CSR Europe - 15 Years of Business-Policy Interaction Driving the CSR Movement
Since the early 1990s, the network of CSR Europe has played a key role in fostering dialogue and cooperation between business, policymakers and other stakeholders to advance the CSR movement in Europe and globally.
1993 European Commission President Jacques Delors makes an appeal to business on CSR
In June 1993, President of the European Commission Jacques Delors makes an appeal to businesses' talents and solutions to address Europe's structural problems of unemployment, restructurations and social exclusion. He invites enterprises to adopt a European Declaration against Social Exclusion.
1994 Pioneering companies design first level playing field for CSR
In response to the Delors Appeal, Glaverbel, Levis, BP, Accor, Philips, Bayer, BT, the London Enterprise Agency, the Manifeste Français des Entreprises contre l'Exclusion and Uniapac - with coordination by Patrick Venturini and Jan Noterdaeme for the European Commission - define the principles, areas of action and examples for business involvement in joint efforts against social exclusion in Europe.
1995 The European Business Declaration against Social Exclusion
On 10 January 1995, 20 business leaders and Jacques Delors adopt and announce the European Business Declaration against Social Exclusion. Signatories call for the development of a European network for the exchange of information and experience.
1996 The European Business Network for Social Cohesion
Under the umbrella of the King Baudouin Foundation and with the support of the European Commission, the initial group of company signatories of the Declaration appoints Ann Vandenhende and Jan Noterdaeme to set up and coordinate the European Business Network for Social Cohesion (renamed CSR Europe in 2000).
1997 Businesses engage in the European Year against Racism
Among its very first activities, the network succeeds in mobilising a critical mass of companies across Europe for sharing best practice and building new knowledge and tools to address discrimination at work and in the community.
1998 Launch of CSR Europe's online resource centre
In October 1998, business leaders together with the President of the European Commission Jacques Santer launch the European Resource Centre on CSR (later integrated into CSR Europe's website). In the same year, Viscount Etienne Davignon hosts CSR Europe's first Advisory Board including representatives from IBM, Randstad, Johnson & Johnson, Shell, Accor and Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations.
1999 The European Day - "Business & Government Joining Forces for Employment and Social Cohesion"
The forthcoming Portuguese EU Presidency invites Etienne Davignon and other leaders of CSR Europe and The Copenhagen Centre for CSR (merged in 2007 with the CSR Unit of the Danish Commerce and Companies Agency to form the Danish Centre for CSR) to provide input into the European Summit on Employment, Economic Reform and Social Cohesion to be held in Lisbon in March 2000. President of the European Commission Romano Prodi and European Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou provide strong backing for this Portuguese invitation.
2000 European business leaders present plans for promoting CSR to Portuguese Prime Minister
Top European business leaders meet with Prime Minister Antonio Guterres on 8 March 2000. Twenty CEOs address all Heads of State and Governments and propose 12 concrete ways to build an entrepreneurial and inclusive knowledge society; develop a culture of communication and multiplication of best practices; expand teaching of corporate social responsibility, corporate citizenship and business ethics; invest in public-private partnerships for effective responses to economic and social challenges. For Etienne Davignon, the Lisbon Summit is the right moment for governments and the European Commission to recognise that businesses can successfully combine economic competitiveness and social responsibility.
2000 European Heads of State and Governments make an appeal on CSR
In the conclusions of the European Lisbon Summit, 15 Heads of State and Governments make an appeal on the business case for responsibility, 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."
2001 Belgian EU Presidency Conference on CSR
In the closing debate of the Belgian EU Presidency Conference on CSR, and in reply to ETUC's request to negotiate a European Directive on CSR Transparency, Etienne Davignon proposes to set up a European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR. Viscount Davignon and Alan Christie share with the 400 participants some of the aims and planned activities of CSR Europe's new European Campaign, including: preparing the future generation of tomorrow's managers through the European Academy of Business in Society; helping SMEs to evaluate and strengthen their social responsibility by using the SME Key toolkit; equipping the European investment community with the SRI Compass, an online reference guide to green and ethical funds in Europe.
2002 First European Commission Communication on CSR
In response to the Lisbon Appeal on CSR and on the basis of a wide consultation (Green Paper), the European Commission releases its first Communication on CSR. Its highlights include a European definition of CSR ("CSR is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis"); the principle of a European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR; and the way in which the European Commission relates CSR to specific European policies.
2002 Launch of the European Academy of Business in Society
CSR Europe and The Copenhagen Centre team up with universities and business schools to found the European Academy of Business in Society (since 2010 EABIS - The Academy of Business in Society). Its mission is to be a world-class reference point for the integration of CSR into the mainstream of business practice, theory and education, and to enhance models for sustainable business success. Viscount Etienne Davignon, Mads Ovlisen (Chair TCC and Novo Nordisk) and European Commissioner Philippe Busquin set the ground for new European support for CSR research through the European Research Framework Programme.
2002 European Commissioner for Trade challenges business
In December 2002, in presence of Georg Kell from the United Nations Global Compact, European Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy challenges CSR Europe's General Assembly to forge business to business alliances towards trade for aid activities. He urges CSR Europe members to provide more best practice information to businesses worldwide and to contribute fully to the European Multi-stakeholder Forum on CSR.
