The United Nations Global Compact is the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world. Launched in July 2000, it provides a practical framework for the development, implementation and disclosure of sustainability policies and practices. It seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten principles based on core UN values in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. In addition, the Global Compact supports the Millennium Development Goals by providing a platform for dialogue between business and the UN.
The Global Compact currently has over 12,000 participants from business, labor organizations, academia and cities. Worldwide there are more than 100 Global Compact Networks, including the German GC Network with 250 corporate and 60 non-business actors.
The Global Compact is financed mainly by private, voluntary contributions from the private sector. It is also supported by voluntary governmental contributions of which Germany is one of the largest donors.
The Global Compact Office in New York is attached to the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and is currently directed by German national Georg Kell.
Almost all UN funds and programs as well as specialized agencies such as OHCHR, ILO, UNEP, UNODC, UNDP, UNIDO and UN Women have created so-called "UN-Business Focal Points". In an effort to strengthen the UN-business relationship, the Global Compact Office organizes annual meetings and has created a network of these Focal Points as well as issuing a quarterly e-newsletter designed to enhance communication and collaboration.