Among numerous speakers, CSR Europe Chairman Davignon stressed the campaign’s motto: ‘it simply works better’, and Commissioner Liikanen invited participants to contribute to the public consultation that the Commission opened on CSR. The survey was commissioned by CSR Europe and Euronext as part of “The European Business Campaign 2005 on Corporate Social Responsibility”.
Set up by business leaders following a special appeal from the EU’s political leaders at the Lisbon Summit in 2000, its primary aim is “to mobilise 500 000 business people and partners on the topic of CSR by 2005, and to establish the role of business in helping Europe achieve its Strategic Goal 2010”.
The SRI survey indicates that around 16 bn euro are available for investments in ‘green and ethical’ funds. An important issue underlying the CSR initiatives is the extent to which the EU and Member States should let industry take the initiative, or on the contrary regulate socially responsible behaviour by companies.
Industry, while supporting basic minimum rules, tends to favour self-regulation, arguing that it can be more efficient, and encourage the best companies to lead with innovative schemes. On the other hand, trade unions and some environmentalist groups trust more public schemes. EU institutions have used in other policy areas the concept of co-regulation, and will publish their views on CSR at the end of the consultation period, beginning of 2002. Some experts advocate standardisation and labelling as a way to compare companies without imposing binding rules.