United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan met today with key leaders from the German business community and non-governmental organizations to encourage their continued participation in the Global Compact, his signature initiative to promote corporate citizenship and cooperative responses to the challenges of globalization.
"We discussed the need to make the Global Compact work," Mr. Annan said of his meeting with seventeen senior executives and civil society leaders, "and to implement the nine principles that they have all embraced covering human rights, environment, and core labour standards."
"I was very encouraged to see the progress being made, the seriousness with which the German companies, trade unions, and NGOs take this initiative," Mr. Annan told reporters. "We’ve all promised we’ll move forward to work even harder to apply," the Global Compact’s principles, he said, "not only to institutions in this country, but around the world."
"And what also came out that was very encouraging," the Secretary-General added, "is the fact that the workers of all these companies are very, very happy to be working for something positive, something ethical, something that is socially responsible and gives something back to society."
Amnesty International, Transparency International, and other NGOs participated in the exchange with the Secretary-General. Major German corporations represented in the discussion included ABB, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Deutsche Bank, SAP, and Siemens.
According to a UN spokesman, the Secretary-General told participants at the meeting that he had launched the initiative to make globalization sustainable by underpinning international markets with strong social and ethical foundations, and called on those present to practice good global citizenship.