The EU should promote policies to capture new market opportunites

Gran Vía 28, building

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This morning I have had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion in a plenary meeting of the European Multistakeholder Forum on CSR hosted by the European Commission. See the complete Key Remarks.

Let me share with you the main ideas I have spoken about:

Trust and competitiveness, are essential for European companies today and CSR is a powerful tool to create value by increasing trust and confidence in the markets and boosting competitiveness. Lets see why.

1. CSR is a tool to strengthen trust and confidence through the sustainability report or the CSR report.

The is the reason why is so important developing a common framework based on international standards (Global Compact, GRI and ISO 26000) for European global competitiveness. Telefónica welcomes the spirit of the Danish reporting law, which requires listed companies to disclose CSR information in their annual reports following Global Compact + GRI using the formula “report or explain”. This model could be a useful starting point for the European debate.

2. CSR & Sustainability can be a competitive advantage for European Companies, if we, the companies are able to introduce it into the core business and into the P&L. How? Helping to identify new growth engines; reducing costs; and enhancing customer loyalty.

– We can find two great examples relative to new growth engines:

  • The first one, is the new European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, which aims to enhance the EU market for assisted devices and services which is estimated at over €30 billion annual value today.
  • The second one is the Sustainable Growth flagship initiative under Europe 2020, which might save up to €60 billion on Europe’s bill for oil and gas imports, boost GDP by 0.6% to 0.8%, or create 1 million green jobs.

That is why we believe the EU should promote policies which support European companies in capturing these new markets while supporting social entrepreneurs who create new social business.

– CSR and Sustainability will help companies to reduce costs: an effective risk management strategy translates into premium stock prices and reduction of the cost of debt. We, in Telefónica, develop global policies to manage economic, social and environmental risks, like privacy, child protection, supply chain, responsible advertisement, health and safety… following the risk map identified by the ICT sector within Global e Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).

That is why we believe the EU should define global standards, and encourage other sectors to develop their own risk management strategies and self- regulation policies to mitigate these risks.

-CSR and Sustainability will help companies to increase customer satisfaction & employee loyalty.  In order to encourage these social action initiatives, the EU could create some European Awards to recognize those companies which innovate in CSR social programmes.

In conclusion: Europe has the huge opportunity to contribute to the sustainable development through the CSR and to do this it’s necessary right policies and frameworks and of course the companies commitment to take advantage, always thinking about stakeholders and society progress.


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