CSR Europe calls for the new EU CSR strategy 2015 – 2019 to support a move from CSR compliance to innovation

BITCI News - Uncategorized - Feb 13, 2015

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The plenary meeting of the European Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR held today brought together CSR Europe and stakeholders to present a strong voice to the European Commission by outlining expectations for the future shape of Europe’s CSR strategy 2015-2019.

Interactive sessions with CSR Europe members, BBVA, L’Oréal, Hitachi, IBM, Volkswagen and Telefónica amongst others saw the evaluation of both achievements and limitations since the 2011 CSR Communication, as well as critical debates on how to tackle future challenges.

Supported by a movement of 40 CSR partners across Europe with a reach of up to 10,000 enterprises, key amongst the proposals put forward by CSR Europe was the necessity to move from ‘’compliance to innovation’’ in Europe’s future CSR strategy. In response to the European Commission 2014 public consultation on CSR, CSR Europe elaborated upon key proposals:

  • Balance CSR “compliance” and “innovation”, to support the development of new sustainable products and services which meet societal needs.
  • Put employees and the provision of skills and jobs for Europe’s youth at the heart of future CSR actions
  • Adopt a pragmatic strategy on sustainable supply chain and business and human rights
  • Use future European CSR Awards to humanise European CSR strategy at the local level
  • Support capacity building on transparency with a European Action Plan on Integrated Performance and Reporting to ensure effective implementation of the EU Directive on the Disclosure of Non-Financial Information.

While addressing a plenary session on the next generation of CSR, Étienne Davignon, Minister for State and CSR Europe President,  called on the Commission to ‘’unleash the full potential of CSR as it is already defined. European CSR Strategy 2020 should not only focus on a common understanding of CSR to minimise risk, compliance and transparency but also to support companies to take advantage of opportunities to innovate of products and services that create shared value and sustainable living for all’’.

Critically, the recent European Commission consultation on CSR found that CSR is regarded as a key driver for job creation, skills development and reduction of inequalities. Celia Moore, Chair of CSR Europe and Director Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM EMEA, reiterated her call to ‘’put European youth and employees at the heart of a European strategy’’ adding that, ‘’EU CSR Strategy 2020 should include a strong action proposal to support enterprises, schools and governments collaborating to enhance youth employability through STEM, Entrepreneurship and Apprenticeships”. In this respect, the EU’s CSR Strategy 2020 could make a practical contribution to other EU initiatives, such as the Youth Guarantee, Erasmus+, and Country Specific Recommendations, among others.

Ultimately, a balanced European strategy on CSR with a stronger focus on innovation will attract much more enterprises, sector associations and stakeholders and increase the overall credibility and impact of the EU CSR Strategy 2020. CSR Europe and its members are already committed to Enterprise 2020 business campaigns which are working to boost social innovation on  topics including ‘’Skills for Jobs’’ and ‘’Sustainable Living in Cities’’. We look forward to the renewed EU CSR strategy 2015-2020 and to develop with the European Commission strong synergies with the priority actions set by leading companies at the Universal Expo Milan (18-19 June 2015) and at the Enterprise 2020 Summit (16-17 November 2015).

Article source: CSR Europe