Revising the CoP: Background
The UN Global Compact (UNGC), a non-binding United Nations pact, encouraging firms and businesses to think of, adopt and report on more sustainable methods. To ensure a more straightforward reporting it has identified 10 principles (The Ten Principles | UN Global Compact) forming a value system companies should adopt when conducting business. These principles are split into four areas: Human rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-corruption. By incorporating the 10 principles into the companies’ strategies, policies, and procedures it will support fulfilling their basic responsibilities to people and planet.
The UN Global Compact’s Communication on Progress (CoP), introduced in 2004, is an annual disclosure requirement, serving as an accountability mechanism to communicate progress and commitment on the 10 principles by business participants.
In the past years, the demand by stakeholders for reliable corporate ESG data has continuously increased. Additionally, there is a need to better recognize corporate sustainability leadership and impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is why the CoP decided to incorporate changes into the reporting framework for 2023. By doing so it adapts to new trends in the market, becomes more transparent and offers its members a more digitalized version. All participating companies are required, from 2023 onwards, to disclosed using the renewed CoP.
Updates regarding the new reporting format as of 2023
- Format changing from narrative to a standardized questionnaire (No report necessary!)
- Annual submission period will be 1 March through 30 June
- Two minimum requirements: A signed statement from the CEO and the completion of an online questionnaire.
- New digital system and open database
From 2023, companies will no longer have to submit a narrative report on their progress. Instead of the report, companies have to fill in an online questionnaire and provide a signed CEO statement made available by UNGC. The new digital system and open database facilitates easier data input and allows stakeholders to view and download data on participating companies. The thematic areas of the questionnaire are Governance, Human Rights, Labour Standards, Environment & Climate and Anti-Corruption. The questionnaire also asks for specific key figures and sector-specific questions. The scope is 50-70 questions, mainly multiple-choice and answers such as “unknown” or “not applicable” are also possible. Currently, the questionnaire is not adapted to the size of companies but must be filled out completely.
Another main change relates to the timing of when the CoP must be completed and submitted. The previous company-specific deadlines will no longer apply and there will be a reporting period from March to June. There will be no possibility to extend the deadline – companies that do not submit a progress report by 30 June will receive a “non-communicating” status, but will have the opportunity to submit their CoP between July and December to achieve the “active” status again. Companies that have been in “non-communicating” status for six months will be excluded from the UN Global Compact after 31 December.
During March to June, companies have the opportunity to complete the online questionnaire on the UNGC platform. However, the questions can already be viewed and downloaded from the UNGC site in an PDF and Excel format. Companies can therefore already prepare for the questionnaire.
Helpful resources for the new UNGC CoP format
- FAQ-Document on the CoP-Policy
- CoP-Questionnaire as PDF and Excel file (soon the questionnaire will be available also in German)
- Guidebook for the preparation of the CoP questionnaire
- Videos on the UN Global Compact Academy
DFGE Participation in the UNGC Early Adopter Program
DFGE was one out of 1003 companies that took part in the Early Adopter program and had the chance to already fill in the questionnaire in the online format and to test the digital platform. We are very proud that as participants of the program we had the opportunity to give feedback on the questionnaire and the platform and thus contribute to further development.
On the Website of UNGC you can check out our filled questionnaire:
We recommend that supporters of the UNGC already familiarize themselves with the contents of the questionnaire now, collect information on the questions and then complete the questionnaire on the digital platform from March onwards. If you have further questions on the UNGC Communication on progress and the changes, please do not hesitate to contact us at or under +49 8192 99 7 33-20.