Panama is setting up a network to promote corporate responsibility modelled on an initiative championed by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to challenge businesses around the world to act upon a set of universally recognized principles.
Forty-six businesses in Panama have signed on to form a network that seeks to incorporate principles upholding human rights, labour rights and environmental standards as outlined in the Global Compact initiative - a UN inter-agency initiative led by Mr. Annan.
"Enterprises need to adapt their activities to support social development and the well being of the community," said UN Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Elizabeth Fong. UNDP is funding, for six months, the technical secretariat that supports the Global Compact Network-Panama.
Ms. Fong noted that the initiative has already made progress, including recruiting more companies, holding provincial forums and launching an awareness campaign targeting the media. The network’s main challenge will be to promote a change in Panama’s business culture, she added.
The Global Compact Network-Panama plans to complete several major projects this year, including Panama's first study on corporate social responsibility and a partnership with the University of the Pacific in Lima, Peru, to incorporate the concept of corporate social responsibility in university curricula.