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Sustainability and corporate social responsibility

Business plays a key role in the development of society, not the least in offering jobs, but also in providing innovative solutions to major societal and environmental challenges, such as sustainable transport, eco-efficient products, promoting a healthy lifestyle or diversity at the workplace, often working together with stakeholders.

The broad ownership and development of sustainability and CSR amongst European companies continues to flourish.

Competitiveness and sustainability are not in opposition. In fact, there is evidence that where EU companies are relatively advanced in this field, they can have easier access to finance, and/or this can be a competitive advantage for them on international markets.

Europe must approach sustainability and CSR policies in line with its need to remain globally competitive, including in the implementation of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It should be about encouraging and supporting sustainability in a partnership approach with companies and the relevant stakeholders. Policy intervention should focus on areas where it is needed and can effectively bring added value.

The key challenge for EU CSR policy is ensuring that it promotes further voluntary uptake and development of CSR by companies, whilst allowing them the flexibility to continue to shape their own CSR approach according to their specific circumstances and the needs of their stakeholders.


Public letters Date
Climate-related aspects in the non-binding guidelines on non-financial reporting - Letter from Rebekah Smith to Alain Deckers, DG FISMA 22/05/2019
Disclosure of non-financial information - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to members of the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee ahead of their vote on 17 December 2013, with voting recommendations 03/12/2013
Country-by-country reporting - Letter from BusinessEurope, the European Issuers and the European Association of Corporate Treasurers to members of the European Parliament Legal Affairs Committee 06/11/2013
Draft report by MEP Raffaele Baldassarre on corporate social responsibility - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to members and substitutes of the European Parliament JURI Committee 07/01/2013
Draft report by MEP Richard Howitt on corporate social responsibility (CSR) - Letter from Markus J. Beyrer to members and substitutes of the European Parliament EMPL Committee 07/01/2013
Position papers Date
Joint business response to the Zero Draft legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises ("Zero Draft Treaty") 18/10/2018
Review of EU CSR strategy 2011-2014 - BusinessEurope's response to the public consultation 09/09/2014
Disclosure of non-financial information - Joint statement by BusinessEurope, CEEP, EUROCHAMBRES and UEAPME 13/12/2013
Disclosure of non-financial information 09/07/2013
Reports and studies Date
A guide on CSR and human rights - what does it mean for companies in supply chains? 12/10/2015
Speeches Date
"Is Europe at a turning point for corporate reporting? The voice of Stakeholders", CSR Europe Workshop, 28 May 2013 - Speaking notes for Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope's Director of Social Affairs 28/05/2013
Commission’s initiative on principles for better self- and co-regulation - Speaking notes for Maxime Cerutti, BusinessEurope Social Affairs Director, Conference on Fostering Corporate Responsibility through Self- and Co-Regulation, 23 April 2013 23/04/2013
Press releases Date
Corporate Social Responsibility must remain business-driven 16/04/2013


Rebekah Smith

Deputy Director
+32 2 237 65 16
Last updated: 15 January 2019