CSR gets serious

Nov 20 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

A new report by CSR Europe and the Copenhagen Centre has concluded that corporate social responsibility is a working reality in Europe and not just another passing trend.

The Campaign Report on European CSR Excellence 2002-2003 is an important part of the ongoing European Business Campaign on CSR, which aims to make more than 500,000 businesspeople enthusiastic about integrating CSR into their core business. It supports the Campaign by stimulating good CSR practice and showcasing successful European CSR initiatives.

Based on seven CSR categories, a unique mapping - the ďCSR MatrixĒ - gives a birdís-eye view of what is happening at national level to compare the activities of 17 European countries. The matrix provides the first-ever overview of existing national social labels, social awards, social-reporting guidelines, voluntary codes of conduct and more.

The matrix shows how the Netherlands and the UK have a particularly strong CSR profile, but another important conclusion of the report is that corporate social responsibility is not only an Anglo-Saxon or northern European phenomenon. Experiences from Italy, Spain and Central and Eastern Europe show how corporate social responsibility is increasingly employed to tackle specific challenges all over Europe, and how each country rates compared to the others.

Through 15 country articles, corporate social responsibility is explored from its many different angles: social reporting, human resources policies, business involvement in local communities, public-private partnerships to address social exclusion and socially responsible investment.

The report also features a virtual roundtable between 14 European stakeholders of the CSR debate from business, NGOs, academic institutions, government and trade unions. These stakeholders identify the challenges facing the further spread of CSR into core business strategies. These include a lack of management training in social and environmental issues and a limited knowledge on the issue, as well as insufficient indicators for reporting.

Supported by the European Commission (DG Employment & Social Affairs), the Campaign Report on European CSR Excellence will be published annually to provide an update of the latest European CSR developments and Campaign achievements.

The full report can be downloaded from www.csrcampaign.org

For more information contact Nicki Bennett on tel. +32 2 541 1623 or email:[email protected]

Founded in 1995 by former European Commission president Jacques Delors, CSR Europe is a business-driven membership network whose mission is to help companies combine profitability and sustainability by making corporate social responsibility a cornerstone of the way they operate. Through its 57 company members, 18 national partner organisations, benchmarking programmes and online resource centre (www.csreurope.org), CSR Europe has become the major European reference point on Corporate Social Responsibility strategies and practices for companies.

The Copenhagen Centre (TCC) is an autonomous, international knowledge centre established by the Danish Government in 1998. Focusing on social cohesion, TCC strives to promote voluntary partnerships between business, government and civil society in order to provide opportunities for the less privileged to be self-supporting, active and productive citizens. TCC serves as an intermediary for governments, businesses, social partners, NGOs and civil society organisations in developing forums for innovative activity and debate.