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 mobilize 19 consultation workshops around the world, and to develop the 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.
“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.”
“Advancing equality and accountability under the law, transparency of laws, access to laws including those that protect fundamental human rights, as well as many other critical aspects of the rule of law, not only benefit the greater good, but also are imperative to protecting and supporting the goals of global business,” said Mike Walsh, CEO of LexisNexis Legal & Professional. “Business for the Rule of Law and the Guide for General Counsel on Corporate Sustainability lay out a roadmap for building a safer, more just society and global business environment. As a company whose purpose and values are rooted in the rule of law, LexisNexis is proud to partner with the United Nations Global Compact, our customers and the respective Steering Groups in spearheading these efforts.”
“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.
About the United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact (unglobalcompact.org) is a call to companies everywhere to voluntarily align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate policies and practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with over 8000 companies and 4000 non-business signatories based in 160 countries.
About Baker & McKenzie
Founded in 1949, Baker & McKenzie (bakermckenzie.com) advises many of the world's most dynamic and successful business organizations through more than 11,000 people in 77 offices in 47 countries. The Firm is known for its global perspective, deep understanding of the local language and culture of business, uncompromising commitment to excellence, and world-class fluency in its client service. Global revenues for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2014, were US$2.54 billion. Eduardo Leite is Chairman of the Executive Committee. bakermckenzie.com
About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional (lexisnexis.com) is a leading global provider of content and technology solutions that enable professionals in legal, corporate, tax, government, academic and non-profit organizations to make informed decisions and achieve better business outcomes. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional helps professionals work in faster, easier and more effective ways. The company, which serves customers in more than 175 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide, is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.
Linklaters LLP (linklaters.com) is a leading global law firm, supporting clients in achieving their strategies wherever they do business. We use our expertise and resources to help clients pursue opportunities and manage risk across emerging and developed markets around the world.
Ursula Wynhoven - General Counsel and Chief, Governance and Social Sustainability
United Nations Global Compact
P: +1 212-907-1301 - E: wynhoven[.]un.org.
Michael Evans - Senior Communications Manager
P: +44(0)20 7919 1731 - E: michael.evans[.]bakermckenzie.com.
Katie Taylor - Global Public Relations Advisor Linklaters
++44(0)20 7456 2287 - E: katie.taylor[.]linklaters.com.