06 July 2007

Closing remarks at United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit

Ban Ki-moon


Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

It is my privilege to bring this remarkable Global Compact Leaders Summit to a close.

Over these two days, it has been heartening to see such a prominent group of leaders from business, Government, civil society, labour, academia and the United Nations, display such a deep and broad commitment to the principles of the Global Compact.

I am encouraged by your willingness to share and openly discuss actions, experiences and challenges. Working together across sectors in this way to address the most pressing issues facing business and society is the hallmark of the Global Compact.

That is why this Summit has produced important results.

Through several groundbreaking reports, you have made it abundantly clear that market leadership and sustainability leadership go hand-in-hand. This will help us build the supportive measures needed to create more sustainable markets. And it will ultimately help improve the lives of many people around the world.

You have made commitments to engage subsidiaries and supply chains more actively, as well as to support the Local Networks of the Global Compact. This will provide a major boost for the initiative and for corporate citizenship more broadly.

You have launched global and local initiatives with concrete meaning. The “Caring for Climate” platform sets the stage for individual and collective actions on climate change, and sends a powerful message to businesses, Governments and consumers everywhere about the need for leadership and early action. The “Principles for Responsible Management Education” has the capacity to take the case for universal values and business into classrooms on every continent. The “CEO Water Mandate” will make a significant contribution to the subject of water sustainability. And the “Principles for Responsible Investment” is disseminating the tenets of corporate citizenship among capital markets, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme's Finance Initiative.

There are too many initiatives to mention by name, but each one of them is important. Together, they span all regions of the world.

The Summit has also given the Global Compact and its many partners an opportunity to introduce new tools and resources to help businesses integrate the 10 principles into their operations. In this way, we can demonstrate that voluntary does not mean unaccountable.

It has given Governments a chance to demonstrate how public policy can support corporate citizenship.

And it has given the United Nations as a whole an occasion to demonstrate that we are ready and eager to work with all actors in addressing the shared challenges of the 21st century.

Together, through the Geneva Declaration, we have deepened our collective commitment to embedding universal values in economies and markets. Yet as we all know, actions speak louder than words. So as we walk away from this historic Summit with plans to meet again in three years, let us each do our share to give practical meaning to the Declaration.

I call on business leaders to convene board meetings to share developments at the Summit, and ensure that the Global Compact is implemented more fully within their organizations and through their suppliers and partners.

I call on civil society and labour leaders to remain vigilant and engaged, and continue to hold businesses accountable for their commitments.

I call on Governments to sustain their support for the Global Compact, and to nurture the space that it fills as a unique public-private partnership initiative.

And I call on my colleagues in the United Nations family to integrate the Global Compact principles throughout the Organization. Through the Global Compact Office, we will continue to provide every support to advance the initiative.

Finally, let me thank the Global Compact Local Networks and the board of the Global Compact for their invaluable contributions. They will remain critical to the growth of the initiative over the next three years. I take this occasion to announce the appointment of new members -- Mr. Toshio Arima of Fuji Xerox, Mr. Anthony Ling of Goldman Sachs and Mr. Manfred Warda of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions.

Friends, together, we can achieve a new phase of globalization -- one that creates inclusive and sustainable markets, builds development and enhances international cooperation. We each have a responsibility in moving our agenda forward. Let us leave here today with renewed commitment.

I now declare the 2007 Global Compact Leaders Summit formally closed.