The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) partners with the Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) to enhance the Australian government's relationships with globally and regionally engaged Australian businesses committed to sustainable business practices.
The GCNA is a key platform to support DFAT's engagements with business, helping to implement the vision laid out in the Foreign Minister's Statement on engaging the private sector in aid and development.
The GCNA represents Australian signatories to the United Nations Global Compact – the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative – with over 9,000 business members across 185 countries. Members commit to the Global Compact's Ten Principles of sustainability – focusing on human rights, labour standards, environmental responsibility, and combatting bribery and corruption – and to support the Sustainable Development Goals. GCNA members include many of Australia's largest and well-known companies such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, David Jones, Nestle Australia as well as ANZ and a number of other financial institutions.
The partnership helps promote GCNA's mandate and grow its membership further, bringing more Australian businesses into a network of organisations committed to sustainable business principles, contributing to Australian efforts to reduce poverty in the region. GCNA works closely with other chapters of Global Compact in the Indo-Pacific region, including in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Under the partnership, a Sustainable Development Leadership Group has been established, to build the capacity of Australian businesses to engage and partner in international development activities, and to operate more effectively and responsibly in developing countries in our region.
Working together with another DFAT partner, the Global Reporting Initiative, GCNA also helps promote corporate sustainability reporting standards in Australia. These standards help companies and investors understand economic, environmental and social risks that may impact commercial returns. Sustainability reporting increases transparency around these factors, and is increasingly used by stock exchanges around the world to promote good corporate governance.
Further information on the GCNA and becoming a member can be found at www.unglobalcompact.org.au