Nick Nichols

While many of us were celebrating our nation’s hard won sovereignty, the United Nations (UN) was orchestrating a summit meeting of Global Compact leaders at its Geneva, Switzerland headquarters. The UN describes the seven-year-old Global Compact as “an international initiative that would bring companies together with UN agencies, labor and non-government organizations to support universal environmental and social principles.” In fact, The Global Compact appears to be an attempt by the UN to capitalize on the Corporate Social Responsibility movement and circumvent the sovereignty of its member nations.

Corporations that sign the Compact’s dotted line must subscribe to ten principles that are derived from:

1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2. The International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work

3. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development

4. The United Nations Convention Against Corruption

I visited the Global Compact’s website to view first-hand the ten principles that the UN wants businesses to embrace. Three of the principles are particularly noteworthy.

Principle 3 states that “businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining.” There is no mention of a person’s right to work without having to join a union and pay dues.

Principle 7 states that “businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges.” Sounds simple enough but this is a not-so-veiled attempt to get corporations to adopt the so-called Precautionary Principle which holds that if some group, say Greenpeace, claims that your company’s new product is unsafe for the environment, it should be banned from the marketplace until you prove that it won’t hurt Mother Nature. Most high school science students know that it is impossible to prove the negative, but that is precisely the Kool-Aid that the UN requires the 3,000 plus companies that have signed the Compact to swallow.

Principle 10 is a real hoot given its authorship. It states that “businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.” I, for one, would like to see the UN rid itself of widespread corruption before telling others how to stay pure in the global marketplace.


Nick Nichols

Nick is a retired crisis communications executive. He also developed and taught graduate-level crisis management courses at the Johns Hopkins University. Nick is the author of Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to Fight and Survive Attack Group Shakedowns. He is a Vietnam veteran.