The European Union has put out a new statement on business and human rights and CSR.
Or at least the the Swedish Presidency of the European Union and the incoming Spanish Presidency have.
If we are so bold to suggest that the other states won’t block this being implemented (and I would suggest they are unlikely to), it means that even with the Commission being changed in January, the emphasis on encouraging CSR and taking more interest in business and human rights is unlikely to go away.
With regard to companies, the statement tersely says that the EU will:
– Raise business awareness of its responsibility to respect human rights and exercise due diligence, notably through active implementation of the framework, effective incentives and other relevant means; (they mean the John Ruggie framework)
– Ensure that businesses respect human rights wherever they are operating;
– Continue, deepen and further improve the dialogue on CSR across Europe and beyond.
I hear from my sources in Brussels that the plan for CSR in Europe is to do less projects/initiatives around CSR (however you define them), but be much more focused and therefore make them better resourced.
I also heard at a conference of largely left-wing academics at LSE a few weeks ago that the International Criminal Court is considering the issue of companies and human rights. Given the likely US opposition to that idea though, the emphasis right now may be rightly greater on the word ‘considering’, than any other.
Meanwhile influential lobby/membership group CSR Europe has produced a guide to CSR in the region. You can download it here.