The crisis has forced a rethink of the role that business should play in our societies, given that it arose largely because companies, in many respects, had behaved irresponsibly: irresponsible risk-taking, pernicious incentives in the sphere of corporate governance and pay policies, bonuses running into millions, excessive leveraging, the proliferation of incomprehensible financial products and deregulated funds, etc., all did a great deal to drive the system to the brink of collapse. This fact makes corporate social responsibility (CSR) a key element in the process now under way to reshape the economic and financial system.
Addressing the United Nations, Vice-President Antonio Tajani reaffirmed the EU’s ambition to play a central role and take the lead in promoting CSR at global level. He hinted (even though the Commission’s action plan for 2011 has not yet been approved and there is no trace of anything in writing on that subject) that the Enterprise and Industry DG is planning to produce a new communication on CSR in the first or second quarter of 2011. Is this information correct? If so, when does the Commission intend to issue the communication? What will be the subject matter?
The speech likewise gave to understand that the communication could focus on three main areas: (1) greater coordination at European level regarding transparency as applied to environmental, social, and governance issues; (2) giving effect in the EU to the UN framework being established under the responsibility of the Special Representative, John Ruggie, on business and human rights; and (3) intensifying international dialogue on CSR. Is that also the case? What will be the general thrust of the Commission’s proposals?