Today is an important day for Telefónica. We are one of the 54 multinationals chosen by the United Nations to form part of the Global Compact LEAD initiative, a business platform created to promote sustainability throughout the world. These companies have been selected in recognition of their leadership in this respect within the world economy.
The only Spanish firms represented in LEAD are Telefónica, BBVA, Endesa and Acciona. Telefónica and BBVA also sit on the platform’s Executive Committee.
At Friday’s launch of LEAD at the Annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, spoke to this group of key companies to congratulate them and offer them his encouragement in the task ahead: “From the beginning, the Global Compact has been driven by business leaders willing to move beyond the status quo. Through Global Compact LEAD, you can help guide the way to the level of sustainability performance our world requires from business today”.
The “LEAD companies” are all signatories of the UN’s Global Compact, a call to companies throughout the world to bring their strategies and operations into line with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and the fight against corruption. Now, as members of this new platform, we have to take a further step forward and assert out leadership to ensure that other companies around the world, especially those in developing countries, adopt a strategy which guarantees sustainability. The final objective is to extend the Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership established by the Global Compact and inspired by the “LEAD companies”. This blueprint, presented by Ban Ki-moon in New York in June 2010, includes 50 specific measures.
It provides an action plan in three core areas: integrating the Global Compact ten principles into strategies and operations, undertaking initiatives in support of Millennium Development Goals and strengthening Global Compact local networks in over 90 countries. This route map is based on a firm commitment to ensuring the sustainability of “LEAD company” executives and boards of directors, with a management focus on transparency.
In order to ensure the success of this initiative, the 54 companies will be sharing experience and best practices through local Global Compact networks. These companies are also committed to working actively with UN organisations, funds and programmes, many of which have strengthened their relations with the private sector in recent years, recognising the essential role of companies when responding to world challenges.
“The launch of Global Compact LEAD stresses the key role leading Global Compact participants have already played in advancing corporate responsibility around the world,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “At the same time, Global Compact LEAD responds to the critical need for these leaders to scale up their efforts so that we can achieve tangible progress in our response to global challenges.”