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New EU definition on CSR mirrors Enterprise 2020 aspirations

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

25 October 2011, BRUSSELS, Belgium Today, the European Commission launched its new Communication on CSR for the period 2011-2014. The renewed Communication aims to strengthen EU global leadership on CSR by implementing an intensive Agenda for Action with around 30 proposals for CSR commitments. CSR Europe respects the political will of the European Commission to reaffirm its global influence on CSR and welcomes the Commission’s intention to cooperate with CSR Europe to review and define the next steps of our Enterprise 2020 initiative: a reference initiative for companies committed to developing innovative business practices and working together with their stakeholders to provide solutions to emerging societal needs.

Following an evaluation of the impact of current European CSR Policy, the Commission puts forward a new definition of CSR: “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society.” The Communication then states that: “To fully meet their corporate social responsibility, enterprises should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical and human rights concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders.” Later in the Communication, the Commission stresses that “Enterprises must be given the flexibility to innovate and to develop an approach to CSR that is appropriate to their circumstances.” The balance between minimizing risks through accountability and maximizing opportunities through transparency and social innovation lies at the very heart of our Enterprise 2020 initiative. For this reason, CSR Europe’s Executive Director, Stefan Crets, states that “the European Commission’s recognition of this balance can be seen as a compelling reason for companies in and around Europe to adopt the Enterprise 2020 principles in their own company.”

Through active engagement in Enterprise 2020, CSR Europe’s members have access to an open platform for innovation and exchange; this allows them to address societal challenges in a practical way. Together they aim to develop thought leadership and practical tools that can be replicated in other areas and considered as the basis for new synergies with European policy making. The bridge between Enterprise 2020 and emerging EU CSR policy objectives has clearly been identified by the European Commission:  “CSR Europe’s Enterprise 2020 initiative is an example of business leadership in the field of CSR that is particularly relevant to EU policy objectives. The Commission will help to review the initial results of this initiative by the end of 2012, and to define its next steps.” CSR Europe welcomes the support of the European Commission to strengthen the Enterprise 2020 initiative. “No single company, policymaker or organisation can successfully work in isolation to address today’s complex social and environmental challenges. It is therefore with great pleasure that we welcome the endorsement of the European Commission on our Enterprise 2020 initiative.” Explains Stefan Crets, Executive Director, CSR Europe.

Furthermore, CSR Europe welcomes the invitation to Member States to develop or update their plans on CSR in cooperation with enterprises and stakeholders and we will work closely with our 31 National Partner Organisations to help build stronger bridges with their government representatives. CSR Europe looks forward to continuing the journey towards Enterprise 2020 and working together with the European Commission on the business contribution to a more smart, sustainable and inclusive society.

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About CSR Europe

CSR Europe is the leading European business network for Corporate Social Responsibility with around 76 multinational corporations and 31 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 3000 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