Leading Danish CSR expert to head UN Global Compact
Former Novo Nordisk executive Lise Kingo was yesterday appointed as the new head of the UN Global Compact. We at GLOBAL CSR applaud the UN Global Compact for the appointment of this internationally renowned CSR expert.
Kingo’s longstanding corporate experience will enable the UN Global Compact to further expand the impressive global platform established by the first Executive Director Georg Kell.
In her role with Novo Nordisk, Ms Kingo helped the company become one of the leading corporations on CSR by spearheading its implementation of international principles for sustainable development.
In 1998, GLOBAL CSR’s CEO Sune Skadegaard Thorsen advised Lise Kingo and Novo Nordisk on their commitment to the international bill of human rights. By 1999, Novo Nordisk became the first company in the world to incorporate its commitment to the international principles into their Articles of Association; the same principles that form the backbone of the UN Global Compact.
A CSR Pioneer
Ms Kingo’s commitment to human rights and business long predates the global minimum standard established by the UN Guiding Principles in 2011. Mr Skadegaard Thorsen recalls how Ms Kingo entrusted him, as the first human rights expert in any multinational enterprise, to join Novo Nordisk in 1999 to develop the company’s human rights strategy.. Given that this was 12 years prior to the introduction of the UN Guiding Principles, this move required both courage and foresight.
“Not only did Lise have to manage the reluctance of external stakeholders and peers in taking on this new approach, but also of her colleagues.”
Kingo’s Novo Nordisk Legacy
“It is crucial to constantly ensure that your investments in sustainable development are based on an appreciation of solid return of investment” said Mr Skadegaard Thorsen.
“It should be obvious to everyone looking at the development of Novo Nordisk – one of the largest companies in the Nordic region – that the strong commitment to sustainable development is continuously paying itself back.”
New opportunities for the UN Global Compact
Aside from heading CSR with Novo Nordisk, Lise Kingo also has experience working in the political sphere as Chair of the Danish Council for Corporate Social Responsibility.
Therefore the UN Global Compact has the potential to reap huge benefits with an Executive Director who both understands how a business functions effectively and recognises the political challenges for proper implementation of the UN Global Compact principles.
Former Executive Director Georg Kell is to be commended for establishing a broad membership basis for the UN Global Compact. Upon retiring, he can be credited with heading the largest CSR initiative in the world.
With Ms Kingo’s appointment, it is time to move the principles of the UN Global Compact into mainstream business practice. With an Executive Director who has experienced the challenges and opportunities of implementation first-hand, we at GLOBAL CSR look forward to following the progression of the UN Global Compact under Lise Kingo’s leadership.