CSR Europe's Dialogue and Engagement with EU Institutions
Since CSR Europe's inception, there has been ongoing interaction between CSR Europe and the European Commission as well as other EU institutions and stakeholder organisations.
In 1999, the Portuguese EU Presidency, in the presence of 100 representatives of business and government, invited Etienne Davignon and other leaders of CSR Europe to provide input into the European Council Summit on Employment, Economic Reform and Social Cohesion, held in Lisbon in March 2000.
In response to this invitation, top European business leaders prepared 12 concrete proposals for combining economic competitiveness and social responsibility, which were addressed to Heads of State and Governments.
In the conclusions of the spring European Council Summit, 15 Heads of State and Governments responded by making an appeal to business sense of responsibility, thereby placing CSR at the heart of the Lisbon Strategy 2010: "to make Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion by 2010".
Today CSR Europe's relationship with the European Council is largely realised through our participation in regular meetings of the High Level Group of National Representatives on CSR. CSR Europe is invited to discuss progress with regard to the European Alliance on CSR, based on our activities, and to explore the potential to bridge respective initiatives of businesses and public authorities.
CSR Europe has established regular contacts with members of the European Parliament, especially those responsible for producing the Parliament's CSR reports. This relationship has materialised through:
- CSR Europe's participation in parliament hearings on CSR
- Specific meetings between business and Members of Parliament
- Hosting of European Parliament representatives at major events, such as CSR Europe's European MarketPlace on CSR.
Since CSR Europe's inception, there has been ongoing interaction between CSR Europe and the European Commission, resulting in a strong cross-fertilisation of business and EU initiatives on CSR. Read more in the history section.
Today, the European Commission's CSR strategy is embodied in a communication addressed to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee, which was released in March 2006.
The European Commission is currently updating this Communication on CSR and hopes to publish the next edition by the end of September 2011. CSR Europe has had an active role in the establishment of the new European Communication on CSR. To find out more, CSR Europe members can download this informative briefing document: European Commission gears up to launch renewed strategy on CSR
The European Alliance for CSR
This framework of action is a new political approach on CSR by the European Commission, which encompasses the objectives of aiding in the achievement of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs.
The Alliance is based on a dual commitment: that the European Commission and members states strengthen a business friendly environment in which enterprises can flourish and grow; and that, through a voluntary approach, more enterprises in Europe and internationally will further learn and innovate with regards to their governance, management, stakeholder dialogue and product development.
Members of CSR Europe practically engage in the Alliance in five ways:
- Engaging in thematic CSR projects
- Exchanging and disseminating CSR best practices
- Participating in High Level Meetings with other business leaders and European Commissioners
- Supporting the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR
- Engaging with universities and business schools to promote research and education on CSR
Read more about the Alliance.
The European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR
The European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR provides a space for dialogue between European stakeholders about developments in CSR and European policy towards it.
The main objectives of the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR are to improve knowledge of CSR and sustainable development, while exploring opportunities for establishing common guiding principles.
CSR Europe was one of four initial members of the coordination group for the Forum, established in 2002, and has always been a strong advocate. We have contributed to the objectives, process and rules of the Forum and, together with the European Social Platform, Business Europe and ETUC, have collaborated in the preparation of the Forum's final report and recommendations released in June 2004 (see full list of members).
The Forum Coordination Committee is closely involved in new initiatives on business and human rights and on reporting and disclosure. The last meeting was held in November 2010 - for which CSR Europe prepared an official contribution and recommendation.
Today, CSR Europe will continue to participate in the coordination committee of the Forum with a view to preparing the next conference, to be held in 2012. Read more about the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on the European Commission's website.
Integration of CSR within European Policy
In 2010, the European Commission launched a Communication entitled “Europe 2020 – A strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” and published on March 3rd, 2010 the European Commission announced that “At EU level, the Commission will work to renew the EU strategy to promote Corporate Social Responsibility as a key element in ensuring long term employee and consumer trust.” This is included in Chapter 2 on “Smart, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth” and is one of the 7 Flagship Initiatives dealing with “An industrial policy for globalisation era” (page 15).
It is against this background that CSR Europe launched our own Enterprise 2020 strategy. In the context of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy, Enterprise 2020 also highlights the contribution that businesses can make to achieve the EU goals for building a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy delivering high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion by 2020.
CSR Europe's Dialogue and Engagement with Other European Stakeholders
CSR Europe engages with multiple stakeholders through a number of different channels:
- The European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR, a dialogue to review progress and gaps regarding CSR from a European perspective. Partners include for example ETUC, Business Europe, EUROSIF, Eurocadres.
- The European MarketPlace on CSR, a forum for the exchange of best practice solutions to CSR challenges, shared among company representatives, European policy makers and other stakeholders.
- Thematic CSR projects that bring together business practitioners, stakeholders and EU representatives to share experience and engage in joint operational projects. Participants include for example: the Foreign Trade Association, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, the Dutch ministry of Economic Affairs, the European Federation of Financial Analysts.
- Provision of CSR tailored services to member companies, including facilitation of dialogue and engagement with stakeholders.
- CSR Europe and the Copenhagen Centre teamed up in 2002 with universities and business schools across Europe to found the European Academy of Business in Society. EABIS and CSR Europe share the same President, Viscount Etienne Davignon, as well as many corporate members, including the core founding members IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Shell, Microsoft and Unilever.