Answer given by Mr Tajani on behalf of the Commission
As part of the Europe 2020 strategy for ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’ the Commission has made a commitment to ‘renew the EU strategy to promote corporate social responsibility’ (CSR). This could take the form of a new Communication on CSR.
The broad objective of EU policy will remain to encourage and support the largest possible number of European enterprises in integrating sustainability (social and environmental considerations) and responsibility in their operations and strategies in a credible and transparent way, with the involvement of their internal and external stakeholders. The Commission also considers CSR to be part of the exit strategy from the crisis. Businesses should in particular play their role to undertake investments necessary for making the EU economy more innovative and by better integrating sustainability and inclusion in their business strategies.
In the present context, the Commission also believes that greater transparency regarding environmental, social and governance issues can further help to reinforce trust in enterprises and can contribute to a more accurate valuation of enterprises on the part of investors, analysts, consumers and other stakeholders. The Commission is currently working on a study that will highlight the nature of companies CSR reporting practices.
This also applies to the question of business and human rights. The EU will assume its responsibilities for the implementation of the United Nations (UN) Framework on business and human rights. A study ‘on the legal framework for human rights and the environment applicable to European companies operating outside the EU’ which will be published shortly, will contribute to the work of the UN Special Representative, Professor John Ruggie. In addition, the Commission is working on the way that companies manage their supply chains, particularly in relation to human rights.
Also the international dimension of CSR deserves a high priority. Many of the most difficult CSR issues are to be found in developing countries for example labour or environmental standards. Therefore it is important that the EU encourages European enterprises to play a constructive role in addressing poverty and other problems in developing countries. The next step in the policy-making process with regard to the proposed new Communication is the meeting of the CSR Multistakeholder Forum foreseen for 29‑30 November 2010.