Communication on Progress (COP)
Signatories to the UN Global Compact are required to submit a Communication on Progress (COP) every year detailing how they have responded to the 10 principles.
Launch of the Global Compact Differentiation Framework
On 5 October 2010) the UN Global Compact Office launched the Global Compact Differentiation Framework, a practical roadmap to help all companies in the Global Compact improve sustainability performance and disclosure and to give recognition for progress made. Read more here.
Using the Communication on Progress (COP) as its platform, the Differentiation Framework features basic, intermediate and advanced performance levels:
* At the basic level, the Framework aims to help smaller and less experienced companies make progress in the implementation of the Global Compact principles, ensuring that the initiative remains inclusive of companies of all sizes, regions and industry sectors. For this purpose, the Global Compact Office is introducing a basic COP template and other resources to support companies in their efforts towards greater sustainability and in communicating progress in a way that fits their context of operation.
* At the intermediate level, the framework recognizes companies that use the standard COP process, cover all Global Compact principles and communicate directly with stakeholders on progress made, using accepted standards of disclosure and transparency, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
* At the advanced level, companies are asked to complete an online questionnaire covering the content of their COP and assessing their implementation of the Global Compact principles. At this stage, the Framework follows the Global Compact's Blueprint for Corporate Sustainability Leadership and offers stakeholders a public resource to benchmark sustainability performance and disclosure against global best practices.
There is significant variation in how COPs can be written and formatted. Companies may choose to go systematically through each of the 10 principles. For instance, see this COP from Allens Arthur Robinson. Alternatively, companies may create an indicator table which can be used to find the relevant details within a larger report. This is a model employed by BHP Billiton here. Size is also highly variable. COPs can be anywhere from 5 pages to 200 pages, depending on many variables such as the size of the company.
Writing a COP can be challenging, especially for the first time. However there are many excellent resources on the UN Global Compact website. In addition, the UN Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) hopes to coordinate training sessions on how to write a Communication on Progress. If you are already a signatory, you will be updated on when these training sessions are available. If you are not a signatory but interested in receiving this information, contact the Secretariat Global Compact Network Australia: email@example.com
All COPs are published on the UN Global Compact Website providing an excellent repository and are searchable from here.
For advice on writing a COP see the UNGC's:Practical Guide to the United Nations Global Compact Communication on Progress (COP)