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Prepared by the SIOP-United Nations Committee, July 2015

What is the Global Compact?

The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses, academic bodies, and other organizations that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.

By working with these partners, who act as primary drivers of globalization, the Global Compact can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere. You (and your organization) can help make our world better. Businesses, civil society organizations, business associations, labour organizations, academic institutions and cities are all invited to join us in shaping a sustainable future and supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which address critical economic, social, environmental and governance challenges. Whether you are new to corporate sustainability or more seasoned in such efforts, there is a place for you in the United Nations Global Compact!

The following resources provide additional information on the Global Compact and membership:

Guide to Corporate Sustainability

A Global Compact for Sustainable Development

Why Should I-O Graduate Programs Join?

The UN considers academic participation in the Global Comact particularly valuable

“Through thought leadership, research, educational resources, learning know-how, and educational infrastructure, this sector can increase knowledge and understanding of corporate responsibility, and thereby advance the agenda of the Global Compact at the local and global level.

In addition, academia plays an important role in shaping future business leaders and educating them on the importance of responsible management and leadership.”

It has become common for business schools, especially those valuing ethics, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability as key curricular elements, to participate in the Global Compact. Now that psychology has begun to not only systematically explore issues of social responsibility within organizations, but also to place more emphasis on its own social obligations toward organizations and the individuals working within and impacted by them, our field has been offered a unique seat at this table.

Why Join?

Joining this Global Compact allows I-O graduate programs to align with SIOP’s recent efforts to define I-O psychology’s contribution to society. By connecting curriculum and other program activities to the Global Compact principles, future I-O Psychologist are exposed to global issues that are at the intersection of business and society.

  • Joining requires very little—if any—substantial changes from programs.
  • It does not apply to other programs, departments, or the university as whole (i.e., only the I-O program is considered a participant—other larger units are not implied as participating).
  • It is free.
  • Signatories hold no legal obligations—participation only implies support of the 10 Principles and commitment to place effort toward activities generally aligned with the principles.

There are also a number of benefit to participating in the Global Compact, including:

  • Access to business partners for potential collaboration
  • The opportunity to join a variety of work groups focused on implementing the Global Compact principles.
  • The ability to distinguish and bring positive attention to the graduate program via use of the Global Compact logo and branding under the provided guidelines.

Joining is Simple

The Global Compact has made the process easy. Joining is simple, with few obligations beyond ensuring that the principles are incorporated into program activities and bi-annual reporting.

  • Assess the I/O program for compatibility and potential amendments.
  • Send a Letter of Commitment to the United Nations affirming the desire to join the Global Compact.
  • Complete the brief Online Application Form.
  • Once accepted, create a formal (but conservative) plan of actions for the next two years.
  • Keep records of all activities pertinent to the GC.
  • Send a Communication of Progress Report to the United Nations on an annual basis.
  • Publically communicate results and activities to program stakeholders.

Sample Process

Purdue University’s I-O Psychology graduate program was the first to join the Global Compact, and did so as a “test case” for the SIOP-UN Committee. The process it followed is depicted below. Whereas Purdue’s I-O program solicited the support of the psychology department head and the dean of the college, other programs might opt to seek support from different categories of leadership, depending on the organizational structure and local political climate. The Global Compact application guidelines request the letter come from the “highest level of authority” (which can be interpreted in a number of ways). Most business school applicants have their application letter signed by the dean of the business school, but there may be different appropriate entities in the case of an I/O program (e.g., the area coordinator, the department head, etc.). The following process was followed by Purdue’s I-O program:

  • A graduate student team prepared a “pitch” presentation, supervised by an I-O faculty member
  • The presentation was delivered to the I-O faculty, and I-O faculty buy-in was obtained.
  • The presentation was delivered to the department head with I-O faculty and students in attendance, and department-level buy-in was obtained.
  • The department head met with the dean (sharing the materials assembled by the I-O team). The dean ran the proposal by the colleges’ legal & international counsel.
  • The I-O team responded to questions that came up at the college-level, after which college-level buy-in was obtained.
  • The I-O team drafted the application/commitment letter to be co-signed by the department head and dean.
  • After minor revisions, the letter was finalized and signed.
  • The I-O team completed the on-line application and uploaded the letter. The I-O faculty supervisor was listed as the main contact.

Sample Materials

This tool kit includes all of the materials used by Purdue University to join the Global Compact. These can be used as templates, and programs are welcome to leverage any parts, verbatim, in any way seen fit.

Support and Questions

Please keep us abreast of your efforts--we'd love to feature your successes in our TIP column!

The SIOP-UN Committee is available to answer questions and support your efforts in any way they can.

John Scott   JScott@APTMetrics.com
Deborah Rupp   ruppd@purdue.edu  (Global Compact lead contact)
Lori Foster Thompson   lfthompson@ncsu.edu
Lise Saari   lise.saari@nyu.edu
Mathian Osicki   mosicki@us.ibm.com
Kristin Charles   kristinc@amazon.com