EESC opinion: Corporate social responsibility

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EESC opinion: Corporate social responsibility

Key points:

The Committee takes the view that people in the EU should have access to the most reliable and comprehensive possible information on the declarations made by enterprises and territorial authorities and the practices which they pursue. The provision of high quality reports would make it possible for European citizens, in their capacities as consumers, savers and residents, to make guided choices. To that end, the citizen needs tools such as social accounting and traceability of products, as well as the contribution of the associative movements concerned.

An information portal on CSR could thus be established in connection with the Action plan to improve communicating Europe.

The EESC suggests to the Member States that they include the promotion of CSR in their National Reform Plans and in the national strategies for sustainable development. The EESC also urges public authorities in the Member States and the EU to promote the emergence and development of new sectors of activity created or developed by virtue of the CSR policy.

The EESC is pleased that the communication advocates reactivating the high-level group of the Member States on CSR to debate ways of improving the exchange of best practice.

The EESC urges the social partners in multinational enterprises of European origin to enrich the transnational social dialogue by negotiating international framework agreements (ACI) on CSR.

The EESC endorses sectoral social dialogue initiatives which seek to involve CSR in the field of the management of economic change.

The EESC takes the view that CSR is at its most effective when it is an integral part of strategy and when it is implemented throughout the corporate hierarchy.

The EESC is in favour of SMEs playing a role in bringing about the widespread adoption of CSR practices. It calls upon all forms of enterprise, including social economy enterprises, to become involved in CSR.

In order to improve assessment, the EESC calls upon European enterprises to help develop the various measuring and information instruments with assessment according to criteria based on the fundamental texts contained in the list drawn up by the Multistakeholder Forum of 2004.

The EESC proposes to the Commission that one of the next few years be designated the "European Year of Corporate Social Responsibility".