The UN Global Compact Network UK held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 11 October 2016 and Nicola Ellen, Corporate Responsibility Consultant, attended on behalf of Shoosmiths, the firm having become an UK Network member in May 2016.
The United Nations Global Compact is a voluntary initiative based on Chief Executive Officer commitments to implement universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and corruption and to undertake actions that advance societal goals. The United Nations also encourages its members as well as governments and organisations around the world to focus their attention on addressing 17 Sustainable Development Goals agreed by United Nations member states as the 17 global priorities for sustainable development to the year 2030.
It is the desire of the Network’s Chair and Board to minimise the demands on members’ time for Network governance, so the AGM focused on its essential elements: briefing members on the Network’s activities since the last AGM, sharing plans for 2017, formally presenting the Network’s financial results for the previous year, and updating members on Director’s retirements and governance changes.
Network Executive Director, Steve Kenzie provided an overview of the various events organised by the Network since the last AGM meeting in June 2015 and shared a few highlights. Notably, the Network’s activities relating to modern slavery (two webinars, four working group meetings, two general meetings). He also described a roundtable meeting on how companies can manage refugees in their supply chain that was noteworthy because the topic had been suggested by a member company and because the meeting format had been so successful. Steve provided an update on the quarterly Communication on Progress workshops organized by the Network. The session closed with a request that Network members communicate with the Secretariat about the challenges they are facing and the types of Network activity that would be most beneficial.
In the next session, Steve Kenzie provided a detailed overview of the current UK Network membership status (360 signatories and 79 members) and presented the year-end financial results for 2015.
Before concluding the meeting Steve briefly described the Networks plans for 2017 emphasising the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Funding is being sought to present an SDG Roadshow in 25 UK cities to raise awareness of the SDGs.
Nicola commented. ‘We were very pleased to become a United Nations Global Compact signatory in January 2016 and an UK Network member in May 2016 and I would encourage non-member organisations to find out more about how they might be able to support this important movement. For further details about the UK approach and the UK Network contact [email protected]
Further details about the United Nations Global Compact are located at: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/