The EU Commission approved a new European strategy on corporate social responsibility

26/10/2011 / Kaj

The Commission will work with Member States, enterprises and other stakeholders to periodically monitor progress and to jointly prepare a review meeting to be held by mid 2014. In preparation for that meeting the Commission will publish a report on the implementation of the agenda for action set out in this communication. This will require more coordinated working methods between the European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR and the High Level Group of CSR representatives of Member States. The Commission will present an operational proposal for this by the end of 2011.

On the basis of this communication, the European Commission would welcome discussion with and commitments from the Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions, enterprises and other stakeholders.

The Commission calls on European business leaders, including those from the financial sector, to issue, before mid 2012, an open and accountable commitment to promote, in close cooperation with public authorities and their other stakeholders, the uptake of responsible business conduct by a much larger number of EU enterprises, with clear targets for 2015 and 2020.

What progress has been made at EU level and what challenges remain?

European policy on CSR to date has contributed to progress in the field of CSR. Indicators of progress include:

  • The number of EU enterprises that have signed up to the ten CSR principles of the United Nations Global Compact has risen from 600 in 2006 to over 1900 in 2011.
  • The number of organisations with sites registered under the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) has risen from 3,300 in 2006 to over 4,600 in 2011.
  • The number of EU companies signing transnational company agreements with global or European workers’ organisations, covering issues such as labour standards, rose from 79 in 2006 to over 140 in 2011.
  • The Business Social Compliance Initiative, a European, business-driven initiative for companies to improve working conditions in their supply-chains, has increased its membership from 69 in 2007 to over 700 in 2011.
  • The number of European enterprises publishing sustainability reports according to the guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative rose from 270 in 2006 to over 850 in 2011.

Despite this progress, important challenges remain. Many companies in the EU have not yet fully integrated social and environmental concerns into their operations and core strategy. Accusations persist of the failure of a small minority of European enterprises to respect core labour standards and human rights. Only 15 out of 27 EU Member States have national policy frameworks to promote CSR.

The new strategy introduces important new elements which can help further extend the impact of European efforts to encourage corporate social responsibility.

Read the new European strategy act_en


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