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Communication on Progress (COP)

Business participants in the UN Global Compact commit to make the Global Compact Ten Principles part of their business strategies and day-to-day operations. Companies also commit to issue an annual Communication on Progress (COP), a public disclosure to stakeholders (e.g., investors, consumers, civil society, governments, etc.) on progress made in implementing the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, and in supporting broader UN development goals.

The COP is frequently the most visible expression of a participant's commitment to the Global Compact and its principles. Violations of the COP Policy (e.g., failure to issue a COP) will change a participant’s status to non-communicating and can eventually lead to the expulsion of the participant.

All business participants are required to post their COP on the UN Global Compact website and to share it widely with their stakeholders.

The COP requirement serves several important purposes:

      • Advances transparency and accountability;
      • Drives continuous performance improvement;
      • Safeguards the integrity of the UN Global Compact and the United Nations; and
      • Helps build a growing repository of corporate practices to promote dialogue and learning.

Communication on Engagement (COE)

On 31 October 2013 the Global Compact introduced a Communication on Engagement (COE) for non-business participants. This reporting mechanism aims to provide non-business participants with an opportunity to engage more actively in the initiative and to better connect with business participants.

The COE is a tool for non-business participants express their commitment through transparency and communicate the ways they advance the Global Compact. In the spirit of continuous improvement and engagement, non-business participants will be required to disclose specific activities in support of the initiative to stakeholders every two years, as well as results.

The COE is a disclosure of specific activities that a non-business participant takes in support of the Global Compact and its results. The COE is a public document uploaded to the Global Compact website. When possible, the COE must be fully integrated in the organization’s main medium of stakeholder communication, such as an annual report.

COE Policy

Non-business participants in the Global Compact will be required to communicate to stakeholders on their activities in support of the initiative within two years of joining – or two years from 31 October 2013 for existing non-business participants, and every two years thereafter. Failure to submit a COE every two years will result in a change of participant status to “non-communicating”. Organizations that do not submit a COE within one year of becoming “non-communicating” will be expelled from the initiative.

The COE must include the following elements:

  • A statement by the chief executive or equivalent expressing continued support for the Global Compact and renewing the participant’s ongoing commitment to the initiative and its principles.
  • A description of the practical actions that the organization has taken to support the Global Compact principles and to engage with the initiative. Practical actions should relate to one or more of the specific activities suggested to each type of non-business participant in support of the initiative.
  • Measurement of outcomes (i.e. qualitative or quantitative measurements of results).