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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the EU

What is CSR?

Corporate social responsibility refers to companies voluntarily going beyond what the law requires to achieve social and environmental objectives during the course of their daily business activities. It covers a range of areas:

  • Europe 2020 (especially new skills and jobs, youth, local development)
  • Business and human rights
  • CSR reporting
  • Socially responsible public procurement

The European Commission encourages companies to apply fair employment practices that respect human rights, particularly where products come from outside the EU.

Peer review of Member States' policies and activities on CSR

The European Commission ran a peer review of EU Member States' activities on CSR in 2013-2014. 7 meetings of 4 countries each were held to enable Member States to understand each others' CSR policies better, and to ask each other questions about them. This exercise was also a chance for the Commission to update its own records, and to look at common and country-specific themes.

The European Commission has updated its Compendium of Member States' corporate social responsibility policies and activities. The last one was in 2011. This Compendium comes as a conclusion to a peer review during 2013-2014 by and with Member States of their CSR commitments. The Compendium is theme-based, illustrating common cross-EU priorities; and it contains a substantial annex which addresses Member State-by-Member State priorities.

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