The United Nations Global Compact –
Retrospect and Prospect
Guest Editors: Andreas Rasche, Malcolm McIntosh, Sandra Waddock
The United Nations Global Compact now has nearly 7,000 business and non-business participants, and has in its first ten years of life become the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative. Established by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000, the initiative will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2010. As a central actor on the world stage of corporate responsibility and citizenship, the Global Compact has played a central role in raising the aspirations of companies, NGOs, and other actors around the implementation of its ten principles, in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment, and anti-corruption (for details about the UN Global Compact and its principles, see www.unglobalcompact.org). Indeed, some have argued that the Global Compact has put corporate responsibility issues, particularly those related to the principles, onto the agenda of many companies.
Although global in reach and intent (with over half of all participants coming from developing economies), the Global Compact also established a strong presence in local economies through its local networks and regional clusters. Driven by constant innovation and improvement (e.g. the addition of the tenth principle in 2004 and the introduction of the Communication on Progress policy in 2003), and a sense of learning about how to build a better world through enterprise, the Global Compact has undergone a variety of changes over its existence. It is now poised to potentially help its signatories effect significant positive change in the future. Although the initiative has attracted the interest of many businesses and civil society organizations, it also faces a lot of critique, mostly focusing on the absence of any clear compliance standards and the fact that many companies appear to sign the Compact without making significant changes in their strategies or practice.
To explore the possibilities, potentials, and gaps that exist in the Global Compact, this Special Issue invites interested researchers to: (a) critically assess the last ten years of the Global Compact and identify both its achievements and the gaps that currently exist and (b) to reflect on the future of the initiative by discussing remaining challenges and exploring future paths of development. We call for papers that deal with all aspects and dynamics of the Global Compact, ranging from comparative case studies, qualitative and quantitative work assessing the Compact’s performance to date, as well as thoughtful essays about the Compact and its past, present, or future. We are interested in both conceptual and empirical studies that draw on a variety of theoretical perspectives (e.g. institutional theory, social movement theory, network theory), and in quantitative as well as qualitative methodological approaches that can flesh out our understanding of the Compact, particularly efforts to assess the Compact’s second ten years in light of the achievements and problems of the first ten years.
Possible topics for contributions include, but are not limited to, the following issues:
• Analyses of existing achievements and remaining challenges with regard to the implementation of the ten Global Compact principles, and the Compact’s other initiatives, partnerships, and alliances.
• The relation of the Global Compact to other existing and emerging corporate responsibility initiatives (e.g., the Global Reporting Initiative, Social Accountability 8000, and ISO 26000).
• The Global Compact’s Communication on Progress (COP) policy and integrity measures.
• The development of the Global Compact as a network-based corporate responsibility initiative combining global issues with local concerns.
• The Global Compact’s role and relationship to global governance.
• The development of local networks throughout the world and the contribution of these networks to implementing the ten principles.
• The role and impact of specialized stakeholders (e.g., academia, unions, NGOs) in the development of the Global Compact.
• The development and impact of Global Compact issue platforms such as the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), the Caring for Climate leadership initiative and the CEO Water Mandate.
• The role of the Global Compact as a “norm entrepreneur” in a world of diffuse power and great instability where social networks are increasingly supplementing international negotiating regimes.
The format of the papers must follow Business & Society contribution guidelines. Business & Society uses the American Psychological association citation and reference system (please see any recent copy of the journal for a sample):
Papers should include a 100-150 word abstract followed by 3 to 5 key-words. The paper itself should contain no indications of authorship. A title page containing full author contact information should be sent as a separate document to the coeditors. The citations and references should be APA compliant (see BAS guidelines). Questions about the Special Issue should be addressed to guest editor Andreas Rasche (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Dates and Timetable
The tentative timetable for the special issue is as follows:
• April 1, 2010 Paper submitted electronically to coeditors
• August 1, 2010 authors invited to resubmit revised papers
• October 30, 2010 Revised papers due (incorporating editors’ and external reviewers’ comments)
• January 30, 2011 authors notified if paper selected for special issue
• March 31, 2011 Delivery of full set of papers and guest editors’ introductory paper