European white paper steers clear of regulation

November 2002
Management Services;Nov2002, Vol. 46 Issue 11, p7
Academic Journal
This article reports that the European Commission (EC) has firmly rejected a regulatory approach to corporate social responsibility (CSR) in its newly published white paper on the subject. The document, which emphasizes the voluntary nature of CSR, makes it clear that the EC does not at present intend to impose responsible behavior on companies by regulation or directive. It rejects mandatory social and environmental reporting and does not propose a Europe-wide regulation requiring pension funds in member states to disclose any socially responsible investment policies they may have. The emphasis is on the commission's role in helping to increase knowledge of the business case for CSR, to develop means of sharing best practice, to promote CSR management skills, and to introduce an ethical dimension to its own procurement policies. Its chosen tool for doing all this will be a multi-stakeholder forum on CSR, comprising some 0 representatives from businesses, trade-unions, consumer groups and non-governmental organizations. The forum will direct EC efforts to put the business case for CSR to large and small companies, consider how best to achieve convergence among codes of business conduct, and strengthen research on CSR.


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