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Global Compact is Nothing More than Corporate Contract

July 28, 2000

Washington- Congresswoman McKinney expressed her concern over the recent announcement of the United Nation's Global Compact, which will give corporations the right to use the UN emblem and logo to help rebrand their image. Corporate executives have been invited by Kofi Annan to sign up to a voluntary "partnership" scheme to encourage companies that operate across borders to spread Western-style human and environmental values.

"Once again, the UN has proven its resolve to pander to known human rights abusers. Many of the corporations who have joined the global compact are known and consistent abusers of worker rights, the environment, human rights, and child labor. The idea that the UN expects these corporations to voluntarily change their ways is ludicrous. The global compact will quickly degenerate into nothing more than commercial window dressing." said McKinney.

The scheme will require companies to post on a UN website regular information about the steps they are taking to end sweatshop conditions and environmental degradation. But they will be under no obligation to observe a code of conduct or set minimum standards.

"Companies like Nike have always placed profits and publicity over people. Now the UN is throwing them a softball that will allow them to gain credibility in the global marketplace without any sort of monitoring or verification. Multi-national corporations have resisted any movement towards instituting a serious code of conduct for their overseas operations. The fact that corporations are embracing the global compact demonstrates how ineffectual it will be. The global compact will allow abusive corporations to hide their immoral activities behind the UN flag." said McKinney.

The Global Contact has faced criticism from a broad spectrum of organizations. Many human rights, environmental, and labor groups have thrown their support to a more sensible alternative offered by Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, H.R. 4596, the Corporate Code of Conduct Act.

"The only solution to corporate wrongdoing is a mandatory code of conduct that requires corporations to follow strict standards in terms of human rights, labor rights, and environmental protection. I offer a challenge to corporations and the UN to endorse real protections such as those as I've laid out in the Corporate Code of Conduct Act. If the United Nations wishes to pursue this misguided global compact they might as well change their charter to 'Just Do It'" concluded McKinney.

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