Briefing 4.2 - The role of global instruments and frameworks on human rights and labour rights

3. UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact (UNGC) asks companies to integrate into their business practices and promote within their spheres of influence a set of ten universally accepted principles covering human rights, labour standards, environmental protection and anti- corruption. It is a global network involving UN agencies, companies, governments, employers’ organizations, trade unions and NGOs. Companies also commit to issue an annual Communication on Progress (COP) report on how they are implementing the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, and supporting broader UN development goals. Today, over 8000 companies from 170 countries participate in the UNGC to share experiences and engage in dialogue through local networks and thematic working groups.

In 2010, the Women’s Empowerment Principles were launched by the UNGC in collaboration with UN Woman. A set of seven principles offer guidance to business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community and emphasizes the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment (see box below).

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women – are global principles offering guidance to businesses on empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The WEPs encourage employers to prioritize the safety of their female employees, both in and outside of the workplace. Principle 3: `Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers’ highlights the responsibility of employers to support victims of violence and to provide a workplace that is free from violence. Suggestions include offering services for survivors of domestic violence; respecting requests for time off for counselling or medical care; training staff to recognize the signs of violence against women; identifying security issues, including the safe travel of staff to and from work; and establishing a zero-tolerance policy towards violence and harassment at work. Principle 7 also focuses on measuring and publicly reporting on progress to achieve gender equality. DIFD (2015b)


For further information and recommendations on what companies can do in the workplace see: The Labour Principles of the United Nations Global Compact – A Guide for Business.
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