The European Business Network
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History

CSR Europe – 20 years of business-policy interaction driving the CSR movement

2010 - 2015

2010 saw the launch of Enterprise 2020, an ambitious initiative to shape the business contribution to the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy. Enterprise 2020 is CSR Europe’s flagship initiative, encompassing all its campaigns in the coming years, and was the only business-led initiative to be taken on by the European Commission in its European Strategy on CSR. At the end of the Enterprise 2020 Summit 2012, business leaders together with José Manuel Barroso, then President of the European Commission, and Herman Van Rompuy, then President of the European Council, called for closer collaboration on growth and jobs.

2005 - 2010

In 2005, 400 business and stakeholder practitioners launched the European Roadmap for Businesses – “Towards a Competitive and Sustainable Enterprise,” which outlined the goals of CSR Europe in the coming years. This Roadmap also laid the foundations of a comprehensive CSR blueprint, which the European Commission included in its European Strategy on CSR.

2000 - 2005

By 2000, the momentum created by the network of businesses prompted EU Heads of State and Governments to make an Appeal on CSR at the Lisbon Summit, which pledged to make Europe “capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion by 2010.” By pushing for this Appeal, CSR Europe prompted the European Commission to engage more strategically with business and stakeholders in developing a European Strategy on CSR; the first strategy being adopted in 2002.

In response to this Appeal, CSR Europe led the first European Campaign on CSR, encouraging and equipping enterprises to mainstream CSR into their business strategies and practices. It is at that time that CSR Europe also co-founded with a small group of business schools and universities the European Academy of Business in Society (now The Academy of Business in Society, ABIS) to embed CSR in the research and curriculum of future managers.

1995 - 2000

In 1995, two years after Jacques Delors - President of the European Commission (1985-1995) - called on enterprises to combat social exclusion and unemployment, 20 business leaders adopted the European Business Declaration against Social Exclusion. 

In 1996, the European Business Network for Social Cohesion was formed (later renamed CSR Europe) to create a space for men and women in business to share experiences, develop solutions and engage in a smart policy dialogue with the EU with a view to enhancing corporate social responsibility within their organisations and beyond.