The United Nations Global Compact is the largest strategic corporate citizenship initiative in the world.
The Compact originates from the desire to promote a sustainable global economy: respect for human and labour rights, safeguarding the environment and the fight against corruption. It was proposed for the first time in 1999 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, by the former Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan, who, on that occasion, invited the leaders of the global economy attending the meeting to sign a “Global Compact” alongside the United Nations in order to tackle the most critical aspects of globalisation in a collaborative manner. Never before had the desire to align the objectives of the international community with those of the private interests of the business world been declared so clearly.
Thus, from July 2000, the United Nations Global Compact was operationally launched by the United Nations New York Headquarters. Since then over 18,000 businesses originating from over 157 countries throughout the world have participated, giving life to a new reality of global collaboration.
The Global Compact encourages businesses from around the world to create an economic, social and environmental framework aimed at promoting a healthy and sustainable global economy that guarantees everyone the opportunity to share the benefits.
It requires participating businesses and organisations to share, support and apply a set of fundamental principles relating to human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and the fight against corruption within their sphere of influence.
Hitachi Rail STS has been a part of the initiative since 2011, through a declaration and letter of commitment, presented directly to the Secretary-General of the United Nations at that time, Ban Ki-moon, to uphold the principles of the Global Compact within its sphere of influence. ‘We are committed to making the Global Compact and its principles a part of the strategy, culture and daily operation of our business and in collaborative projects’ for the development of the broadest United Nations objectives.
These are universally shared principles as they are derived from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Declaration, the Rio Declaration and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption
Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
the effective abolition of child labour;
the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility;
encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
The Global Compact Network Italy Foundation
GCNI Foundation – http://www.globalcompactnetwork.org/en/) is the most concrete expression of the support and development of the principles of the Global Compact in Italy. The foundation was launched with the participation of Italian companies operating in various business sectors (18 promoters of which 5 non-profit), with the primary purpose of promoting a culture of corporate citizenship fostered and managed by the United Nations on a global scale.
Hitachi Rail STS has been a founding member and sponsor since June 2013: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/what-is-gc/participants/13383-Ansaldo-STS-SpA. To date, there are over 50 Italian businesses participating (including non-profit).
The mission of the GCNI Foundation consists of 7 points. In accordance with the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact (UNGC), the Foundation aims to:
- be recognised as an institutional reference point that allows companies engaged in sustainability in a multi-stakeholder perspective to be heard
- raise awareness and the level of national involvement
- help make sustainability the main lever of change in pursuit of a future that is more efficient, more equitable and safer in the management of resources
- be characterised as a subject oriented towards the development of operational solutions and the creation of shared economic, social and environmental values
- encourage partnerships, collective actions and dialogue among all actors in the promotion of sustainability
- promote accountability, fairness and transparency in communication and corporate reporting
- endorse the contribution of Italian companies and synergies at international level
The Global Compact Network Italy Foundation work programme is divided into three types of activities, which can be of:
- promotion, with reference to the initiatives aimed to disseminate the Global Compact, the Ten Principles and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs. This type of activities also includes the presentation initiatives of the Italian Network and sharing of the Global Compact experience in Italy in new international and European contexts.
- knowledge, with reference to sustainability themes and associated fields within the general Global Compact framework. These activities are mainly aimed at knowledge sharing and a continuous update on issues (through conferences, workshops, seminars, etc.) and are an important opportunity for exchanging experiences among participating organisations. When planning these initiatives, the Network aims to stimulate the involvement of representatives from the international policy community and organisations focused on the issues, with the aim of ensuring an effective enrichment in terms of wealth of theoretical and practical knowledge.
- support, which means actions of assistance and support to businesses and organisations participating in the Network in the implementation of the Global Compact Ten Principles and SDGs both in the core business and in their sphere of influence, and when reporting their sustainability performances.