The European Market Place on Corporate Social Responsibility

In a speech last week Vladimír Spidla, member of the European Commission
responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, has
emhasized the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility, both within the
European Union and on the international scene:

"Corporate Social Responsibility involves a recognition that businesses do not
operate in vacuum, but have complex relationships with the world around them. 
It is fundamental, therefore, to take into account the needs of stakeholders
whether they be employees, suppliers, consumers of goods or services, or people
living near to the business.

The theme of Corporate Social Responsibility is of increasing importance for
the harmonious functioning of the market economy. There are at least three
reasons for this:

  • European business faces increasingly stiff international competition;
  • This intense competition is forcing businesses to redefine their
    strategy and responsibilities;
  • In order to respond to international competition, as well as to the
    specific challenges facing Europe, it is imperative that we stimulate a
    virtuous circle of social responsibility.

Improving the climate and the environment in which business operate in the 25
member states implies a corresponding need for a commitment on the part of
business to act with greater responsibility.  What is called for here is not a
legislative approach.  The achievement of this commitment rests, therefore, on
a voluntary approach; although any voluntary code of conduct must, of course,
take into account national, European and international standards.

Corporate Social Responsibility is one of the factors which are indispensable
for the preservation of our European social and societal model and for its
dissemination to other regions of the world. It is only with your support
that we have the chance to achieve the Millennium Goals and to bring about a
more inclusive form of globalisation.

The evaluation of the Lisbon strategy in 2005 and our action plan for the
period up to 2010 both illustrate that we need to mobilize all actors in order
to maintain and develop a model which is both competitive and sustainable."

More information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work