Why CSR now? In the Europe 2020 Strategy, the European Commission has committed to renew the EU strategy to promote Corporate Social Responsibility.
With the economic crisis, consumer confidence and levels of trust in business drastically falling, and thus with public attention focused more and more on social and ethical performances of enterprises, the need for a stronger European policy on CSR emerged even more strongly. It is estimated that about 2,500 European companies publish CSR or sustainability reports, which puts the EU in a position of global leadership. However, this is still only a small fraction of the 42,000 large companies operating in the EU.
The Communication by the European Commission- After years of debates, the European Commission published on 25 October 2011 its long awaited new communication on CSR: “A renewed EU strategy 2011-2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility”. This communication sets the priorities and planned actions for the next three years on CSR.
A new definition of Corporate Social Responsibility- The new communication on CSR sets a new definition of Corporate Social Responsibility that evolves from “a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis” (2001) to “the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society” (2011). It means that enterprises should, in the Commission’s view, have a process in place to integrate social, environmental, ethical human rights and consumer concerns into their business operations and core strategy in close cooperation with their stakeholders.
Co-operative enterprises -The new communication on CSR mentions co-operative enterprises saying that “Certain types of enterprise, such as cooperatives, mutuals, and family-owned businesses, have ownership and governance structures that can be especially conducive to responsible business conduct.” Cooperatives Europe is member of the European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR, a forum hosted and facilitated by the European Commission.