The European Commission has published a communication on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a contribution to more sustainable economic growth, in which it proposes a new definition for CSR with emphasis on human rights, transparency in the logging and mining industries and alignment with UN standards.
25 October 2011: The European Commission has published a communication on corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a contribution to more sustainable economic growth.
In the communication, titled “A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility,” the Commission proposes a new definition for CSR as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society” according to which, in addition to complying with legislation and collective agreements negotiated between social partners, enterprises should have a process in place to integrate social, environmental, ethical human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy, in close cooperation with their stakeholders to identify, prevent and mitigate possible adverse impacts on society and the environment.
The Commission puts forward a CSR action agenda for the period 2011-2014, covering eight areas, including: leveraging EU policies in the fields of consumption, investment and public procurement to promote market rewards for responsible business conduct; improving company disclosure of social and environmental information; and better alignment with global approaches to CSR, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Tri-partite Declaration of Principles on Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility.
The Commission aims to monitor the commitments of large European enterprises to take account of internationally recognized guidelines and principles. It commits to present a report on EU priorities for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and develop human rights guidance for a limited number of industrial sectors and for small businesses. The Commission also is proposing to improve transparency and promote sustainable business among multinationals corporations (MNCs). Accordingly, mining and forestry companies would have to be more open about taxes, royalties and bonuses paid worldwide, through a system of Country-by-Country Reporting, which would apply to EU privately-owned large companies or companies listed in the EU. [EU Press Release] [EU Memo] [Publication: A Renewed EU Strategy 2011-14 for Corporate Social Responsibility]