European Union's CSR Documents

The European Union fails once again to take corporate accountability seriously by not addressing the concerns of civil society and by refusing to give its nod to the development of a CSR regulatory framework. (2006) Download the press release here.

The EU insists on a voluntary approach that is up to the "goodwill" of corporations. Reacting to this position, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Amnesty International have issued a press releases denouncing that the European Union has in fact taken a step backward, which reflects a business-approach to CSR, for it is based on a lowest common denominator approach, which demonstrates an unwillingness of the Commission to fully assume its role on this issue.

Both institutions express their disappointment regarding the long-awaited Communication of the European Commission entitled "Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs: making Europe a pole of excellence on Corporate Social Responsibility" Download the EU document here.


The European Parliament has issued a report concerning CSR as a business contribution to sustainable development. The Parliament reports on its adopted motion for a resolution and the opinions of key committees. (2003).

The report is part of the consultation process for developing EU's policy on CSR standards.

Despite the fact that the EU -as almost everybody else- parts from the idea that CSR must be voluntary, and does not address the key issue of the need for all workers to earn a living wage, the report is still the most ambitious governmental effort to bring CSR to the forefront of corporate governance and management systems.

Among its highlights, the EU has set up a multi-stakeholder forum on CSR with the task of defining, by mid-2004, commonly agreed guidelines and criteria for CSR measurement, reporting and assurance and guidelines for labelling schemes. The report notes that more and more consumers regard CSR as important in their purchase decisions and reaffirms its call to keep a register of blacklisted companies, which should not be allowed to receive EU contracts. The EU's report notes as well that, since sustainable development is a global concept, CSR must be applicable for companies based in or operating in the EU and should be designed so as to be applicable outside the EU, especially in the South.

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"The Green Book" Promoting a European framework for corporate social responsibility. Green Paper (2001)

This Green Paper aims to launch a wide debate on how the European Union could promote corporate social responsibility at both the European and international level, in particular on how to make the most of existing experiences, to encourage the development of innovative practices, to bring greater transparency and to increase the reliability of evaluation and validation. It suggests an approach based on the deepening of partnerships in which all actors have an active role to play.item11



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 Corporate social responsibility. A business contribution to sustainable development

The consultation process on the Green Paper has supported Community action in the field of CSR. In the present Communication, which constitutes a follow-up to the 2001 Green paper, the Commission presents a EU strategy to promote CSR. It consists of six chapters. The first chapter briefly summarises the outcome of the consultation process. The second chapter develops the European strategy to promote CSR including a definition of the concept of CSR, its place in the sustainable development context and its impact on business and society. Chapters three to six describe related proposed actions.

Click here to Download the Green Book's 2002 consultation process



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