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Corporate social responsibility in the EU

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Corporate social responsibility in the EU

SUMMARY OF:

Making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility — COM(2006) 136 final

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS COMMUNICATION DO?

It sets priorities and measures on corporate social responsibility* (CSR) matters in order to better use companies’ potential in contributing to sustainable development and the objectives of the strategy for growth and development.

In doing so it benefits companies, the EU economy and society as a whole.

KEY POINTS

The development of CSR practice involves a wide range of actors (for example trade unions, investors, consumers, and non-governmental organisations).

To promote CSR, the European Commission focuses on:

supporting multi-stakeholder initiatives;

cooperating with EU countries within the Group of High Level National Representatives on CSR in order to mobilise the national and regional instruments;

raising consumer awareness on the impact of choices;

promoting CSR among small and medium-sized enterprises.

Progress has been made in the area of CSR thanks to the policy pursued by the European Commission. A 2011 communication outlines the modern concept of CSR as defined by the Commission and the actions to be pursued in this area over the 2011-2014 period.

The EU strategy on CSR includes:

enhancing the visibility of CSR and spreading good CRS practices;

improving and monitoring levels of trust in business;

improving the market rewards for CSR;

improving transparency on businesses’ social and environmental information;

integrating CSR into education, training and research;

stressing the importance of CSR public policies; and

better aligning European and global approaches to CSR.

To evaluate the CSR strategy, the Commission launched a public consultation on CSR 2011-2014. This sought to identify achievements, shortcomings and future challenges.

BACKGROUND

Since the publication of its 2001 Green Paper on corporate social responsibility, the European Commission has played a pioneering role in the development of public policy in favour of CSR.

KEY TERM

* Corporate social responsibility (CSR): a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with stakeholders on a voluntary basis. Although CSR should be company led, governments can play a supporting role through policy measures and regulations.

ACT

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee — Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs: making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility (COM(2006) 136 final, 22.3.2006)

RELATED ACTS

Commission staff working document on implementing the UN guiding principles on business and human rights — State of play (SWD(2015) 144 final, 14.7.2015)

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — A renewed EU strategy 2011-14 for corporate social responsibility (COM(2011) 681 final, 25.10.2011)

Public consultation on corporate social responsibility, 2014

Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 October 2010 laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market (OJ L 295, 12.11.2010, pp. 23-34)

Directive 2014/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 October 2014 amending Directive 2013/34/EU as regards disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large undertakings and groups (OJ L 330, 15.11.2014, pp. 1-9)

last update 09.11.2015

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