and philanthropy
3. Through public policy dialogue and advocacy activities

For more information about the role of business in sustainable development click here.

Partnership Assessement Tool

Four UN organizations – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Insitute for Training and Research (UNITAR), United Nations Office for Partnerships and theGlobal Compact Office – have joined forces to develop a simple tool to improve the impact and sustainability of UN-Business partnerships. The result of this process is the Partnership Assessment Tool (PAT) – a simple interactive tool, which presents a way to foster consistently high-quality and effective partnerships between the UN and companies, and has been designed to better identify and define in concrete ways the factors of partnership projects that affect the impact and sustainability of projects.The tool leads the user through a simple step-by-step questionnaire assessing the expected value of a partnership and identifies ways to improve future partnership activities. It can be used to assess preparedness, to identify opportunities for early adjustment, and to position for successful project implementation.

For more information about the tool and the project, download the publication “Enhancing Partnership Value: The Partnership Assessment Tool” and visit the Global Compact website here. You can also find To order a copy of the tool, please contact globalcompact@un.org.

Guidance Materials

The Global Compact provides various guidance materials and publications which can be foundhere. Also, to find how business can contribute to sustainable development through partnerships, please read the relevant information here.

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