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Assessing corporate responsibility as a contribution to global governance: the case of the UN Global Compact

Jorge A. Arevalo (Professor of Management at LIM, The College for the Business of Fashion, New York, New York, USA)
Francis T. Fallon (Professor of Arts and Communications, at LIM, The College for the Business of Fashion, New York, New York, USA)

Corporate Governance

ISSN: 1472-0701

Article publication date: 9 August 2008

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Abstract

Purpose

The changing nature of the interaction between multilateral institutions and the private sector, such as the one extended by the United Nations (UN) through the Global Compact, has raised profound questions about authority and legitimacy in international relations. This paper seeks to provide the criteria for fairly assessing corporate citizenship initiatives as these form an integral part of the changing nature of corporate governance.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses the Global Compact's 2007 annual review as a point of reference and critical evaluation. The paper refers to the gap found among participants and their inability to answer to the relevant questions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as originally set forth by the UN.

Findings

There has been a substantial increase in both scale and impact by this type of private sector initiative: a 50‐fold growth in just seven years – unlike any other international collaborative partnership. Based on the assessment, the ongoing question regarding its legitimacy, its operationality and efficiency for improving global governance still remains a challenge at large.

Originality/value

Empirical research on the impact, accountability, challenges and successes of the Global Compact is limited. The aim of this study is to progress understanding of both the limitations on, and opportunities for, the role of business in global governance when CSR is used as an international tool for community involvement. To this end, in addition to a critique of the UNGC's self‐assessment, the paper proposes a researcher's model for assessing corporate citizenship initiatives.

Keywords

Citation

Arevalo, J.A. and Fallon, F.T. (2008), "Assessing corporate responsibility as a contribution to global governance: the case of the UN Global Compact", Corporate Governance, Vol. 8 No. 4, pp. 456-470. https://doi.org/10.1108/14720700810899194

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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