Corporate social responsibility (CSR) refers to companies taking responsibility for their impact on society. The European Commission believes that CSR is important for the sustainability, competitiveness, and innovation of EU enterprises and the EU economy. It brings benefits for risk management, cost savings, access to capital, customer relationships, and human resource management.
The UNGPs are the first unanimously endorsed UN framework addressing and aiming to reduce corporate-related human rights abuses. The EU recognises the UNGPs as a framework conducive to responsible business, forming part of its Strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The Staff Working Document on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – State of Play presents the EU's activities in implementing the UNGPs and promoting progress in business and human rights.
The Commission has defined CSR as the responsibility of enterprises for their impact on society. CSR should be company led. Public authorities can play a supporting role through a smart mix of voluntary policy measures and, where necessary, complementary regulation.
Companies can become socially responsible by:
The Commission promotes CSR in the EU and encourages enterprises to adhere to international guidelines and principles. The EU’s policy is built on an agenda for action to support this approach. It includes:
To evaluate the CSR strategy, the Commission launched a Public Consultation on CSR 2011-2014: achievements, shortcomings, and future challenges in 2014.
The Commission is managing the CSR file in close cooperation with stakeholders. Around key milestones, multi-stakeholder forums are convened with a large number of participants. The last multi-stakeholder forum took place on 3-4 February 2015. Read the Executive Summary of 2015 CSR forum.
On a more regularly basis, the Commission meets with a Coordination Committee (21 kB) to discuss recent developments and receive feedback on its actions.