The actions of companies have significant impacts on the lives of citizens in the EU and around the world. Not just in terms of the products and services they offer or the jobs and opportunities they create, but also in terms of working conditions, human rights, health, the environment, innovation, education and training.
For this reason, EU citizens rightly expect that companies understand their positive and negative impacts on society and the environment. Therefore, companies prevent, manage and mitigate any negative impact that they may cause, including within their global supply chain. Living up to this duty is commonly known as ‘corporate social responsibility’ (CSR) or ‘responsible business conduct’ (RBC).
The Commission has defined CSR as the “responsibility of enterprises for their impact on society” and, therefore, it should be company led. Companies can become socially responsible:
- by integrating social, environmental, ethical, consumer, and human rights concerns into their business strategy and operations;
- following the law.
CSR brings benefits to enterprises, the economy and the society for many different reasons. For enterprises, CSR and RBC provide important benefits in terms of risk management, cost savings, access to capital, customer relationships, HR management, sustainability of operations, ability to innovate and eventually profit. For the EU economy, CSR and RBC make companies more sustainable and innovative, which contributes to a more sustainable economy. For society, CSR and RBC offer a set of values on which we can build a more cohesive society and on which we can base the transition to a sustainable economic system.
And you, can you think about some practical benefits that people may get from CSR and RBC? Write them in the comments!
For more information about CSR + in Europe, read the EU CSR + Report or write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.