About the UN Global Compact


Home / About the UN Global Compact / Communcation on Progress (COP)

Communcation on Progress (COP)

On 25 February 2011, the UN Global Compact introduced a revised Communication on Progress (COP) Policy to reflect its new participant differentiation approach.  What follows is a summary of the policy; the full content can be found here

1. Business participants are required to communicate progress annually with stakeholders

A COP is a direct communication from business participants to their stakeholders. For this reason, participants are required to make their COP widely available. While the overall format is flexible, each COP must contain the following three elements: 

  •  A statement by the chief executive expressing continued support for the Global Compact and renewing the participant's ongoing commitment to the initiative and its principles.
  • A description of practical actions (i.e., disclosure of any relevant policies, procedures, activities) that the company has taken (and plans to take) to implement the Global Compact principles in each of the four issue areas (human rights, labour, environment, anti-corruption). 

Note: In cases where a COP does not address one or more of the four issue areas, an explanation must be provided ("report or explain").

  • A measurement of outcomes (i.e., the degree to which targets/performance indicators were met, or other, qualitative or quantitative, measurements of results).


2. Business participants must submit their annual COP on the Global Compact website

A COP must be submitted at the latest 12 months from the date of joining and every 12 months thereafter. 

Business participants are required to submit to the Global Compact COP database an electronic version of their COP (preferably a PDF file) and, if available, a link (URL) to the web page that contains their COP. Additionally, participants must complete a brief questionnaire on the content of their COP.



Business participants that submit a timely COP will be classified in one of two categories:

  1. Business participants that submits a timely COP that meets all the COP requirements will be categorized as "GC Active".
  2. Business participants that go beyond the minimum COP requirements can identify themselves as "GC Advanced" by adopting and reporting on a range of sustainability strategy, governance and management practices.


The Learner Grace Period

A business participant whose submitted COP does not meet the requirements (see Section 1 above) will be given a one-time, 12-month “Learner” grace period to submit a new COP that meets all requirements. During that time, participants will receive active support and assistance from the Global Compact Office and from their Local Network through the Learner Platform.


Non-communicating status

A business participant will be designated “non-communicating” on the Global Compact website if:

  • it fails to submit a COP within the required deadlines (see Section 2 of COP Requirements above).
  • it fails to submit a COP that meets all requirements (see Section 1 of COP Requirements above) within the Learner grace period.
  • it fails more than once to submit a COP that meets all COP requirements within the required deadlines.


Modification of COP Deadlines

Adjustment Request
Business participants can adjust their COP submission deadlines to their reporting cycles by submitting an adjustment request to the Global Compact website, indicationg the timing of the participant's reporting cycle. Such a request will result in a one-time deadline deferral of up to 11 months. 

Grace Period

In case of a foreseeable delay in COP submission, business participants may request a grace period of 90 days from the COP deadline by submitting a grace request on the UN Global Compact webiste, providing a reasonable explanation for the delay and stating the date by which the COP will be submitted. Any grace period granted will reset the COP deadline (e.g., if the original COP deadline is 1 January 2014 and the race period ends 1 April 2014, then the next COP deadline will be 1 April 2015).

Expulsion from the Global Compact

  • If a non-communicating participant fails to submit a COP that meets all COP requirements within a year of becoming non-communicating, it will be expelled from the Global Compact and the name of expelled participants will be made public on the Global Compact website.
  • All organizations that have been expelled must reapply to join the initiative.


Read more about the Comminication on Progress (COP) process here 

Last update: 2016-01-08