New York, NY (December 17, 2012): On 11th December 2012, students from the Corporate Social Responsibility Clinic presented findings from a recent research project to a high level United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) working group meeting on anti-corruption. The Corporate Social Responsibility Clinic, housed at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice at Fordham Law School, is co-directed by Professors Paolo Galizzi and Daniel Bonilla. PVH Corp. Fellow Emily Smith Ewing supervised the research project.
Speaking to business leaders, academics and members of civil society, Alexander Zozos (‘14) and Jared Curzan (‘13) introduced research on the reporting trends of UNGC “Advanced Level” member companies and suggested means for promoting greater use of the UNGC Anti-Corruption Reporting Guidance.
All active business participants of the UNGC must demonstrate a commitment to a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment and anti-corruption, together comprising the ten principles of the UNGC. Companies must submit an annual communication on progress to publicly disclose how they have progressed in regards to each of the ten principles. Companies that meet an additional twenty-four “Advanced Level” criteria may classify themselves as “Advanced” members.
Anti-corruption was introduced as the 10th principle of the UNGC in 2004 and commits members to avoid bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption, and also to develop policies and concrete programs to address these issues. The Anti-Corruption Reporting Guidance (ACG) was introduced in 2009 as a tool to provide practical guidance to companies as they report on their anti-corruption efforts, an area which had previously been challenging.
The students had been asked to examine eighty out of three hundred self-identified “Advanced” companies to identify reporting trends as to geographic region, industry sector, company size, years of UNGC membership, market capitalization and preferred reporting mechanism, and to provide normative suggestions to promote further use of the ACG.
Other speakers at the meeting included representatives from the UNGC, Transparency International, International Chamber of Commerce, International Business Leaders Forum, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP and Nexen Inc. Discussions focused on reporting issues, fighting corruption in the supply chain, risk assessment initiatives, sport sponsoring and hospitalities, current partnering initiatives, new opportunities for collaboration, and post-2015 development agenda.
The final report will be published in Spring 2013.
The Corporate Social Responsibility Clinic introduces students to the theory and practice of corporate social responsibility law and explores the ways in which the law can be used to foster development that is both socially and ecologically sustainable. In November 2012, the Clinic travelled to Colombia to evaluate the current situation of pro bono work amongst some of the most prominent commercial and criminal law firms in Bogota. During the fall semester 2012, students also worked directly with a multi-billion dollar company in New York to adopt a formal Human Rights Policy in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and to design an internal Human Rights Day.
The Corporate Social Responsibility Clinic is part of the new Corporate Responsibility Program at the Leitner Center, established in the fall 2012. Co-directed by Professor Paolo Galizzi and PVH Corp. Emily Smith Ewing, the Program has developed numerous projects that explore the challenges and opportunities present for companies as they improve their social and environmental impacts whilst still maximizing profits. In the spring 2013, the Program will work with the Sustainable Development Legal Initiative to develop two student projects in Ghana that will look at the social responsibility of corporations and lawyers. The Program will also organize a speaker series and hold a major industry conference on CSR in 2013 as part of the PVH Sustainable Enterprise Program.