A strategic approach to CSR is increasingly important to a company’s competitiveness. It can bring benefits in terms of risk management, cost savings, access to capital, customer relationships, human resource management, and innovation capacity. It also encourages more social and environmental responsibility from the corporate sector at a time when the crisis has damaged consumer confidence and the levels of trust in business.
- Through CSR, enterprises can significantly contribute to the European Union’s treaty objectives of sustainable development and a highly competitive social market economy. CSR underpins the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, including the 75% employment target. Responsible business conduct is especially important when private sector operators provide public services.
- CSR requires engagement with internal and external stakeholders so it enables enterprises to anticipate better and take advantage of fast-changing expectations in society as well as operating conditions. This means it can also act as a driver for the development of new markets and create real opportunities for growth.
- By addressing their social responsibility, enterprises can build long-term employee, consumer and citizen trust as a basis for sustainable business models. This in turn helps to create an environment in which enterprises can innovate and grow. The economic crisis and its social consequences have to some extent damaged levels of trust in business, and have focused public attention on the social and ethical performance of enterprises, including on issues such as bonuses and executive pay.
- Helping to mitigate the social effects of the crisis, including job losses, is part of the social responsibility of enterprises. In the longer term, CSR offers a set of values on which to build a more cohesive society and on which to base the transition to a sustainable economic system.
- By renewing efforts to promote CSR now, the Commission aims to create conditions favourable to sustainable growth, responsible business behaviour and lasting job creation for the medium and long-term.