UN Global Compact Launches Business for the Rule of Law, Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability
The United Nations Global Compact, with support from Baker & McKenzie, LexisNexis Legal & Professional and Linklaters, today launched two new efforts to engage the business community and legal profession in advancing the rule of law, good governance and corporate sustainability. The launch, which coincides with the 15th anniversary celebration of the United Nations Global Compact, represents a pivotal moment in raising awareness of the importance of the rule of law and the role of General Counsel in advancing corporate sustainability among the global business community.
The first initiative, Business for the Rule of Law (B4ROL), highlights the foundational and mutually beneficial relationship between advancing the rule of law and sustainable development. The B4ROL Framework (Framework) offers a guide for businesses around the world in taking proactive, voluntary actions to support the rule of law in their everyday operations and relationships as a complement to respecting the rule of law. LexisNexis and the Atlantic Council were a critical source of inspiration for the B4ROL initiative, which was introduced in September 2013 by United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and serve as founding members of the B4ROL Steering Group. LexisNexis and Baker & McKenzie also made a significant contribution to the initiative by working with the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Local Networks, to mobilise 19 consultation workshops around the world, and to develop the Framework. Of the 19, one was the Pacific Consultation Workshop, held by LexisNexis Australia with the critical purpose of ensuring that our region is included in this global framework.
The second resource is the Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability (Guide), which provides practical guidance and examples to in-house counsel on how to advance corporate sustainability issues within their respective organizations, while also reinforcing the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles that focus on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The Guide seeks to raise the profile of General Counsel regarding the efforts they are making, and to inspire and encourage other General Counsel and Boards, senior executives and management of their respective organizations to take action and deliver long-term value. Linklaters partnered with the UN Global Compact to interview General Counsel from companies across a wide variety of sectors and regions around the world, and to develop the Guide.
“Together with our partners, we are thrilled to be presenting these two new resources to help inspire lawyers and other business people to scale up their contribution and impact in helping deliver a more sustainable future for society, the environment and businesses,” said Ursula Wynhoven, General Counsel and Chief, Governance and Social Sustainability at the UN Global Compact.
“The rule of law is a principle of governance that advances equality and accountability under the law, that is equally enforced and independently adjudicated, to protect fundamental human rights, norms and standards, which in turn leads to sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” Joanne Beckett, General Manager of LexisNexis Australia and who facilitated the Pacific Workshop with the local UNGC body. “LexisNexis is proud to partner with the United Nations Global Compact, our customers, the respective Steering Groups and our community in spearheading these efforts. Business for the Rule of Law and the Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability lay out a tailored plan for the business community worldwide to build a more just society.”
"We are delighted to have helped develop the Business for the Rule of Law Framework to aid businesses in effectively supporting, respecting and furthering the rule of law around the world," said Kevin Coon, Managing Partner of Baker & McKenzie in Toronto, who led the Firm's contribution to B4ROL. "It's clear that rule of law improvements help growth, while also enhancing the social environment for individuals and for society in their own right. Businesses can only win from helping strengthen the rule of law."
“Based on our interviews, we believe that there is convergence happening between the evolving role of the General Counsel and corporate sustainability. Boards and the “C-Suite” are increasingly relying on their GC to be at the heart of a number of important legal and operational issues, many of which extend beyond the “traditional” remit of the GC. “Corporate sustainability” and “corporate strategy” are becoming intertwined and that gives the GC a real opportunity to drive both,” said Tom Shropshire, Partner at Linklaters in London and the principal author of the Guide, who led the Firm’s team in the initiative.
For more information:
Business for the Rule of Law Overview: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/take-action/action/business-rule-of-law
Business for the Rule of Law Framework: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/library/1341
Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability: https://www.unglobalcompact.org/library/1351
Twitter hashtags: #B4ROL, #RuleofLaw