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13/03/2007

European Parliament report on Corporate Social Responsibility: European companies must be more socially responsible

Brussels, 13 March. The European Parliament has adopted a report in response to the Commission communication on corporate social responsibility (CSR) published in March 2006.

The report authored by Labsdour MEP, Richard Howitt, is critical of the Commission's approach of letting companies decide how to incorporate social and environmental concerns into business practices and calls on the European Commission to push EU companies to show more social and environmental responsibility wherever they operate in the world.

The Parliament believed that the credibility of voluntary CSR initiatives is further dependent on a commitment to incorporating existing internationally agreed standards and principles as well as on the application of independent monitoring and verification and recommended the creation of such a mechanism at European level.

Recalling previous consideration given to the appointment of an EU ombudsman on CSR to undertake independent enquiries on CSR-related issues at the request of companies or any stakeholder group, Parliament invited further reflection about this proposal in the future.

It is important to note that although the Commission's Communication does not explicitly refer to independent verification it leave the option open: “The Commission believes that codes of conducts should … include appropriate mechanisms for evaluation and verification of their implementation, as well as a system of compliance”.

It will be interesting to follow-up with regard to the upcoming Forum activities on self-regulation and its monitoring.

Link to the report from the Parliament:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?Type=TA&Reference=P6-TA-2007-0062&language=EN

Link to the Communication from the Commission - Implementing the partnership for growth and jobs : making Europe a pole of excellence on corporate social responsibility

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/com/2006/com2006_0136en01.pdf

Link to the legislative observatory: file procedure http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=2&procnum=INI/2006/2133

Related news:

Open dispute between Commission and NGOS on SCR: http://www.euractiv.com/en/socialeurope/open-dispute-commission-ngos-csr/article-153622

Commission's CSR initiative provokes NGO protests : http://www.euractiv.com/en/socialeurope/csr-initiative-provokes-ngo-protests/article-153518

Political Groups

PSE: EU action urged to make firms more responsible. (13 March 2007)
Greens / EFA, MEP Claude Turmes: Corporate Social Responsibility: EP report calls for more binding approach to CSR [DE] (13 March 2007)

Articles:

http://euobserver.com/9/23685/?rk=1

http://www.euractiv.com/en/socialeurope/parliament-criticises-commission-csr/article-162431