The Global Compact Network Germany supports companies and organizations in aligning their strategies and activities with sustainability goals and the vision of the UN Global Compact. The GCN Germany was created in the year 2000 on the initiative of German companies as one of the first national platforms. Its tasks and obligations as an official local Network are defined in a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN Global Compact; it may only bear the name of the Global Compact Network Germany as long as it carries out these tasks and fulfils these obligations.
The GCN Germany brings together all German signatories of the UN Global Compact. The network comprises more than 720 German companies and organizations from civil society, science, and the public sector and serves to provide information on issues of corporate responsibility, exchange ideas, and develop joint practical solutions.
The bodies of the GCN Germany are the Participants’ Assembly, the Steering Committee, the Secretariat (‘Focal Point’) and the Global Compact Network Germany Foundation. The Steering Committee controls the activities of the Network strategically, following the general opinions of the participants and proposals and ideas from the New York office. The Secretariat manages the implementation of the strategic objectives. It acts on behalf of and in coordination with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Foreign Office (AA) of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The work of the Network is funded by grants from the Federal Government and by an increasing proportion of funds of the GCN Germany Foundation. The Foundation was launched in 2009 by business members of the GCN, enabling them to also participate financially in the activities of the Network.
The Steering Committee determines the strategic and thematic orientation of the GCN Germany. It is elected by the participants, is composed of representatives from business, politics and civil society and operates according to the principle of consensus. For decision-making, it focuses on the opinion of the participants. In coordination with the Foundation’s Advisory Board, it also has a say in how Foundation funds are used.
Diverse representation of interests
The business and civil society representatives of the Steering Committee are elected every two years by the participants of the GCN Germany. The composition of the Steering Committee reflects the self-conception of the Network, which is a company-driven, multi-stakeholder Network, in which the participants discuss matters on an equal footing:
- four representatives of the participating companies (plus two alternates)
- two representatives of the participating civil society organisations
- two emissaries of the participating federal ministries
- other advisory, non-voting members (these are called in for any Steering Committee consensus).