UN Global Compact Chief
Says Corporations Are Victims Too, Lashes
Out at Critic
Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of
Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis
December 19 -- While global publics
question the ethics of business executives who ran their companies into
ground, sought taxpayer bailouts and then still seek year-end bonuses,
corporate social responsibility unit, the Global Compact, has little to
to say on the topic. In the past week, Inner City Press has asked both
director and honorary chairman of the Compact to speak to this
Moody Stuart, during a break of the Compact board's meeting ostensibly
improve the reports on progress that member companies file, told Inner
Press that the bailouts are purely a national matter, and emphasized
ethics controversies exist only with respect to the financial services
industry. He works in mining, and has previously debated Inner City
his company's investment in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Ethics, anyone?
the director of the Compact, was even more combative. On
bailouts, he answered in part that
"corporations are as much victims as taxpayers." Video here,
Minute 10:53. Inner City Press asked him about a critique
offered, from the
same rostrum at which he sat, by the President of the UN General
on water, Maude Barlow. Kell's
was surprisingly, or telling:
"Frankly, we have never met.
She has never engaged in our work. I don’t think she knows what we are
because many NGOs are involved in our water work. As a matter of fact,
the heavy lifting on water analysis is done by some non-corporate
are highly respected in that field. […] As I said, she has never looked
our work. She has never attended any of our meetings. I don’t think she
aware of what our communication on progress policy is about. I don’t
has really looked into what we are." Video here,
from Minute 13:31.
are people who have looked into the Compact, and are nevertheless
about its seriousness in holding corporations to account. How are people
supposed to know more about the Compact's work, when for example its
on Communications on Progress, which Inner City Press asked for while
the closed-door meeting, still has not been provided, nor the outcome
Compact's meeting on labor standards?
UN's Ban, Kell at right, with Coca-Cola executive, Maude Barlow not
December 18, Inner City Press asked the spokesman for the President of
General Assembly about Kell's comments, and what jurisdiction the
Assembly has over the Global Compact. Video here,
from Minute 18:52. He replied
that "the Global Compact is part of the Secretariat... and the whole
whom or what is the Global Compact accountable?
While this reporting may seen harsh, even with the
well-intentioned there is a problem when there is no accountability,
and little oversight.
administratively, the Compact has been shifted from the Executive
Office of the Secretary-General over to the UN Department of
head of which Angela Kane has only briefed the press one time since
the post, and who is also in charge of such things as the repair of the
building and the so-called Capital Master Plan. Who knows more about
Compact, Angela Kane or Maude Barlow, who is now, with some friction
Compact, in the UN orbit? To be continued.
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
Click here for Inner City
Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo
Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on
UN, bailout, MDGs
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
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