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Belgians prepare to push CSR

April 2001

The Belgian government is to promote corporate social responsibility during its six-month presidency of the European Union, which starts in June.

The start of the presidency will be marked by the publication of an EU green paper on CSR that is being drawn up by the EU’s employment and social affairs directorate.

The document will take the form of a discussion paper outlining thoughts on the future development of CSR. It would lead to legislation only if member countries agreed this was the best way to proceed.

An EU official confirmed that the document was ‘still being formulated’.

Belgian government officials have also been working with CSR Europe to agree a programme of events during the presidency. These will culminate in a CSR conference in November.

The two or three-day conference will also cover socially responsible investment. The date and venue are currently being discussed.

The start of the presidency will be marked by the announcement of an action plan of European events and initiatives intended to raise the profile of CSR in the build-up to the European year on CSR in 2005 (EP7, 2000).

A steering group of officials from CSR Europe, the Copenhagen Centre, the International Business Leaders Forum and Business in the Community is currently drawing up the plan.

The steering group is also attempting to refine the aims of the European year and is now seeking funding for various events.

CSR Europe spokeswoman Catelijne Wessels said that the ‘full activity plan’ would include middle and eastern European countries.

‘We want to have a wide geographical spread in the campaign,’ she said.

According to Wessels, Frank Vandenbroucke, the Belgian minister for social affairs, has indicated that the Belgian presidency will regard the promotion of CSR as one of its core activities.

‘It makes sense that by June we have the action plan ready so that the presidency can take it forward,’ she said.

CSR Europe is a business-led umbrella organization that aims to improve the behaviour of companies on issues such as diversity and human rights.




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