This article takes the critique by Sethi and Schepers (J Bus Ethics, , in this thematic symposium) as a starting point for discussing the United Nations (UNs) Global Compact. While acknowledging the relevance of some of their arguments, we emphasize that a number of their claims remain arguable and are partly misleading. We start by discussing the limits of their proposed framework to classify voluntary initiatives for corporate sustainability and responsibility. Next, we show how a greater appreciation of the historical and political context of the UN Global Compact puts several of their claims into perspective. Finally, we demonstrate that the alleged promise-performance gap rests on a selected and one-sided reading of the initiative. We close by pointing to some challenges that the initiative needs to address in the future.