UN Global Compact ban recognizes the tobacco industry’s incompatibility with responsible, sustainable business

Following its Board meeting in July 2017, UN Global Compact will exclude tobacco companies from participating in the initiative.


Joint Statement
 by NCD Alliance (NCDA), Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (The Union), Vital Strategies, World Heart Federation (WHF) and Tobacco Free Kids (TFK).

12 September 2017, New York/Geneva.– The global noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) community has welcomed today’s announcement by the UN Global Compact (UNGC) to exclude the tobacco industry from participating in the initiative. UNGC is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals.

Following an extensive consultation process conducted to review UNGC’s integrity measures, a series of eight key recommendations were presented across three key areas (entry, engagement, exit) with a view to enhancing UNGC policies and procedures to better safeguard the brand and reputation of the United Nations and to ensure promotion and recognition of responsible business.

As a result, UNGC decided to align exclusionary criteria with the UN System, and specifically with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), and exclude the tobacco industry from participating in the initiative.

“We applaud the UN Global Compact for its leadership in banning the tobacco industry, which would have tried to use this association only to further its own ends. This decision sends a strong message that the tobacco industry’s activities around the globe are incompatible with an initiative committed to responsible business, corporate sustainability and sustainable development. Given its role in spreading death and disease among millions of people and exacerbating poverty, the tobacco industry can only ever be a hindrance to sustainable development and the UN Goals,” said José Luis Castro, President of the NCD Alliance (NCDA).

Tobacco consumption is a major cause of NCDs – mainly cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Today, tobacco kills 7 million people per year, a figure that is expected to rise to 8 million by 2030.

Tobacco products are fundamentally misaligned with UNGC’s commitment to advancing business action towards 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) to “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, and is in direct conflict with the right to public health. The latest WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic published on 19 July 2017 stated that the tobacco industry continues to hamper government efforts to fully implement life- and cost-saving interventions, and as such interferes with health regulations.

Read the UN Global Compact Board meeting report by clicking here.
Read the UN Global Compact official press release by clicking here.