Melbourne to HQ Global CSR Secretariat
18 November 2010 at 2:42 pm
An influential corporate network and think tank has been crucial in bringing a world-wide secretariat on corporate social responsibility to Melbourne under the banner of the United Nations Global Compact.
Under the UN initiative of ‘Principles for Social Investment’, the secretariat is to be created by the Committee For Melbourne and facilitated by the financial support of the Victorian Government and the in-kind support of key members of the Committee for Melbourne.
Founded 25 years ago, the Committee describes itself as an apolitical organisation that looks strategically at issues that impact beyond the short term electoral cycles. The Committee says it brings together Melbourne’s most influential businesses and organisations to work collaboratively to enhance Melbourne – economically, socially and environmentally.
The Secretariat will be the global focal point to facilitate and encourage Social Investment as part of a company's core business.
Committee for Melbourne CEO and Chairman of the interim Principles for Social Investment secretariat, Andrew MacLeod says a group of Melbourne business leaders and the St James Ethics Centre executive director, Simon Longstaff negotiated the deal and developed a memorandum of understanding with the UN Global Compact Office.
MacLeod says the initiative aims to network with some of the 7700 corporates from around the world to share expertise on community investment and philanthropy.
He says the Victorian Government is funding the secretariat with $300,000 a year for the next three years and the Committee has negotiated matched funding from the corporate sector.
Social Investment is the practice of making voluntary financial and non-financial contributions that demonstrably help local communities and broader societies to address their development priorities.
The United Nations Global Compact Principles for Social Investment (PSI) promote contributions that are purposeful, accountable, respectful and ethical.
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align internal operations with its ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption and take action in support of broad UN goals, including the Millennium Development goals (MDGs).
MacLeod says the secretariat will look for synergies between pre-existing programs of social investment of companies and promote knowledge sharing and idea exchange to make all programs better.
As well he says it will encourage common marketing of the role of the private sector in the space of Social Investment and the move from development aid to development investment.
He says member companies of the Committee for Melbourne will continue to play a crucial role in setting up the secretariat as a free standing organisation.
MacLeod says this will give Melbourne a long-term brand with the big consulting companies of the world seeing Australia as the centre of expertise on corporate social responsibility.
The new secretariat's interim board includes Simon Longstaff and representatives from Ernst & Young, Clayton Utz, ANZ and National Australia Bank, and is advised by Sid Myer, Gareth Evans, with corporate observers BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto.
MacLeod says the secretariat will be small and efficient, initially operating out of offices provided by Shell and the Committee for Melbourne will begin hiring in December/January.
He says the first twelve months will be ensuring that the set up of the secretariat is 'fit for purpose'.
For background on the creation of the Principles for Social Investment click here.
For more information on the Committee for Melbourne go to: www.melbourne.org.au