MNEs and the UN Global Compact: An Empirical Analysis of the Organizational Implementation of Corporate Citizenship
IOU Working Paper No. 114
45 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2010
The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is the largest “corporate citizenship” (CC) initiative in the world. Almost 5000 companies have signed the initiative whereby they voluntarily commit themselves to adhere to ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor rights, the environ-ment and anti-corruption (www.unglobalcompact.org). More than nine years after the launch of the UNGC the question arises on how far the participants have progressed in the implemen-tation of the Compact’s principles. This paper presents the results of an empirical assessment of the implementation process at five large Swiss corporations that have been participants of the UNGC since the initiation of the Global Compact. The results illustrate that CC is a learn-ing process and corporations are at different stages of development. To date, only few compa-nies are implementing CC as intended by the founders of the UNGC. Also, some aspects show that companies assume a political role in their global business activities. In our study we make two contributions: (1) we develop an analytical tool for the assessment of how deeply corporate citizenship is embedded in the organizational structures and procedures of the UNGC companies. (2) With the help of this tool we deliver empirical insights into the imple-mentation of CC at five large Swiss multinational corporations that are members of the UNGC. In addition, the study confirms the theoretical argument of recent literature in political CSR that multinational corporations are contributing to emerging global governance struc-tures.
Keywords: Corporate Citizenship, UN Global Compact, Implementation, Multinational Enterprises
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