BRUSSELS, Belgium – CSR Europe, the European Business network for Corporate Social Responsibility, welcomed around 35 different sector organisations to discuss potential collaboration on sustainability.
The theme of the meeting, “Business Leadership: How can corporate sector associations in Brussels jointly support the EU’s renewed commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility?,” provided the ideal backdrop for sector organisations to discuss how to cooperatively support the European Commission’s renewed agenda on CSR.
The meeting put forward an underlying message that solving today’s sustainability challenges cannot be achieved by the work of one sector alone and that both a stronger sector approach and a cross-sector dimension are needed. In light of this, Pedro Ortun, representing the European Commission’s Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, opened his presentation by stating “it is impressive to see you all here today; we all share the opinion that CSR can bring added value, not only for business but that a cross sectorial approach to CSR can make a considerable contribution to society at large.” This message was further strengthened by Stefan Crets, Executive Director of CSR Europe, “I strongly believe that all players in society have to embark on the CSR journey together. Collaboration and synergy with sector organisations will further help to accelerate the European movement on CSR in an efficient way.”
More broadly, the meeting gave participants an insight into CSR Europe’s Enterprise 2020 initiative, a reference initiative for companies committed to developing innovative business practices and working together with their stakeholders to provide practical solutions to emerging societal needs. Colleen Fletcher, Director of Membership and Stakeholder Relations, explained that “with such a hands-on approach, we recognise European sector organisations as strong collaborative partners with important critical inputs.”
“We all have a shared responsibility to help rebuild the trust that society at large has in business and one way of achieving this goal is through smart cooperation and synergy on the European CSR agenda” said Jan Noterdaeme, CSR Europe’s Senior Advisor on External Relations. Susan Bird, representing the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment and Social Inclusion, also had some positive messages in relation to a cross sector approach to CSR and asked for CSR Europe’s support in order to map out sectorial CSR activities against the EU Communication on CSR.
The strong attendance by various sector organisations is encouraging and emphasizes the growing European movement on CSR. CSR Europe will analyse the opportunities for sectorial synergy and will propose practical action to better support the member companies. In view of this, CSR Europe will organise a second sector meeting in the spring 2012 to develop a cooperative approach to common sustainability challenges.
January 25, 2012.