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CSR Strategy of the EU 2011 - 2014. Context
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Context • EU Commission started to deal with CSR in 2001 with the publication of the “Green paper - Promoting a European framework for corporate social responsibility”, in which it defined “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis”. • The EU Commission subsequently established the European MultistakeholderForum on CSR (2002-2004), which confirmed the voluntary nature of CSR in June 2004.
In 2006 the EU Commission published a new policy whose centrepiece was strong support for a business-lead initiative called the European Alliance for CSR. BUSINESSEUROPE as well as national Employers Federations were very actively engaged in promoting and implementing the Alliance through the exchange of experience and the facilitation of partnerships. • In 2011 the EU Commission adopted a new CSR Strategy for the period 2011-2014, which marked in many ways a new approach towards CSR.
A new definition for CSR • In its 2011 CSR-Strategy, the EU Commission put forward a new definition of CSR as “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society”. • Respect for applicable legislation, and for collective agreements between social partners, is a prerequisite for meeting that responsibility. • To fully meet their corporate social responsibility, enterprises should have in place a process to integrate social, environmental, ethical, human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close collaboration with their stakeholders, with the aim of: • maximising the creation of shared value for their owners/shareholders and for their other stakeholders and society at large; • identifying, preventing and mitigating their possible adverse impacts.
To maximise the creation of shared value, the EU Commission encouraged enterprises to adopt a long-term, strategic approach to CSR. • To identify, prevent and mitigate their possible adverse impacts, large enterprises are encouraged by the EU Commission to carry out risk-based due diligence, including through their supply chains. • The EU Commission at the same time recognizes that “for most small and medium-sized enterprises, especially microenterprises, the CSR process is likely to remain informal and intuitive”.
The Commission invites • All large European enterprises to make a commitment by 2014 to take account of at least one of the following sets of principles and guidelines when developing their approach to CSR: the UN Global Compact, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, or the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility. • All European-based multinational enterprises to make a commitment by 2014 to respect the ILO Tri-partite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy.
EU Commission`s Agenda for Action with regards to CSR • Enhancing visibility and disseminating good practice • European Multistakeholder platforms on corporate social responsibility were established in the fruit juice, the machine tools and social housing sectors. • Moreover, DG CONNECT has launched a thematic network/platform called ICT4Society, to ensure coherent and consistent coordination of CSR issues in the ICT sector, in order to encourage and enable enterprises across the EU to apply and promote CSR, through strategic partnerships with relevant stakeholders, based on good practices that show the societal benefits that can be delivered by ICT. • Launch annual CSR awards: The first European CSR awards ceremony successfully took place on 25 June 2013 in Brussels
Improving and tracking trust in business • Launch debate on role and potential of business and surveys of trust in business: CSR Eurobarometer Survey: A Eurobarometer survey was carried out in late 2012 and its results published in April 2013, showing inter alia that EU citizens feel uninformed about company's social activities and that in general they believe that SMEs do a better job in CSR than large companies. • Improving self and co-regulation processes • A set of Principles for Better Self- and Co-Regulation was published in February 2013, further to a public consultation and an open meeting with stakeholders. • A Community of Practice has been set up, with an online platform up and running. This is a place where companies, industry associations, NGOs, universities, researchers or other organisations can exchange ideas and best practices about better self- and co-regulation actions.
Enhancing market reward - public procurement • Proposal for revision of public procurement directives published by Commission December 2011, including new provisions for use of social and environmental criteria, and on market access for SMEs. • Disclosure of social and environmental information • EU directive on the Disclosure of non-financial information. • National and sub-national CSR policies • The EU Commission asked Member States to prepare national CSR Action Plans. 24 EU Member States will have or already have such a CSR Action Plan. • Aligning EU and global approaches - principles and guidelines • The EU Commission monitors commitments of EU enterprises > 1,000 employees to take into account internationally recognised CSR principles and guidelines.
Aligning EU and global approaches - UN business and human rights framework • The EU Commission developed sector guidance on the issue of business and humanrights for the employment and recruitment agencies, ICT, and oil & gas sector, as well as for SMEs. • The EU Commission invited EU Member States to develop national plans for implementation of UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Next Steps • In April/May 2014 the EU Commission will launch a new open consultation on the content for a post-2014 CSR Strategy.
Thank you very much for your attention!
Context • As part of “CSR for ALL”, an EU-funded project to enhance capacity and build CSR awareness, the IOE has been compiling best practices from companies engaging in CSR. • The background is that in national CSR-surveys in Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Turkey (which were conducted within the CSRforAll project) many companies stated as major challenge to engage in CSR the uncertainty over what a comprehensive CSR policy looks like, or what it should contain. • The aim of the best practice compilation is therefore to inspire other companies to set up best-in-class CSR programmes and initiatives and to enable them to learn from the experiences from peers.
The call for best practice was sent to all project-partner organisations as well as to all 150 IOE member federations around the globe. • A clear structure was given to participant with key questions, as for instance: • short description of the CSR project • objective, desired outcomes and impact of the project • project stakeholders (internal and external) • geographical scope of the project • What qualifies this project as best practice? • What were the key success factors of the project? • What were the challenges and how were they overcome? • If you had to repeat this initiative/project, what – if anything – would you do differently? • Describe how this CSR initiative/project aligns with your overall company strategy and how it is embedded into business operations
Topics of particular interest were: • Supply chain management • Due diligence • Remedy processes • Stakeholder dialogue • Anti-corruption • Freedom of association • Human rights • Anti-discrimination • Child labour • Trafficking • Forced labour • Development • Occupational Safety and Health • Work-life balance of employees
Responses • Until 31 March, a total of 63 best practices from 45 companies across 12 different countries, in both developed and emerging markets were received. • Topics covered are: • Anti-corruption (1) • Anti-discrimination (4) • Child Labour (1) • Development (19) • Development – Employee Engagement (4) • Due Diligence (1) • Environmental Protection (6) • Human Rights (3) • OSH (3) • Stakeholder Dialogue (2) • Supply chain (1) • Work/Life Balance (1)
First preliminary observations • Development and local community support seem to be a key priority. Most best practices submitted were in this field. The current CSR understanding seems to be still closely linked to philanthropy / charity / volunteering. • Companies submitted their best practices with a lot of pride and passion. CSR drives engagement. • Most projects are started out of an opportunity, an idea – there is limited reflection on why certain initiatives are started, what makes them successful, and how the overall CSR strategy should look like. • CSR happens in companies of different sizes (from SME to MNEs). MNEs have more systematic approaches and seem to be more familiar with the relevant guidelines and frameworks (UN Global Compact, GRI, etc)
Success Factors • Communication and Stakeholder Involvement have been described as a success factor in the majority of the projects. They are important at all stages of a project. • Sponsorship of senior management makes success more likely. • A link to the community (the national environment) that the company operates in and a link to the company’s business are important. • A proper understanding of the issues addressed by CSR and expertise are often rated as success factor.
Doing a thorough due diligence helped the companies to understand their possible negative impacts on society, the environment and the consumer and to identify the right CSR programmes. • Involvement / engagement of the employees around the CSR projects lead to success.
Next Steps • All best practice examples will be displayed at the CSRforAllwebsite. • Many of the provided best practice examples will be used for publication in a brochure. • Findings will be discussed in CSR events conducted within the CSRforAll project. The analysis will be up-dated accordingly.