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United Nations Launches Global Compact LEAD Program March 9, 2011

It is easy to mouth the words “sustainable development”, but to make it happen we have to be prepared to make major changes — in our lifestyles, our economic models, our social organization, and our political life.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

On January 28, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Global Compact LEAD program. This group of 54 companies is making a commitment to adopt ambitious sustainability roadmaps and demonstrate leadership in tackling global challenges. Global Compact LEAD is a platform created to increase environmental, social and governance performance, and set new corporate sustainability benchmarks.

Participating companies include Coca-Cola, Accenture, Intel, Daimler, Heineken, Nestle, and Siemens. Click here to view a full list of global participants. The companies have committed to implementing the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership. Created in 2010, this is a roadmap that outlines roughly 50 concrete actions that businesses can take to achieve greater sustainability.

The blueprint offers an action plan in three core areas: integrating the Global Compact ten principles into strategies and operations, taking action in support of broader UN goals and issues, and engaging with the Global Compact. The blueprint identifies best practices in each of these dimensions, and can be viewed in six different languages.

The LEAD initiative also includes collaboration among local networks in more than 90 countries. Participants will work actively with UN agencies, funds and programs. According to the UN website, the first two years of Global Compact LEAD (2011-2012) will be considered a pilot phase and allows for LEAD members to shape and refine the platform’s services and programs.

The 54 companies were invited to join the program based on a history of engagement with the UN Global Compact, either locally or globally. Since its creation in 2000, Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate responsibility initiative and commits business to align their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

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