Global Compact keeps fishing the bodies out the river
The Global Compact has recently announced that it has expelled a total of 3,123 companies since 2005. I've said it before, but in the light of this stat, it bears repeating. This is not a good thing. Rather than fishing all these bodies out the river, it's time someone at the Global Compact found out who was throwing them in.
There are around 7,000 companies in the Global Compact. That makes the number that are no longer in as a result of expulsion to be a massive percentage of those that have at some point joined.
Now, from my point of view, having a percentage that large says more about the Global Compact than it does the businesses that joined.
If I was running that particular show, I would be asking myself why the drop-out rate was so large? And my starting assumption would be that the recruitment process was faulty.
I've seen it before. People are motivated to sell membership. They stress the benefits. They underplay the costs. They get the initial sale - but because the deal was mis-sold it doesn't last. That doesn't matter to the guy that made the sale - it's somebody else's problem.
In its recent announcement, the clue is there. "It is encouraging that the number of new companies joining the Global Compact significantly exceeeds the number of explusions." Indeed. But if I'm right, the percentage of those newcomers that ultimately get expelled will remain high. It's not so encouraging if the fact that high rates of new recruitment means that membership is still being mis-sold.
CSR membership organisations - some of them with real commitments and obligations - do not see such high drop-out rates. I'm not aware of a single one, although I'm sure there's probably some crisis-hit example out there somewhere.
So how is it that so many sign-ups to the Global Compact walk away?
Do we think that when they sign on the dotted line, they are just doing so for fun? Or do they think they're going to be getting a level of support to take action they don't get? Or does the requirement to report get underplayed at the point of sale? Or what?
What is simply not good enough is the Global Compact trumpeting its high expulsion rate as a badge of honour. I know some NGOs have criticised the organisation for not having enough teeth to enforce standards on its members, but reaction to that criticism has led it to see virtue where it should see failure.
Posted on: 14 Feb 2012