A European Alliance for CSR
In this context, the European Commission backs members of the business community that are laying the foundations of a European Alliance for CSR. This is an open Alliance for enterprises sharing the same ambition: to make Europe a Pole of Excellence on CSR in support of a competitive and sustainable enterprise and market economy. The essence of this initiative is partnership. This partnership is based on agreement that the priorities of the European Strategy for Growth and Jobs fully respond to the challenges of increasing global competition, demographic trends and a sustainable future.
The delivery of this strategy is crucial for securing Europe’s sustainable growth as much as the European way of life. The Alliance is built on the understanding that CSR can contribute to sustainable development, while enhancing Europe’s innovative potential and competitiveness, thereby also contributing to employability and job creation. The Alliance seeks to promote CSR as a business opportunity creating win-win situations for companies and society and recognises that CSR is a voluntary business approach which reflects the diversity of European business. While enterprises are the primary actors in CSR, public authorities at local, national and European level have a supportive role to play in promoting it. The Alliance initiative builds on previous discussions with business and stakeholders. In particular, it draws the lessons from the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR, a major initiative facilitated by the European Commission. The Forum provided a platform for European representatives of business, employers, trade unions and civil society organisations to engage in an innovative process of learning and dialogue and to agree recommendations for more and effective CSR practice. It will also capitalise on the European Campaign to promote CSR among SMEs and the multitude of other business and employer driven initiatives. Another key driver for this Alliance is the European Roadmap for Businesses on CSR - 2010, whereby leading companies and business networks have set out their vision and priorities for a competitive and sustainable enterprise from a European perspective.
The Alliance lays the foundations for the partners to promote CSR in the future. It evolves around the following three areas of activities:
- Raising awareness and improving knowledge on CSR
- Helping to mainstream and develop open coalitions of cooperation
- Ensuring an enabling environment for CSR
For more information on EU Alliance on CSR click here
Striving for a sustainable market economy
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) matters because it mirrors the core values of the society in which we wish to live. It matters to individual companies, big or small, who through innovative products and services, new skills and stakeholder engagement can improve their economic, environmental and social performance in the short and long term. It matters to those who work in and for companies, for whom it can help to create a more rewarding and inspiring working environment. It matters to those who buy from companies, to consumers who are paying more and more attention to the social and environmental credentials of the products and services they buy. It matters to the local communities where companies operate, who want to know that they are living amongst organisations that share their values and concerns. It matters to investors who feel that responsible business behaviour needs to be encouraged. It matters to people in other parts of the world who expect European based companies to behave in accordance with European and international values and principles. And it matters to our children and future generations who expect to live in a world which respects people and nature.
CSR matters to all of us
A strong business commitment to CSR as well as an overall supportive role of public authorities towards CSR has become particularly important over the last 15 years as regard its contribution to the respect for human rights and the rule of law as well as the sustainable functioning of democracy and market economy, be it on a local, national, European or global scale. In order to be a successful economic model, the market economy needs to build on some essential prerequisites: on the one hand an effective and coherent legislative and regulatory framework; on the other hand, self limitation and self control as much as a proactive climate of innovation and entrepreneurship, fairness and trust: all these are necessary elements to combine high levels of economic success, environmental protection, social cohesion and welfare. To this end, leading enterprises in Europe are more than ever undergoing a process of searching, learning and innovating as regards their governance, management, stakeholder dialogue and product development, thereby making corporate and product responsibility a natural part of their everyday business practice and competitiveness. Small companies, as a key driver for growth and jobs in Europe, have as much to offer as large companies when it comes to corporate responsibility, even though they often adopt a more informal and intuitive approach to CSR. Against the background of globalisation and the associated structural changes, companies are making these shifts in the expectation that the other stakeholders also commit and shoulder their share of the risks and opportunities of responsibility and innovation. Dialogue with stakeholders helps companies to anticipate and deal with social and environmental issues which may affect future competitiveness.