The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is the largest “corporate citizenship” (CC) initiative in the world. Almost 4000 companies have signed up for the initiative whereby they voluntarily commit themselves to adhere to ten principles in the areas of human rights, labor rights, the environment and corruption (www.unglobalcompact.org).
Eight years after the launch of the UNGC the question rises how far the participants have progressed in the implementation of the Compact’s principles.
This paper presents the results of an empirical assessment of the implementation process at five Swiss UNGC participants. The results illustrate that CC is a learning process and corporations are at different stages of development. To date, only few companies are implementing CC as intended by the founders of the UNGC yet some aspects show that companies assume a political role in their global business activities. Thus, the study confirms the theoretical argument of corporations contributing to emerging global governance structures (Palazzo/Scherer 2006).