UN Global Compact exits tobacco companies

12 September 2017

New York City/Geneva - Following its Board meeting in July 2017, the UN Global Compact has officially announced their decision to exclude tobacco companies from participating in the initiative.

The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. Their Board meeting report was released on UNGC website on 1 September and has today been approved by the UN Secretary General. The recent meeting primarily focused on updating Board Members on three of UNGC 's priority areas detailed in its recent 2020 strategy: One UNGC culture initiative, Governance Review, and Integrity Measures Review.

Following the extensive consultation process conducted to review UNGC’s integrity measures, a series of eight key recommendations were presented across three key areas (entry, engagement, exit) with a view to enhancing UNGC policies and procedures to better safeguard the brand and reputation of the United Nations and to ensure promotion and recognition of responsible business.

As a result, UNGC decided to align exclusionary criteria with the UN System, and especially with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), namely excluding participants from tobacco and controversial weapons sectors.

"On behalf of the global cancer community, UICC applauds the decision of the UN Global Compact to exclude tobacco companies from participating in their work at a time when the organisation is embarking on a set of new initiatives to support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3): Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages" says Cary Adams, CEO of the Union for International Cancer Control, "tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year and therefore it is entirely appropriate that the industry responsible for this avoidable death toll plays no role in the UN Global Compact."

Tobacco products are fundamentally misaligned with UNGC’s commitment to advancing business action towards SDG 3 and in direct conflict with the right to public health. The latest WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic published on 19 July 2017 stated that the tobacco industry continues to hamper government efforts to fully implement life- and cost-saving interventions, and as such interferes with health regulations.

The tobacco industry can inherently not be considered as an ally in UNGC's call to action to make health everyone’s business where preventing cancer and other non-communicable diseases through reducing leading risk factors such as tobacco use plays a fundamental part.

Read the UN Global Compact Board meeting report by clicking here.

Read the official press release by clicking here.

Image: Courtesy of Global Compact

About the UN Global Compact

Since its launch in 2000, the UN Global Compact has been an inclusive initiative aimed at supporting responsible businesses to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. Over the past 17 years, the Compact has grown from 50 companies to include more than 9,600 companies from over 160 countries. This growth has resulted in the Compact becoming the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative and its anchoring in the United Nations makes it especially unique. The UN Global Compact seeks to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to act responsibly and find opportunities to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals to create the world we want. By motivating companies to diligently integrate the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact in their strategies, operations and supply chains, the initiative aims to deliver transformational change towards the Agenda 2030.

Resource Information
Topics: 
Tobacco
United Nations
Global Compact
tobacco industry
Last update: 
Tuesday 12 September 2017
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