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January 19, 2010
UN Introduces Website for Partnerships with Business
    by Robert Kropp

The need for humanitarian assistance following disasters such as earthquake in Haiti leads to development of the first single interface connecting business with the entire UN system.

Companies seeking assistance in meeting their mission of corporate social responsibility (CSR) should find support at, a website designed to facilitate collaboration between the United Nations and the private sector.

While the site was launched in time to encourage corporate involvement in the Haitian relief effort, and follows recommendations made after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, its intent is to provide companies with an ongoing number of options for humanitarian collaboration. Through the website, business can form long-term strategic relationships with the UN that can lead to opportunities in low income communities and help develop robust international guidelines for industry sectors in need of such help.

In addition to performing an important philanthropic role in society, companies can find opportunities through such collaborations. They include new markets and new areas for growth in developing economies, long-term sustainable profitability, and a strengthened operating environment for their business.

In addition, the reputational enhancement derived from such works can lead to improved employee motivation, increased brand awareness, and demonstration of industry leadership.

The matching function of the website can be browsed and searched by global issue, region, business sector, or UN organization.

Companies that are automatically disqualified from partnerships with the UN are those that are complicit in human rights abuses, tolerate forced or child labor, or manufacture or sell anti-personnel mines.

Development of the website was a joint effort of 20 UN organizations, and was coordinated by the UN Global Compact and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The site was built by Global Hand, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that matches services for nonprofits and business.


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