Corporate Social Responsibility : Parliament Gets to Work on Csr

Article excerpt

The European Parliament is just beginning its work on the strategy on corporate social responsibility proposed nearly a year ago by the European Commission(1). This delay stems from the conflict between two EP committees, Legal Affairs (JURI) and Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), each of which claimed competence for the subject. The solution worked out was to draft two reports, one by each committee. Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, Italy) for JURI and Richard Howitt (S&D, United Kingdom) for EMPL have now presented their draft reports.

The Commission, meanwhile, is continuing its work. A legislative proposal amending the fourth Company Law Directive on the annual accounts of certain types of companies is expected to be adopted in December or January. According to information seen by Europolitics social, all large enterprises will have to report non-financial social (eg gender policy) and environmental information. Concretely, the terms "as necessary" that appear in article 46 of the existing directive would be deleted. A more binding framework would take effect.

Alexandra Thein (ALDE, Germany) rejects this approach. The MEP is opposed to adding to the bureaucratic burden on companies and imposing binding requirements, since "at a time when companies are not competitive globally, their goal is to create wealth and keep jobs. But everything in this report costs businesses money," she explained.

Her view is not shared by MEPs from other political families. For the rapporteur, Raffaele Baldassare, the idea that companies' sole objective is to earn profits is archaic. He nevertheless explains that he does not wish to impose additional obstacles. Baldassare's idea is to take account of the specifics of each sector and to foster greater inclusion of CSR in small and medium-sized companies. …