Foreword by Georg Kell
Executive Director UN Global Compact
Georg Kell
Executive Director
UN Global Compact

Idea power is the greatest force humanity has. It can be used to inflame fear, hate, destruction and mayhem or it can be used to create peace and prosperity, respect and understanding.

The UN Global Compact is firmly grounded in the foundational spirit of the United Nations itself. Responsible business can be a force for good – openness, trade and investments based on universal sustainability principles are necessary compliments to creating peace, prosperity and respect for human rights.

The moral case for business responsibility is not new. However, its urgency is today greater than ever before. Evidence is mounting with companies around the world that integrate material sustainability issues and have achieved better financial performance over time. The moral case for action is now reinforced by a business case.

Idea power can only flourish if individual people make it their own and translate it to drive organizational change and advocate the idea to leaders, peers, competitors, and fellow citizens.

Today the UN Global Compact is global because of individual change agents and norm entrepreneurs who, since our inception, have made the initiative local everywhere. They have embraced universal principles and have built Local Networks embedding the idea and practice of responsible business in many languages and cultures.

The UN Global Compact has been extremely fortunate to have two distinguished world leaders as our chief advocates – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan – as well as many opinion makers from the private sector and civil society. This book brings together the collective voice of 30 leaders who stand for thousands of others in sharing the simple but powerful idea that corporate sustainability can be a transformative force to make our world a better place.

As the UN Global Compact approaches our 15th Anniversary and is actively reviewing progress, impact and the work yet to be done, we have looked to these leaders to help us gain perspective into our evolution. It is clear that ideas and people have always been at the center of what we do. In my time as Executive Director I have met so many wonderful entrepreneurs around the world, and want to thank you all for your courage and dedication. Our initiative stands strong thanks to your personal commitment.