Case Western Reserve University, the city of Cleveland and Cleveland Clinic marked Earth Day 2008 with a joint commitment to corporate responsibility towards the environment, human rights, labor rights and anti-corruption. The three organizations became members of the United Nations Global Compact today (April 22) at city hall with President Barbara Snyder, Mayor Frank Jackson and Oliver Henkel, Chief External Affairs Officer from Cleveland Clinic, signing on to support and advance the 10 principles of the compact.
"Case Western Reserve University prides itself on being a leader in sustainability and social responsibility," said Snyder. "By bringing the university, city and Clinic together through the United Nations Global Compact, we can begin to work with one another to address social, economic and environmental issues both locally and globally."
The Global Compact is an international initiative to promote responsible corporate citizenship. With over 4,000 worldwide corporate members, including companies such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft, it is the world's largest social responsibility movement.
Cities, corporations, academic institutions, non-profit groups and other organizations join the compact to promote corporate citizenship to make business part of the solution to the challenges of globalization. By joining, these organizations voluntarily take responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities and other stakeholders, as well as the environment through sustainability and ethical business practices.
"By joining the Global Compact, the city of Cleveland is making a commitment to take a greater role in contributing to society and the environment," said Jackson. "Together with Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Clinic, we can put Cleveland on the map as a leader in sustainability, which we believe can be a key driver of future growth in the region."
Henkel added, "Cleveland Clinic is committed to the development of sustainable, socially responsible environments for the benefit of a healthy society. We proudly affirm the principles of the United Nations Global Compact along with Case Western Reserve University and the City of Cleveland."
Case Western Reserve has played a role in the development of the Global Compact. Secretary General Kofi Annan called up on the center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB) at the Weatherhead School of Management to facilitate the first meeting of the of business leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in 2004. Recently, BAWB and Case Western Reserve were designated secretariat of the Global Compact in the United States, making Cleveland a "hub" for social responsibility in North America.
To that end, the university has been a leader by example in the region through initiatives like its Suppliers Diversity Initiative to eliminate barriers for purchasing and contracting, resulting in more opportunities for minority and female-owned businesses.
Other programs include an upgrading and retrofitting of the mechanic and lighting systems in every building on campus and the "adoption" of households in neighboring areas to conduct energy interventions in an effort to reduce energy bills for fixed-income home owners.
The city of Cleveland also has taken measures to put it at the front of this worldwide movement. In 2006, Jackson signed on to the Mayor's Climate Protection Agreement, recognizing the importance of addressing climate change.
The city has challenged local businesses to buy local to help support the local economy, protect the environment and support local jobs. Through its sustainability office, the city is reaching out to residents and businesses to engage in a dialogue on how to build a "green city on a blue lake."
Case Western Reserve also hosted a Global Compact forum in 2006 which brought over 400 business leaders and educators from over 40 countries to Northeast Ohio and resulted in plans for transforming business education that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is now leading. In November 2007, the school and Fairmount Minerals hosted the first Global Compact regional meeting. Fairmount Minerals was the first business organization in the region to join the Global Compact. The company recently was named a No. 1 Corporate Citizen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Case Western Reserve University is committed to the free exchange of ideas, reasoned debate and intellectual dialogue. Speakers and scholars with a diversity of opinions and perspectives are invited to the campus to provide the community with important points of view, some of which may be deemed controversial. The views and opinions of those invited to speak on the campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.