2003 CSR Europe adopts new strategy to mainstreaming CSR
After five years of intense campaigning, awareness raising and knowledge building across Europe, CSR Europe member companies decide to renew the organisation's mission: to help enterprises mainstream CSR into business strategy and practice. CSR Europe's Board of Directors appoints Bernard Giraud from Danone as the first Executive Director of CSR Europe.
2004 The European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR
Starting October 2002, together with ETUC, UNICE (today BUSINESSEUROPE) and the European Platform of NGOs, CSR Europe coordinates the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR hosted by the European Commission. A Final Report is presented in June 2004, including common principles and values; a base line understanding on CSR; nine recommendations for future CSR knowledge and capacity building in and beyond Europe.
2005 The first European MarketPlace and the Roadmap on CSR
CSR Europe celebrates its 10th anniversary with the first European MarketPlace on CSR, where 400 business and stakeholder practitioners come together to share practical CSR solutions. At this occasion, Frank Welvaert, Chair of the Board of CSR Europe, presents the European Roadmap for Businesses - "Towards a Competitive and Sustainable Enterprise". In response to the Roadmap, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso offers businesses a new partnership. Commissioners Günter Verheugen (Enterprise and Industry) and Vladimir Spidla (Employment and Social Affairs) invite Etienne Davignon and CSR Europe's member companies to elaborate on this partnership.
2005 First Sino-European International Conference on CSR in Beijing
Frank Welvaert, Chair of CSR Europe's Board of Directors, and European Commissioner Vladimir Spidla open the Sino-European International Forum on CSR co-organised by CSR Europe and WTO China in Beijing in September 2005. One year later, CSR Europe and ORSE release a joint publication on CSR in China aimed at supporting investors in China who are looking to combine performance requirements and sustainable development priorities.
2006 Second European Commission Communication on CSR and the European Alliance for CSR
Building upon the outcomes of the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum and further consultations with business leaders, the European Commission renews its policy on CSR through a communication to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee. The communication entitled "Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs: making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility on CSR" entails key elements such as: the integration of CSR within relevant European policies - with a strong focus on development and trade; the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR; the European Alliance for CSR; the High Level Group of Government Representatives on CSR; support for CSR research.
2006 The second European MarketPlace and the European Cartography on CSR
More than 500 practitioners gather at CSR Europe's second European MarketPlace on CSR on 22 June 2006. More than 120 company solutions on CSR are presented in and around the ten priority areas defined in the European Business Roadmap and the European Alliance for CSR. Together with its national partner organisations, CSR Europe launches a European Cartography on CSR. Based on a survey of over 500 business solutions and 140 business networking activities, it provides valuable indications on how and where in Europe CSR business innovation is occurring. It also highlights some remaining gaps in the area of CSR and identifies different types of constraints companies face when implementing CSR.
2007 Three high level meetings in light of the European Alliance for CSR
First High Level Meeting of the European Alliance for CSR
The Vice President of the European Commission Günter Verheugen and European Commissioner Vladimir Spidla invite business leaders to a first High Level Meeting of the European Alliance in Brussels on 8 February 2007 to review progress of the Alliance and to have an open debate on the linkages between CSR and competitiveness, in support of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs.
European Commission Director Generals meet business practitioners to explore synergies
On 10 October 2007, Viscount Etienne Davignon together with the European Commission's Director Generals of Employment and Enterprise invite business practitioners to meet with representatives of several Directorate-Generals of the Commission. Together they explore how to better link some CSR priority issues with specific European policies and initiatives.
High-Level Group of National Representatives on CSR
The High-Level Group of National Representatives on CSR coordinated by the European Commission meets in Brussels on 16 October 2007. Subsequently, the group holds regular meetings bringing together representatives of EU Member States, EU institutions, CSR Europe and other stakeholder organisations.
2007 The third European MarketPlace and a new website section on the European Alliance for CSR
More than 600 company and stakeholder representatives attend the third European MarketPlace on CSR on 29 November 2007 to share innovative solutions to today's business challenges. In addition to an exhibition of company initiatives, the event introduces a new format of co-building solutions to CSR challenges in CSR Laboratories. CSR Europe also launches its renewed website, making over 600 company CSR solutions publicly available.
2008 The European Toolbox for a Competitive and Responsible Europe
CSR Europe launches the European Toolbox for a Competitive and Responsible Europe based on the first results of the CSR Laboratories, cross-sectoral business-stakeholder cooperation projects under the umbrella of the European Alliance for CSR. The Toolbox includes information, ideas and advice designed to help companies and their stakeholders address socio-economic and environmental challenges and integrate CSR into mainstream business practice.
2009 The European Toolbox Roadshow
CSR Europe, together with its national partner organisations, organises a European Toolbox Roadshow to present the CSR Toolbox to additional companies and stakeholders across Europe.
2010 Enterprise 2020
CSR Europe launches Enterprise 2020, a strategic initiative to shape the business contribution to the EU's Europe 2020 Strategy.