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Shell, Nestle Among 54 Firms Launching U.N. Sustainability Program

The United Nations today launched a program encouraging corporations to share knowledge on sustainability, and signed up the first 54 participating companies.

Chief executives joined UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon at the World Economic Forum in Davos to launch Global Compact LEAD, an effort to address businesses’ role in responding to global threats including climate change, poverty and humanitarian emergencies.

Participants include Intel, Nestle, Coca-Cola, Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell, Tata Steel, Total and Unilever.

The 54 companies are all participants of the UN Global Compact, in which businesses commit to aligning their operations and strategies with ten
universally accepted principles” in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption.

All 54 have commited to work towards the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership, which outlines about 50 actions that businesses can take to achieve greater sustainability. The Blueprint was introduced by the Global Compact last June.

As members of Global Compact LEAD, the companies must also share their knowledge through local networks in more than 90 countries, and report on their activities “at an advanced level”, the U.N. said. The companies also promise to work more actively with U.N. agencies.

“Participation in Global Compact LEAD does not represent a ‘seal of approval’ or endorsement by the United Nations,” the U.N. said. “Rather, the platform is designed to challenge highly engaged companies in the UN Global Compact to reach further, to experiment, to innovate, and to share learnings – both successes and failures.”

The first two years of LEAD will be a pilot phase to allow members to help shape the program’s platform and refine its services, the U.N. said.

A list of the 54 companies is available here.

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