CSR Europe's first European MarketPlace on Corporate Social ResponsibilityBRUSSELS – CSR Europe hosted its First European MarketPlace on Corporate Social Responsibility on March 3-4 in Brussels. The event brought together 200 business managers from more than 80 multinational companies from across Europe. The event provided participants with an opportunity to share 100 practical solutions on ways to integrate CSR into daily business practice. Remarking on the marketplace event, Viscount Etienne Davignon, President of CSR Europe, said “With the European Roadmap for Businesses, the time is ripe for business leaders to make a commitment to deliver a more sustainable and competitive enterprise. Thereby, our ambition is clear: Europe’s business leaders and policy makers must work together to achieve a responsible, innovative and inclusive Europe”.
“CSR is not something that is just an ‘add on’ for our business. Finding the right business models to reach social as well as economic goals represents a major challenge but also a great opportunity. It forces us to develop a new mindset for innovation," stated Franck Riboud, CEO Groupe Danone before the conference.
For the first time, top business leaders met with the new European Commission and representatives of the EU’s 25 member states on the issue of CSR. On March 4, with support from European Commission President, José Manuel Barroso, participants launched a European Roadmap for Businesses: For a Sustainable and Competitive Enterprise- a framework from the business community on how to improve companies’ economic, social and environmental performance. On this occasion, Commission Vice-President Günter Verheugen said: “Voluntary business initiatives in the form of corporate social responsibility practices can play an important role in contributing to sustainable development, while enhancing Europe's innovative potential and competitiveness."
At the launch, Commissioner Vladimir Spidla remarked: "Europe is at the forefront of corporate social responsibility. I welcome and support the commitments taken today by European businesses with CSR Europe's Roadmap. CSR can help create more and better jobs. The Commission will therefore continue to promote CSR.’
Serge Foucher, Executive Vice President European Operations Sony, said: “With this Marketplace, CSR Europe offers business a great opportunity. Sony Europe is proud to take part in such a groundbreaking event where business openly shares practical solutions and can learn from each other. This event also demonstrates towards the European Institutions the sound progress that business is making in this field”.
With the forthcoming Commission Communication on CSR expected to be adopted at the end of April, the event provided a timely opportunity to share perspectives.
Coinciding with CSR Europe’s 10th anniversary, an exceptional group of speakers from both business and government participated in the two day event including: Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs & Equal Opportunities, Jacques Delors, the former President of the European Commission; Franck Riboud, Chairman & CEO Danone; Serge Foucher, Executive Vice President European Operations Sony; Stef Witteveen, CEO Randstad Belgium & Luxemburg; Viscount Etienne Davignon, Ministre d’Etat, President CSR Europe, Vice President Suez Tractebel; Patrick De Smedt, Chairman Microsoft EMEA, Francesco Vanni d’Archirafi, chief executive officer of Global Transaction Services for Citigroup EMEA to name just a few.
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Notes for Editors
1. CSR Europe is the leading European business network for corporate social responsibility (CSR), with over 60 multinational corporations as members. Through its network of 19 national partner organisations, CSR Europe reaches out to a further 1,400 businesses across Europe. CSR Europe is building an inspiring network of people throughout Europe who are committed to exchange business best practices in a confidential environment. Founded in 1995 by Jacques Delors and leading European companies, the mission of CSR Europe is to help companies integrate corporate social responsibility into the way they do business, every day. For more information, please visit www.csreurope.org
04 March 2005