Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


UK government sets out responsibilities on CSR

April 2010

The UK government has clarified areas of corporate responsibility covered by its departments.

In a statement to EP last month, the Labour administration said that while the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has overall charge of corporate responsibility across government, and is the home base of the corporate responsibility minister Ian Pearson, various aspects of the topic come under other departments.

The responsibilities are:
 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra): environmental reporting, ‘skills for corporate responsibility’ and liaison with trade unions on CSR in the workplace.
 Department for International Development (DfiD): ethical trading, the extractives industry and natural resources conflict issues.
 Department for Work and Pensions: socially responsible investment, ethical pension fund management, and UK relations with the International Labour Organization.
 Department of Communities and Local Government:
‘business brokerage’ and neighbourhood renewal.
 Foreign and Commonwealth Office: business and human rights, including the work of the United Nations special representative John Ruggie.
 Office of the Third Sector: youth volunteering, community endowments, support for charities and faith-based organizations.

Since 2000, BIS, which has undergone two name changes in recent times, has played the main role in co-ordinating CSR across government departments – although there was a brief suggestion two years ago that it might be challenged in this task by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The statement to EP said BIS’s main job is to ‘draw together work going on within other departments into a coherent and cohesive issue with a specific remit to help develop the business case for organizations to adopt and embed CSR within their operations’. 

Department for Business Innovation and Skills | UK & NI Ireland | Government role


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