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What is CSR Europe?

CSR Europe is the leading European business network for corporate social responsibility with 50 multinational corporations and 45 national partner organisations as members. Its mission is to help its member companies to integrate corporate social responsibility in to the way they do business, every day. Read more about our membership

The organisation was founded in 1995 by senior European business leaders in response to an appeal by the European Commission President Jacques Delors. It has since grown to become an inspiring network of business people working at the very forefront of CSR across Europe and globally. Read more about our history

CSR Europe is a registered non-profit organisation as an international association under Belgian law. Read more about our governance

What does CSR Europe do?

CSR Europe is a platform for:

  • Connecting companies to share best practice on CSR
  • Innovating new projects between business and stakeholders
  • Shaping the modern day business and political agenda on sustainability and competitiveness

Read more about our activities

How are you funded?

Today, CSR Europe is funded by annual membership fees from its members.

In its initial years, CSR Europe received funding from the European Commission. This balance has now shifted entirely to membership incomes. CSR Europe does, however, seek EU funding for specific projects linking to the EU's strategy on CSR, such as the European MarketPlace on CSR.

Who defines your agenda?

Our main function is to provide our members with the expertise and help they require in addressing the issue of CSR. In this sense, our agenda is necessarily defined by the needs of our members. Their needs in turn come from an internal desire to change their business strategies, as well as from external pressures from stakeholders and civil society.

CSR Europe responds to these needs by connecting practitioners to share best practice within a peer to peer setting, innovating new types of partnerships between businesses and between businesses and stakeholders for cooperative projects and by providing input into the European policy development.

CSR Europe's Board of Directors is tasked by the General Assembly to set the strategic vision for the secretariat to implement. Read more about our governance

Do you rate companies on their social responsibility performance? Which are the "good" and the "bad" companies regarding CSR issues?

As a membership network, we believe that we are not best positioned to publish rankings or assess the performance of any company on their CSR practices and implementation. As we are funded by member companies, we do not feel it would be very independent or credible for us to judge our own members. Our role instead is to bring companies together in a non-judgmental forum to share their experiences and support them with tools and research.

Why don't you have national partner organisations in all European countries?

Ideally, we would like to have national CSR partners in each European country, including Central and Eastern Europe, and the network is certainly expanding in this direction. Nevertheless it is important to understand that each country defines the concept of corporate social responsibility in a very different way, and that they all have historically different approaches to tackling the issue.

In order to ensure cohesion among national partner organisations (NPO), the NPO network has set criteria, for example, that NPOs should be recognised non-profit organisations, business driven, and membership-based. The network is keen to keep a wide and varied coverage of CSR topics across Europe, but while retaining diversity is vitally important, the network recognises the need to have some consistency in its approach to CSR.

Not having a national partner in a specific country does NOT mean that this country is lagging behind on CSR issues.

We try to maintain regular contact with CSR leaders from both public and private sectors in nearly all European countries, even the ones where we do not have a national partner, and we are always happy to discuss different partnership statuses with leading national CSR organisations who would like to cooperate with us.

How can my company become a member of CSR Europe?

Following discussions with members of the Board of Directors or the secretariat and after assessing the mutual benefits of closer collaboration, companies can apply for CSR Europe membership by providing the secretariat with the following information:

  • The main reasons for wanting to join the network
  • The company's current CSR profile
  • The core issues and experiences the applicant would share within the network
  • The CSR Europe activities and programmes of the network that the applicant company is expecting to benefit from most

Based on this information, the Board of Directors examines the membership application, which it can endorse, refuse or freeze on a consensus basis. In the case of the former, the applicant receives a membership invitation and is presented as new member at the following annual General Assembly meeting.

What are CSR Europe's membership fees?

The membership fee is €19,750 paid on an annual basis. This is on a cyclical basis and renewed in the same month the following year. New members pay an additional one-off signing on fee of €5,000. New members who are already members of one of CSR Europe's national partner organisations are applicable for a reduction in the membership fee. This is to be discussed between the relevant parties.

What does CSR Europe expect from its members?

The basic statutory involvement of a member is to:

  • Allocate one main contact person to become part of the network's General Assembly and act as the contact point for the CSR Europe account manager
  • Attend the annual General Assembly meeting
  • Update CSR Europe account manager on member company's CSR policies and activities
  • Agree to the organisation's statutes upon becoming a member

CSR Europe encourages active membership as this will ensure that members can maximise their benefits from the network. The level of involvement, of course, depends upon a member's specific needs and in which areas they feel they wish to contribute.

Why are no small or medium-sized enterprises members of CSR Europe?

Although CSR Europe members tend to consist of the European headquarters of large multinational companies, we strongly feel that social responsibility is as important for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

If SMEs express interest in becoming a member of a CSR business network like ours, we encourage them to take up membership with one of our national partner organisations. Many of them have special packages and activities for SMEs and as they are ususally based in only one country, we feel that this represents better their own interests.

In general, we have the same policy with purely national companies - even large ones. Also national subsidiaries of our members often join the relevant national partner organisation. Read more about our national partners

Can you help me get funding from your member companies?

No. We cannot contact our member companies on behalf of charities or other non-profit organisations to solicit funding or donations. To protect our subscribers' privacy, we also do not give out any of our mailing lists or our contacts' personal information.