Global Compact: A Critique of UN's Public-Private Partnership for Promoting Corporate Citizenship

Syracuse Journal of International Law & Commerce, Vol. 34, pp. 107-151, 2006

45 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2006

See all articles by Surya Deva

Surya Deva

City University of Hong Kong; City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Centre for Chinese & Comparative Law

Abstract

The Global Compact, a UN's public-private partnership for responsible corporate citizenship, seemingly seeks to take the UN much beyond an inter-state institution. This partnership is also a testimony of the changing nature of international law, and the growing influence of non-states actors in international arena. This article critically evaluate the evolution of, and the progress made by, the Global Compact in making participant corporations embrace, support and enact the ten Compact principles. After reviewing the major milestones reached by the Compact in last seven years, it is argued that the Global Compact is still too compact to be termed global in the true sense. The compactness of the Compact is highlighted with reference to two aspects: the general and limited scope of its ten principles, and the extent of corporate (non)response as well as (non)seriousness shown towards the Compact. A survey of the Global Compact participants also reveals regional imbalance as well as a high percentage of non-communicating participants, implying thereby non-seriousness and lack of commitment on their part. The article also briefly examines some other well-known deficiencies of the Global Compact that seriously undermine its goal of promoting corporate citizenship.

Although the Compact has paved the way for UN's engagement with key non-state actors to tackle pressing challenges of the 21st century, it is critical to ensure that only those corporations join and remain on this platform which mean business.

Keywords: Global Compact, Corporate Citizenship, United Nations, Public-Private Partnership

Suggested Citation

Deva, Surya, Global Compact: A Critique of UN's Public-Private Partnership for Promoting Corporate Citizenship. Syracuse Journal of International Law & Commerce, Vol. 34, pp. 107-151, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=925692

Surya Deva (Contact Author)

City University of Hong Kong ( email )

School of Law
83 Tat Chee Avenue
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) - Centre for Chinese & Comparative Law ( email )

83 Tat Chee Avenue
Room P5300, 5th Floor, Academic 1
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong

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