25 June 2007

Price of Peace - Campaigning for the UN

Although peace is not an obvious topic for "business4good", peace is probably the most valuable public good. Ever since I read that the US is spending 20 (!) times the money on its military than on Official Development Assistance, I thought "can't we use this money in a better way?". No doubt, we need some 'hard' power in the form of military for defense but everything in moderation and well balanced please.

Therefore, I like the "Prize of Peace" Campaign. Although US focussed, it shows that peace is not just the right thing for humanity but also make economical sense. UN peacekeeping is 8 times cheaper than US military forces (see their video for more snappy facts). Peace is not just cheaper than war but furthermore UN peacekeeping efforts and 'soft' peacemaking efforts are much more effective than 'hard' military power.

We can debate endlessly about the flaws of the UN but we have any better organization? No, so let's get together and make the UN works - for a better world. What's your opinion?

19 June 2007

Yunus Video on G8 and Development

Watch this interesting video where Yunus (Peace Nobel Prize 2006) answers questions about what the G8 and development should focus on. He talks about poverty, climate change, world peace and globalization etc.

I think he has a very inspiring view on how to develop capitalism and 'social business':
"Business is defined as a business to make money. That's the only kind of business today we know within the framework of capitalism. That kind of undermines human being. Human being is much bigger than that. Human being is not an entity which spends his or her lifetime making money."

Brought to you by Dropping Knowledge

12 June 2007

UN Opportunity: Become a Global Compact Online Volunteer

Get involved in the United Nations’ CSR Project

Do you want to learn about how companies implement the principles of the largest Corporate Citizenship initiative in the world? The UN Global Compact offers you a special “externship” volunteer opportunity: With little time and from home you can help the UN, learn about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and receive valuable benefits.

What is the UN Global Compact?
  • The world's largest corporate citizenship initiative aiming for a more sustainable and inclusive world economy
  • Supported by over 4000 participants in over 100 countries
  • Includes many of the worlds most influential companies, such as Coca Cola, ebay and Microsoft
What is the Project?
Companies from all over the world report their progress on implementing the 10 Global Compact principles. Presently, there are over 2000 so-called “Communication on Progress” (COP) reports. We need your support to review and tag these COPs in order to build a fully searchable database. Each review takes approximately 30 minutes.

What are your Benefits in Participating?
  • Gain valuable learning and resume-building experience in the field of CSR
  • Find out what companies around the world are doing for sustainable development
  • Receive a Certificate of Participation after completing 10 COP reviews
  • Get a personal Letter of Appreciation by reviewing more than 50 COPs!
Participate now at: www.unglobalcompact.org/COP/Wiki

For any questions please contact me here or at nagler@un.org.
Thank you for participating!

Juergen Nagler
Coordinator COP Review Project
UN Global Compact Office
United Nations
email: nagler@un.org

The Achievements of the UN Global Compact

For my Global Politics Masters course I wrote this paper:

The United Nations Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate citizenship initiative and started as an experiment when Kofi Annan challenged business leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1999. After decades of suspicion between the UN and the private sector this marked a historic change in the UN’s attitude towards business. In the face of globalization challenges, world poverty and inequalities, the Secretary-General called for a global compact between the private sector, civil society, governments and the UN to give globalization a human face. High expectations were raised and this essay will answer the question of what the Global Compact’s achievements have been so far.

At first, the Global Compact is introduced by exploring the attitude change of the UN with respect to the private sector away from hostility towards a compact, followed by describing its multiple stakeholders as well as the Global Compact’s ten principles which form the core of the initiative to foster more responsible business practices. After this brief introduction, I will argue in favour for four achievements of the Global Compact and compare them to various different expectations:
  1. The Global Compact contributed to the attitude change of the UN towards the private sector and became a central position between these two actors.
  2. The governance structure of the Global Compact accommodates differing stakeholders’ views that seemed to be incompatible, and with its pragmatic and unbureaucratic approach is an innovation within the UN as well as compared to other international institutions.
  3. The Global Compact developed itself from a small scale experiment into a global network of networks fostering learning and dialogue among over 4000 participants with continued strong participant growth.
  4. The initiative has had a positive impact on corporate policies and therefore contributed to more responsible business practices as well as to more public accountability of corporations.
Despite many very welcoming comments about the establishment of the Global Compact, there were also strong critics of the initiative whose critiques will be used as reference points to put the achievements of the Global Compact in perspective. It will be shown that a lot has been achieved, yet in comparison to the persistent globalization challenges much more remains to be done. Therefore, the achievements provide a solid foundation for a compact greater in reach as well as impact in the future.

Read the full PDF paper.

09 June 2007

Yunus: Change the Way the World does Business

No need to say how much I admire Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. In this great article he explains his few on leveraging globalization and social business to make a difference in the world and to alleviate poverty.

Globalization: "I support globalization and believe it can bring more benefits to the poor than any alternative. But it must be the right kind of globalization. To me, globalization is like a 100-lane highway criss-crossing the world. If it is a free-for-all highway, its lanes will be taken over by the giant trucks from powerful economies - Bangladeshi rickshaws will be thrown off the highway.

In order to have a win-win globalization, we must have traffic rules, traffic police, and a traffic authority for this global highway. The rule of 'strongest takes it all' must be replaced by rules that ensure that the poorest have a place and piece of the action, without being elbowed out by the strong."

Social Business: "Will be a new kind of business introduced in the market place with the objective of making a difference to the world. Investors in a social business could get back their investment money, but will not take any dividend from the company. Profit would be ploughed back into the company to expand its outreach and improve the quality of its product or service. A social business will be a non-loss, non-dividend company."

Read the inspiring SPIEGEL ONLINE article.