Comments on the Appointment of 3M VP Gayle Schueller to UN Global Compact USA Network Board

The Empathy Surplus Project has been a participant of the UN Global Compact since March 2014. The UN Global Compact is organized around networks, defined as the country in which your business or organization is headquartered.

ESP is a civil society participant of the USA Network, which organized in 2016, sixteen years after the UN Global Compact’s founding in 2000. The ESP supports the ten principles of the UN GC that promote human rights, living work/leisure, climate survival, and anti-corruption of government.

As the CEO of ESP, I was recently asked to comment on the potential appointment of Gayle Schueller, VP and Chief Sustainability Officer of 3M. Here’s a link to the board selection process. The comment period will end in mid-October.

Board Comment Email To: Adam Gordon, Executive Director

Dear Adam,

Happy Autumn! I hope you are well. Reaching out to you has been on my ToDo List. I am sending you and the board members complimentary copies of the Illustrated Universal Declaration of Human Rights in pocketbook form. We use it in our Human Rights Pocketbook Venture, a positive peace youth education initiative. Here’s a link to the 3rd edition.

Uniting Business Live – Virtual UN Forum at 75th General Assembly – Hosted by UN Global Compact

I attended the Uniting Business Live at the 75th UN General Assembly. It felt like the USA was underrepresented. I would love to know the Network attendance breakdown. I attended the virtual panel discussion that Mike Roman, 3M CEO, participated and appreciated his insights. Your email request for comments about the UNGC’s invitation to Gayle Schueller to serve on the USA Network Board prompted me to look up 3M’s 2020 Communication on Progress.

3M’s 2020 Communication on Progress

The Empathy Surplus Project Foundation is focused on caring thought leadership education, so words are important to us. The UNGC is now calling on all of us to go from commitment to action. A quick word search in 3Ms 2020 Communication on Progress for the word “human rights” left me impressed at 3Ms commitment to use those words 89 times, and the word environment was used 280 times, as was climate 157 times. Both Mike and Gayle mention the UN Global Compact in their COP/Annual Report statements.

I share these insights because your email did not link any of Gayle’s activities to our ten principles around which participant organizations are called to align. Those ten principles promote human rights, living work/leisure, climate survival, and anti-corruption of government. Cognitive science tells us that when we consistently and repetitively talk about caring ideas that we stand for, we strengthen those caring ideas in our stakeholders’ brains. Gayle may be able to help the USA Network do better at promoting the ten principles.

Having done this linkage research myself, I am thrilled that Gayle will be a part of the USA Network board. Here are some challenges for the board that I took away from my experience at Uniting Business Live.

Challenges for the USA Network Board

The USA Network participants are failing at recruiting Municipalities and Cities to the UN Global Compact. And it’s not because business participants are not talking to elected leaders or contributing to political campaigns. Every major USA Network business participant has a government relations department that is fully engaged in lobbying efforts. Our failure to recruit municipalities begs the question of whether business signatories are inviting them.

The theme of Uniting Business Live was “From Commitment to Action.” The USA is on the verge of becoming an authoritarian dictatorship. Ethical businesses have been ineffective at calling for anti-corruption legislation that prevents corporate takeover of public government. We are failing at reaching SDG #16, which calls for the “Promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for (circular) development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

USA ranks 121st most peaceful nation behind China, Belarus, and Cuba

The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) in their 2020 Global Peace Index ranks the USA as the 121st most peaceful nation because of individual Americans’ lack of recognition of one another’s human rights. The USA ranks behind China (104), behind Belarus (94), behind Cuba (86), behind Rwanda (81), behind the UK (42), behind Italy (31), behind Canada (6), and behind Iceland (1).

Reversing USA’s empathy deficit and building an empathy surplus starting in Ohio

I live in Wilmington, Ohio. The IEP in its 2012 US State Peace Index ranked Ohio as the 22nd most peaceful state. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Map, Ohio ranks 10th in the number of hate groups. I have asked my county commissioners to join the UN Global Compact every year since my NGO joined in 2014. They have declined every year, yet they, like most Ohio counties, have a local economic development board. One commissioner told me in an open session that if he started talking about human rights locally that his constituents would laugh at him.

Relief from the Extreme Conservatism Pandemic

In addition to a COVID pandemic, the USA has an extreme conservatism pandemic, where unethical businesses in organizations like A.L.E.C., actively teach elected officials to inhibit the exercise of empathy for and responsibility to people as governing principles. The extreme conservative pandemic curve must be flattened if our democratic institutions are to survive. You can read my assessment in the Empathy Surplus Project Foundation 2020 Communication on Engagement. Suffice it to say that Milton Friedman and Grover Norquist’s dream of drowning public government in a bathtub is on the verge of becoming a reality. The USA Network can do better at protecting public government from corporate corruption. It’s our civic task outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and our ten principles.

Gayle Schueller Can Help the USA Network Do Better

Here’s a link to my most recent count of the USA Network businesses doing business in Ohio, and 3M is among them. The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights lays out the DUTY TO CARE and protect human rights as the State’s first responsibility. Part one is entitled The State Duty to Protect Human Rights. The American ideal is a government of, by, and for people. 3M mentioned this document in its 2020 COP. Gayle can help the USA Network do better.

An Invitation to the USA Network Board

The Empathy Surplus Project Foundation invites the USA Network Board to the following four concrete actions:

  • Continue to reframe sustainable to circular, as in a circular caring economy and circular development goals. If we sustain what we’re doing, humanity goes extinct.
  • Encourage ethical businesses in their COP/Annual Reports to reframe the words regulate, regulation, regulators, and regulatory environment. To strengthen anti-corruption efforts, reframe them to protect, public protection, pubic protectors, and an effective government environment.
  • Encourage the UNGC to re-establish its 2009 Collaboration with Rotary International. Rotary International has seven human rights causes and a massive foundation. Fifty Rotarians helped write the UN Charter. Rotary International was in attendance this week at the UN because they have a seat on the Economic and Social Council.
  • Create a funded strategy to recruit municipalities, primarily rural midwestern municipalities, to the UNGC. Since Rotary is in virtually every county in the country, the re-established RI / UNGC collaboration could help.