The European Commission approved a new European strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on 25 October 2011. Compared to the previous EU definition of CSR as voluntary standards, it now describes “CSR as the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society” and as compulsory in respecting core standards “in particular the recently updated OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the ten principles of the United Nations Global Compact, the ISO 26000 Guidance Standard on Social Responsibility, the ILO Tri-partite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.” This core set of internationally recognized principles and guidelines represents a strengthened global framework for CSR. European policy to promote CSR should be made fully consistent with this framework.
This shift is much welcome as it shows a recognition of the ethics of responsibility in business advocated by responsible decision making models. Also it can reduce the opportunistic use of CSR in business practices in Europe and beyond.