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UN Global Compact

The Global Compact is a UN initiative that presents ten general principles for CSR.

The ten principles in the UN Global Compact are a good foundation for businesses in their work with CSR and sustainability. The principles are based on internationally recognised conventions on human rights, worker rights, the environment and combating corruption.

Any business may draw inspiration from the ten principles, but businesses may also choose to accede to the UN Global Compact. 237 Danish organisations and businesses have already done so (May 2011).

Businesses which accede to the Global Compact undertake to make the ten principles part of their business activities and report to the Global Compact on their efforts. Reporting requirements depend on the size of the business.


The Global Compact principles target a broad range of organisations and businesses.

The ten principles

  1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
  2. Businesses should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses
  3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  4. Businesses should support the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour
  5. Businesses should support the effective abolition of child labour
  6. Businesses should eliminate discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
  7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  8. Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  9. Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies
  10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery

As can be seen above, these are general principles each business can adapt and translate into specific initiatives when incorporating CSR into their business strategy. Businesses may choose to focus their efforts on the principles that best match their core business.

A separate set of principles has been developed for investors – the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) which the United Nations support

Other guidelines

The UN principles have been broadly formulated and in no way prevent businesses from following other principles and standards, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, etc.

Global Compact website