The UN Global Compact as a Soft Law Business Regulatory Mechanism Advancing Corporate Responsibility Towards Business Sustainability and Sustainable Development Worldwide

Edward T. Bristol-Alagbariya


This study arises from a previous work by the author captioned ‘Sustainable Development: A Soft Law Concept Transforming SD-Oriented Initiatives of the UN System into Hard Law Instruments in UN Member-states and Promoting Partnerships around the Globe’. The previous work demonstrates that there are various examples of SD-oriented partnership mechanisms associated with business sustainability, environmental protection, good public sector governance (good governance: GG) and sustainable development (SD), of which the UN Global Compact is one. Thus, the aim of this study is to examine the UN Global Compact as a soft law SD-oriented mechanism fostering and enhancing business sustainability and overall SD, where business organisations that are enlisted to participate at the Compact are operating. The study arrives at the finding that for about two decades of its existence, the UN Global Compact is taking corporate responsibility from the fringes to the mainstream and uniting business towards a better, fairer, kinder, more just, sustainable and peaceful world on Planet Earth. A cardinal business sustainability initiative of the Global Compact is its ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The study arrives at the finding that the Compact is an inspirational guide on these principles, on the platform of which companies enlisted to participate at the Global Compact are, at a minimum, required to operate in ways that align their operations and strategies to conform to, and thereby promote and actualise development partnerships arising from their operations towards business sustainability and all-embracing SD. This is demonstrated by the thirteen examples of good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) performances-in-action discussed herein and numerous other exemplary cases of CSR being actualised in the nooks and crannies of the world by businesses enlisted into the Global Compact framework. The study recommends that more and more companies (businesses) should enlist to participate at the Global Compact, while sovereign states, particularly developing countries, should strengthen governance, by enthroning GG, to enhance the SD-oriented initiatives of companies to advance societal goals, in terms of implementing their social responsibility, namely contributing to the wellbeing of their stakeholders, humanity and society at large.

Keywords: Global Compact, Business Sustainability; Sustainable Development (SD); Soft Law; Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG); Bonny Kingdom (Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom [Ancient Ibani Nation]); Partnerships; Principles; Voluntary; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Social Investment; Social Licence to Operate; Good Governance (GG); World (Globe); and Planet Earth.

DOI: 10.7176/JLPG/94-05

Publication date: February 29th 2020

Full Text: PDF
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ISSN (Paper)2224-3240 ISSN (Online)2224-3259

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