20 January 2012, BRUSSELS, Belgium – CSR Europe, the European Business network for Corporate Social Responsibility, welcomed around 35 sector organisations to discuss potential collaboration on sustainability. The theme of the meeting, “Business Leadership: How can corporate sector associations in Brussels jointly support the EU’s renewed commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility?,” provided the ideal backdrop for sector organisations to discuss how to cooperatively support the European Commission’s renewed agenda on CSR.
CSR Europe welcomed 35 representatives from various sectors, ranging from the cosmetics sector to the food and drink and financial sectors. The meeting put forward an underlying message that solving today’s sustainability challenges cannot be achieved by the work of one sector alone and that both a stronger sector approach and a cross-sector dimension are needed. Pedro Ortun, representing the European Commission’s Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, reiterated this opinion and opened his presentation by stating “it is impressive to see you all here today; we all share the opinion that CSR can bring added value, not only for business but also for society at large.” He later explained that “a cross sectorial approach to CSR can bring real added value and make a considerable contribution to society.” This message was further strengthened by Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe, “I strongly believe that for CSR to reach the next level, all players in society have to embark on this journey together. He later adds: “Every membership organisation shares a common goal to increase membership satisfaction by improving its capacities and services. Like in business, one way of achieving this goal is through smart cooperation and synergy on the European CSR agenda.”
Susan Bird, representing the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment and Social Inclusion, also had some positive messages in relation to a cross sector approach to CSR and asked for CSR Europe’s support in order to map out sectorial CSR activities against the EU Communication on CSR. Mr. Ortun also stressed the importance of using such an approach in the adoption of sustainable supply chain strategies.
In addition, the meeting gave participants an insight into CSR Europe’s Enterprise 2020 initiative, a reference initiative for companies committed to developing innovative business practices and working together with their stakeholders to provide practical solutions to emerging societal needs. Colleen Fletcher, Director of Membership and Stakeholder Relations, explained that “with such a practical approach, we recognise European sector organisations as strong collaborative partners with important critical inputs.” CSR Europe therefore hopes that Enterprise 2020 will be a platform for practical collaboration amongst Europe’s sector organisations and will set up another sector meeting in the spring of 2012 to further develop this concept.
The strong attendance by various sector organisations is encouraging and further emphasizes the growing European movement on CSR. CSR Europe looks forward to continuing the journey towards Enterprise 2020 and working together with the European Commission and European sector organisations on the business contribution to a more smart, sustainable and inclusive society.
About CSR Europe
CSR Europe is the leading European business network for Corporate Social Responsibility with around 80 multinational corporations and 33 national partner organisations as members. Since its launch, CSR Europe has become an inspiring network of business people working at the very forefront of CSR across Europe and globally. Together, the network represents over 4000 companies in Europe. CSR Europe addresses societal challenges through the Enterprise 2020 Initiative, which fosters collaborative action and shapes the business contribution to the European Union’s Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. For more information visit www.csreurope.org