Magazine article European Social Policy

Enterprises : Ep Backs Barroso's Approach to Social Responsibility

Magazine article European Social Policy

Enterprises : Ep Backs Barroso's Approach to Social Responsibility

Article excerpt

MEPs are putting pressure on the European Commission to adopt a legislative proposal on theatransparency of companies' information relating to social and environmental responsibility, in accordance with its 2011 commitments. This is one of the key messages of two non-legislative resolutions, adopted by the European Parliament's plenary on 6 February. Commissioner Antonio Tajani responded by assuring the rapporteurs that he would present his proposal "before the end of March 2013".

The notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) emerged in the early 2000s to define a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis. A decade later, CSR practices remain largely confined to a minority of large businesses, despite calls from national and Community bodies.

In this context, MEPs are encouraging businesses to increase their efforts to comply with CSR principles. Two separate reports have been adopted during the plenary session. The first report, prepared by Raffaele Baldassarre (EPP, Italy) on behalf of the Committee on Legal Affair (JURI), is particularly devoted to promoting transparent and responsible corporate behaviour and sustainable growth. The second report, written by the Richard Howitt (S&D, UK), emphasises the contribution that social responsibility can have on an inclusive and sustainable recovery. Both reports generally call on the Commission to consider the possibility of introducing a European social label'. This would ensure greater visibility of the CSR efforts undertaken by businesses vis-a-vis consumers and investors.

Both documents also maintain that corporate social responsibility should be evaluated by looking at the corporate behaviour of businesses that participate in the supply chain as well as any other potential subcontractor. …

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