Eurocadres view on Corporate Social Responsibility
As an outline for the Eurocadres response to the EC-consultation on Corporate Social Responsibility, the Executive Committee of Eurocadres adopted an opinion on CSR on 17 June 2014.
The fact that there exists a large variety of definitions on CSR proves that the topic is largely discussed among the various stakeholders such as politics, trade unions and businesses. There exists indeed a great need on cooperation and dialogue between all representatives of our society. CSR can be a tool that helps to improve that cooperation; it should in any case be used in that respect.
A summary of the most important definitions will help us through the discussion on CSR during our Executive Committee
- CSR is about how companies manage the business process to produce an overall positive impact on society.
- CSR is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.
- CSR is operating a business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business.
- Interesting is also to mention the academic approach on CSR:
CSR is to be defined strategically; it encompasses not only what companies do with their profits, but also how they make them. It goes beyond philanthropy and compliance and addresses how companies manage their economic, social and environmental impacts as well as their relationship in all key spheres of influence; the workplace, the marketplace, the supply chain, the community and the public policy realm.
- Let us of course not forget to mention the approach of one the most important key players in the CSR debate: the EU which says that CSR is a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.
Eurocadres comments and views
- There is a clear need of the corporate community to be involved so that all actors in the implementation of CSR are aware of what is being done and what still has to be done for an efficient CSR implementation.
- We regret that there is a lack of sufficient regulation for the implementation of general principles or guidelines in for instance transnational company agreements (or other agreements related to social dialogue).
- Eurocadres must foster substantial social dialogue on social matters and push companies and businesses to integrate social concerns in their activities.
- Eurocadres sees CSR as a tool to establish a process which adds value to existing legal minimum standards and which strengthens social dialogue, collective bargaining and industrial relations.
- When developing a CSR strategy, there are several steps to be taken: conduct an assessment, develop a strategy and commitments and implement them, report,verify and evaluate progress. And furthermore raise awareness among young P&MS;
- The role of trade unions in each of these steps must be clearly stated and defined.
- The role of P&MS must be highlighted as a useful tool for a company, in the framework of CSR and its implementation.
- Training of P&MS members of the works council and negociating teams is essential to improve the knowledge on CSR.
- The EU Commission should further strengthen its policy on CSR in order to come to a common and open framework that provides for general principles and guidelines.
- Among the most important priority areas are the visibility of CSR and a greater integration in education, training and research, together with the promotion of transparency.