William Jefferson Clinton
I am pleased to contribute to the 2010 International Yearbook as it commemorates the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Global Compact.
When it was established in 2000, the UNGC ushered us into the new millennium with clear guidelines for engaging the global marketplace in socially responsible business practices. In the decade since, thousands of businesses around the globe have embraced the principles put forth by the UNGC. Today, it is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It has transformed the landscapes of industry, commerce, technology, and finance, while proving true the notion that we can all do well while doing good.
In our increasingly interdependent global society, we must find ways to move forward into the future together in the interest of our common humanity. It is our duty to use the positive forces of interdependence – like the principles encouraged by the UN Global Compact – to make our world more equal, more stable, and more sustainable. Now more than ever, businesses have the power to affect positive change in civil society, and it is in everyone’s interest that they do so. When businesses around the globe practice good corporate citizenship by respecting human rights, promoting fair labor, fostering environmental stewardship, and opposing corruption, we go a long way in building networks that transcend borders, reflect shared benefits and shared responsibilities for problems, and create a genuine sense of community where we can manage our differences by celebrating them.
As we work together to expand the marketplace of ideas and discover practical new ways to address our world’s most pressing challenges, I am optimistic about the future. I believe we’re living in a time of the greatest human potential in history, but we have a responsibility to offer all people the chance to succeed. When everyone is given the opportunity and tools to imagine and build brighter future, our global society will fulfill its promise and grow immeasurably stronger.