On Thursday 10 April 2008, CEOs and senior executives from 17 leading South African companies gathered at AngloGold Ashanti Offices in Johannesburg to sign on to the United Nations Global Compact. The signing ceremony marked the closing of “The Global Compact in Africa” conference, co-hosted by the National Business Initiative (NBI) and the Stellenbosch University Unit for Corporate Governance in Africa.
The one-day conference explored the meaning of the Global Compact in Africa, particularly the unique role that companies operating on the continent can play by implementing the ten Global Compact principles. A wide range of topics were discussed, including the role of South Africa as a dominant regional economy, the influence of China and India on Africa, regional water issues, the state of corruption, responsible management education, and case studies on practical implementation. Keynote speakers included Professor Tom Donaldson from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Soren Petersen, Head of Local Networks and Partnerships at the Global Compact.
Mr. André Fourie, the CEO of NBI and focal point for the Global Compact Local Network in South Africa, congratulated the new signatories adding: “This significant commitment by major South African companies represents a movement towards mainstreaming corporate responsibility. It is something that has developed rapidly in the last few years, to the point where we are beginning to see the emergence of a fundamental shift in the way business is done”.