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Commitments to Advance UN Goals and Objectives

To address the global issues identified on this website the UN calls on companies for commitments. These commitments should include actions and partnerships that advance UN progress on these global issues.

To promote higher quality and impact of these commitments, each must meet established criteria. Additionally, organisations must commit to transparency and report annually on progress made towards the goals outlined in the commitment.

By making a commitment to action, companies can demonstrate leadership in advancing sustainable development objectives. In turn, the Global Compact Office will seek to recognise and highlight commitments made – in publications, media materials, and through other communication channels and vehicles.

Types of Commitments

Commitments can take many forms, building on the unique strengths and capacities of each actor. For instance, businesses can change and innovate business models, provide critical goods and services, dedicate resources to social investment and philanthropy, and engage in advocacy and public policy dialogue. Some companies may begin and end in different places, but all concrete and substantive commitments can help make progress for sustainable development.

Some commitments to action will have a direct impact within a defined period of time on entire organisations or specific initiatives. Other commitments will involve partnerships or other activities that have valuable and lasting impact by contributing to an enabling environment. All of these commitments will have targets/goals against which their success can be measured.

All commitments are promises to take action, individually or collectively, including:

  • New projects or partnerships
  • Existing activities that are scaled up or accelerated
  • Adding partners to existing projects

Commitments that are closely tied to the core business, development plan or mission of a company are often more durable, sustainable and likely to drive real impact and change. Close consultation with other organisations can be an additional driver of impact. Further, commitments should relate to actions that go beyond legal requirements and respect for international standards and instead should focus on actions (whether in the area of core business, strategic social investment/philanthropy, public policy engagement or advocacy, partnerships or collective action) in support of UN goals/global issues. Actions in support of UN goals cannot substitute for a failure to respect international standards.

When making a commitment, businesses and others should consider all relevant stakeholders (e.g. women, children, indigenous peoples, peoples with disabilities). Any potential adverse impacts on identified stakeholders should be addressed. In addition, the participation and inclusion of all stakeholders should considered in order to maximize positive impact.

Commitment Criteria

All corporate commitments to action are expected to meet certain criteria:

  • Advance one or more UN Goals and Issues;
  • Include time-bound target(s) that can be measured for success; and
  • Include an agreement to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, progress made to realise the commitment, throughout its duration.

Promoting Integrity and Impact

During the implementation of the commitment, companies will be required to publicly disclose, on an annual basis, progress made towards realising the commitment. This will promote longer lasting impact and protect the integrity of the UN.

This disclosure may be part of another form of annual communication to stakeholders and must include updates on progress against the targets laid out in the commitment.

Next Steps

If a business is interested in making a commitment, it is important to develop a strategy, consult internally for buy-in, and define relevant actions and/or partnerships to create a bold commitment that is fully supported by the organisation.

Companies can submit their commitments now using the simple online form.

Submit your commitment now

Please email commitments@business.un.org with any questions regarding commitments.