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11 Oct, 2010
News heading Three

The Environment


The UN Global Compact’s environment principles are derived from the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

The three principles are:

Corporate Environmental Responsibility


The world is today facing unique and daunting environmental challenges. These include climate change; an emerging global crisis in water availability and water pollution; record loss of biodiversity and long-term damage to ecosystems; pollution of the atmosphere; waste production and disposal; impacts of chemicals use and toxic substance disposal; damaged aquatic ecosystems; and deforestation and land degradation.


In recent years, increasing numbers of companies have adopted broad-based strategies and policies to manage the widening array of risks, and in some cases opportunities, presented by these environmental challenges. Companies that pursue such sustainable approaches can generate benefits from the following:

  • cost savings through improved efficiencies; 
  • enhanced revenue as a result of related products, services, and technologies;
  • building corporate and brand reputation;
  • improving employee and community health; 
  • helping to create sustainable societies and markets.


While more and more companies have embraced environmental sustainability as a management imperative, it is also clear that even more comprehensive strategies and actions will be required if business is to reach its full potential with respect to global and local environmental challenges.


Environmental Stewardship Strategy

Environmental issues — be they related to climate change, water scarcity, or other natural-resource and ecological challenges — are growing in scale and complexity. What is also increasingly clear is that traditional corporate environmental management approaches — based largely on compliance and narrow risk assessments — will not be sufficient to successfully navigate and address these 21st century challenges.

In order to assist companies in preparing for this increasingly challenging landscape, and to give further expression to the UN Global Compact's three core environmental principles, the UN Global Compact Office brought together a group of committed participants and — in partnership with Duke University — developed a next-generation Environmental Stewardship Strategy and related Resource.  

This Environmental Stewardship Strategy is designed to help companies — at the highest levels of the organization — develop a truly holistic and comprehensive strategy. And, importantly, it recognizes the growing linkages among various environmental issues as well as their connections to social and development priorities. As well, this Environmental Stewardship Strategy incorporates and leverages the UN Global Compact's Caring for Climate and CEO Water Mandate initiatives.


Engagement Platforms – Climate Change and Water

In addition to its core environmental principles, the UN Global Compact is focusing on two of the most critical — and related — environmental issues of this century: climate change and water sustainability.


In this regard, participants are encouraged to join the following engagement platforms:

  • Caring for Climate: The Global Business Leadership Platform – a voluntary and complementary action platform for companies seeking to demonstrate leadership on climate change. Caring for Climate demonstrates how committed business leaders can advance practical solutions, shape public opinion and government attitudes.

  • The CEO Water Mandate – a policy framework to assist companies in the development, implementation and disclosure of comprehensive water policies and practices — in partnership with civil society, UN agencies, specialized institutes, and public authorities.


UN Core Agency

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) produces a range of training materials for decision makers in government, industry and business, and local communities.


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