Published on 20 August 2018


Kofi Annan, father of the Global Compact

The former Secretary-General of the United Nations died on August 18. We know the great diplomat but we know less about the fact  that he is at the origin of the Global Compact and the Principles for Responsible Investment.

Kofi Annan, the former UN general secretary died on August 18.

Kofi Annan is the "Father Of The Modern Corporate Sustainability Movement” do not hesitate to say, Georg Kell, the founder and former Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, in an article published in Forbes

If we greet the great diplomat at his death on August 18, we often forget that Kofi Annan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, is the one who made possible the rapprochement between the institution and the private sector. It was at his initiative that the Global compact was created. This UN organization brings together private sector actors around the protection of human rights and the planet. Later, it will also play an important role in developing more sustainable finance, notably by supporting the initiative for the Principles of Responsible Investment, the PRI, in 2006. 

A pact of sharing values and principles

In his speech on January 29, 1999, at the Davos Economic Forum, Kofi Annan warned of the consequences of an "imbalance between the economic, social and political realms": " The global economy will be fragile and vulnerable to the backlash from all the “isms” of our time: protectionism, populism, nationalism, ethnic chauvinism, fanaticism and terrorism," he said.

In front of the floor of the most influential leaders of the world, he proposed a new pact between the leaders of the economy and the United Nations, a pact of sharing values and principles, "which would give a human face to capitalism". 

This pact is today concluded with tens of thousands of companies around the world, members of the Global Compact. Those members engaged themselves in decisive steps of the UN initiatives for environment, like in Paris in 2015, to tackle the climate change with the States of the World. But, at this stage, efforts still not sufficient for the challenges. 

Beatrice Heraud

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