United Nations Global Compact Bangladesh Network Launched (UNGCLN)

Date:

Event Name : Recent Events

Date : 26 January, 2009- ,

Description :

Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and the CSR Centre, in collaboration with UNDP Dhaka, jointly launched the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Bangladesh Network. The launching ceremony was held on 26 January, 2009 at Hotel Sheraton in Dhaka. Mr. Farooq Sobhan, President of BEI, moderated the programme, while Muhammad Faruk Khan, Minister of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh, attended the programme as the Chief Guest. UN Resident Coordinator Renata Lok Dessallien, Adviser to the Prime Minister Salman F Rahman, Head of Global Compact Networks Soren Petersen, Managing Director of ACI Ltd Dr Arif Dowla, also took part at the programme as special guests. The launching proved to be an immense success with support from the Government of Bangladesh, the UN and the private sector stakeholders; and it created a new foundation for further initiatives in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility to be undertaken in Bangladesh.

Please click at the following link to view the details on UNGCLN.

a. Opening Speech by Mr. Farooq Sobhan, President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute

b. Chief Guest’s Speech by Muhammad Faruk Khan, Minister of Commerce, Government of Bangladesh

c. Report on Launching of UNGCLN in Bangladesh

BEI’s work on United Nations Global Compact

Global Compact was first introduced in Bangladesh, on 12 March, 2002 by UNDP where BEI was actively engaged in various outreach programmes with its participants to strengthen support for the Global Compact and to promote its principles. This helped to expand the membership of the UNGC from an initial four to an eventual thirty-five. BEI’s active participation and commitment in the programmes soon turned BEI into a key player and the focal point for UNGC activities in Bangladesh. It finally became a signatory on November, 2006. Since then, BEI has been participating in all the events organized by the UNGC office including the annual forum for the focal points; conferences on specialized issues related to Global Compact and others.

With an aim of introducing the concept of the Global Compact to the relevant stakeholders in Bangladesh, BEI organized a roundtable discussion on September 23, 2008. The discussion was chaired by Mr. Farooq Sobhan, President of BEI while there were participants from chambers, academia, civil society, think tanks and leading business houses including ACI, Rahimafrooz, Square, Unilever Bangladesh, and British American Tobacco Bangladesh. The discussion brought out issues such as the difference between corporate responsibility and corporate philanthropy; it delved into the significance of CSR as an initiative to build the bridge between corporate goals and societal benefits; and stressed on the instrumental role that UNGC can play in creating a network of socially responsible corporate houses, who bring about sustainable development in their countries in collaboration with the public sector and the UN.

Following the round table discussion, the Global Compact Local Network was launched in January 26, 2009 with strong support and participation from the UNGC office in New York and UNESCAP Office in Bangkok. Muhammad Faruk Khan, Commerce Minister, Government of Bangladesh was the chief guest and he emphasized on the need for a multi-stakeholder local network in order to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).The launching received immense support from the UN with useful insight from Ms. Renata Lok Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator, who mentioned that UNGC is a means of making businesses self regulatory and it facilitates the best interests of companies. The event brought together about 150 representatives of business, government and civil society, including organizations who have already signed in.

About the UN Global Compact

Originally drafted by the Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in 1999 and launched at the U.N. headquarters in New York in July 2000, the Global Compact is a leadership platform, endorsed by Chief Executive Officers, and one that offers a unique strategic platform for participants to advance their commitments to sustainability and corporate citizenship. Structured as a public-private initiative, the Global Compact is a policy framework for the development, implementation, and disclosure of ten universally accepted sustainability principles and practices in the areas of human rights, labor, environment an anti-corruption and it offers participants a wide spectrum of specialized work-streams, management tools and resources, and topical programs and projects – all designed to help advance sustainable business models and markets in order to contribute to the initiative’s overarching mission of helping to build a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

The UNGC seeks to combine the best properties of the UN, such as moral authority and convening power, with the private sector’s solution-finding strengths, and the expertise and capacities of a range of key stakeholders. The initiative is global and local; private and public; voluntary yet accountable. The Global Compact has a unique constellation of participants and stakeholders — bringing companies together with governments, civil society, labor, the United Nations, and stakeholders from other key interest groups.

At present, UNGC is at the forefront of global corporate citizenship initiatives and stands as the largest CSR initiative in the world, with over 6500 corporate participants and stakeholders from over 130 countries. The UN Global Compact has the most extensive global reach, promoting engagement and action by companies through a broad range of programmes and events. The UNGC offers participating companies and organizations important support through various workshops and communication tools to share best practices across industries and issues. The UNGC offers a unique policy platform to better manage risks and opportunities in the Environmental, Social and Governance realms.

The launch was followed by a session where Dr. Uddesh Kohli, a senior adviser of Global Compact (India) and Ms. Ambreen Waheed, Executive Director, Responsible Business Initiative (RBI), one of the pioneers of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in Pakistan shared their experiences in Global Compact Networks in their respective countries. Dr. Kohli mentioned that Global Compact Local Network has enabled its members in India to add value to their companies and build their brand images. While in India, the participation is huge and active, Ms. Waheed pointed out that Pakistan has adapted a more educational approach and stressed on building awareness regarding CSR and increasing involvement.

A roundtable discussion to further set the stage for CSR efforts in Bangladesh followed. Special focus was given on climate change and alternative energy sources as issues that need to be addressed by the Global Compact Local Network members. Representatives from the corporate community expressed their interest in participation in the GCLN and suggested that the network should be built with relevant long term goals, adapting to the demands of globalization. Particular strategies were recommended that include utilizing the use of network based IT, databases and planning tools that can help to transmit and implement the concepts in rural areas of Bangladesh. Several companies also reported that they require assistance and training on writing the Communications of Progress (COP) report, the most crucial and informative document a participant submits to the UNGC.

The problems expressed regarding the COP were addressed in a day long Capacity Building Programme on COP, the following day in the BEI premises. By means of addressing the challenges and issues of writing a COP and extensive exercises, the participants gained a sound understanding of the objectives of writing a COP, enabling them to draft more effective COPs that reflected their CSR initiatives in implementing the ten principles of the UNGC better.

Please click here to view the Report on Capacity Building Programme on CoP.

Currently, there are 42 Global Compact signatories from Bangladesh, the notable COPs being ACI Ltd. and Rahimafrooz Batteries. In order to ensure increased participation, BEI and the CSR Centre have further plans of building awareness amongst the media professionals on the UNGC and its principles; conducting research projects on the perception, implementation and the effectiveness of the GCLN in Bangladesh and will continue to conduct capacity building programs in order to ensure empowerment of the members.

For further information please contact Mr. Asif Ayub, Research Associate at BEI Tel – 9892662-3 (Extension: 120); Mobile – 01911 388 022; Fax – 9888583; or Email asif@bei-bd.org.

Posted Date : 3 March, 2012

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