Fairfield University to host United Nations Global Compact Event


On Thursday, March 13 at 7 p.m., Fairfield University will host a talk given by Jonas Haertle and Manuel Escudero, the coordinators of the United Nations Global Compact, an organization that works to promote corporate citizenship and the potential of businesses to be a positive force in society, both globally and locally. The event is the University's first with the UN group, which believes academia plays an important role in shaping future business leaders and educating them on the importance of responsible citizenship.

According to the organization, any meaningful and lasting change in the conduct of corporations toward global social responsibility - including addressing human rights, fair labor, pro-environmental and anti-corruption practices - must involve academic institutions, because they most directly act as "drivers of business behavior."

With its mission of developing business leaders educated in applied ethics, social justice and the liberal arts, Fairfield University's goals complement those of the UN Global Compact.

Norm Solomon, Ph. D., dean of the Charles F. Dolan School of Business, said the UN Global Compact's ideals of promoting social responsibility mirror that of Fairfield's Jesuit educational mission which calls for a combination of social responsibility, service, and faith that promotes social justice. "The organization's goal of promoting responsible business leadership is very much in keeping with what we do in the Dolan School."

Edward M. Dew, Ph. D., professor of politics, invited the UN group to speak at the University. "My feeling is that the Global Compact is precisely what many of us have looked for over the years: a means to promote ethical conduct with regards to workers, environmental concern in the workplace, and transparency in the management and financial behavior of elites."

The talk, entitled "Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility," is sponsored by the Dolan School of Business, and the College of Arts & Sciences' departments of Politics and Economics, International Studies, and Peace and Justice Studies. It will focus on the important role that business schools and academic institutions have in the Global Compact. The talk will take place at the Charles F. Dolan School of Business and is open to the public.

Jonas Haertle, coordinator of networks and academic initiatives, said that academia adds critical dimensions to the Global Compact's operations. "Through thoughtful leadership, research, educational resources, learning know-how, and educational infrastructure, this sector can increase knowledge and understanding of corporate citizenship, and thereby advance the agenda of the Global Compact at the local and global level."

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact brings business together with UN agencies, labor, civil society and governments to advance ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption. Through the power of collective action, the Global Compact seeks to mainstream these ten principles in business activities around the world and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With more than 3,500 participating companies and hundreds of other stakeholders from more than 120 countries, it is the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. In the United States, an active network of 215 businesses and other organizations participate in the Global Compact.

Partnering with universities is crucial to the Compact's mission, because they help shape the behavior of business leaders and have the potential to generate a wave of positive change, thereby helping to ensure a world where both enterprises and societies can flourish.

The talk also will focus on the recently launched initiative, Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), which provides an engagement framework specifically for academic institutions to advance corporate social responsibility through the incorporation of universal values into curriculum and research. The PRME has been developed by an international task force of 60 deans, university presidents and official representatives of leading business schools.

Ultimately, the Global Compact sees that business, trade and investment are essential "pillars" for prosperity and peace in a "churning global marketplace."

For more information on the Global Compact, visit http://www.unglobalcompact.org, and information on the PRME can be found at http://www.unglobalcompact.org/HowToParticipate/academic_network/index.html

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 5, 2008

Vol. 40, No. 197