10 April 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York



Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the Global Compact launch in the Russian Federation, delivered in Moscow, 10 April:

It is a pleasure for me to visit Moscow and to help launch the Global Compact network in the Russian Federation.

Let me thank our local partners, especially the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, for helping make this event possible.  The presence of so many leaders of the Russian business community augurs well for the future of the Global Compact in your country.

With today’s launch, Russia’s private sector joins thousands of businesses in more than 120 countries that embrace the Global Compact’s vision of a more inclusive global economy.

This vision challenges business leaders around the world to promote and implement 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.  It promises significant benefits for Russian industry.  It can help manage risks, boost productivity, increase operational efficiency and build trust and confidence in Russian companies -- at home and abroad.  It can help improve corporate governance and workplace relations.  And its emphasis on sound business practices can promote stronger, better and more sustainable brands -- an indispensable component of success in the global economy.

Today’s financial markets increasingly recognize and reward good social and environmental performance.  Financial analysts and investors concur that companies which minimize risks and seek out new opportunities represent better long-term value.

Similarly, a new global consumer has emerged.  This buyer seeks information about the environmental and social footprint of products and services before making his or her decisions.

These developments demonstrate that, more than ever before, doing good and doing well are mutually reinforcing.  They require a new approach to the way we do business -- one based on transparency, openness and a willingness to address the expectations and concerns of a wide range of constituencies.

By joining the Global Compact, you have signalled your readiness to embrace this path to success.  I am confident it will serve you well in the months and years to come.

At the same time, the Global Compact provides a universal platform for addressing some of the broader problems confronting our world.  No single Government or entity can by itself address global challenges like armed conflict, persistent poverty, the growing water crisis, the rise of HIV/AIDS.  Instead, these issues require a combined effort at all levels and by all sectors of global society.

That is why your participation is so important.  I encourage all of you to get involved in Global Compact initiatives like the Caring for Climate programme and the CEO Water Mandate.  Your contributions can help us make a real difference on the most fundamental issues confronting our age.

By launching the Russian Global Compact Network, you have sent a powerful signal that the bottom line can no longer be separated from key goals of global citizenship: peace, development and equity.  And you have demonstrated that Russia’s businesses are ready and eager to claim their place in the international economy.

I thank you for this commitment and wish you all a most successful meeting.

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For information media • not an official record