The European Commission (EC) recently toned down proposals for legislation on corporate responsibility, but still claims a strong commitment to boosting both sustainable and competitive business.
The recent Responsible Entrepreneurship Exchange, similar in model to the Bank’s Development Marketplace, provided an opportunity to showcase examples of how small firms are benefiting from corporate social responsibility (CSR). Commission Vice-President Guneter Verheugen made clear that in the EC vision responsible behavior by enterprises is an important part of the recipe for growth and jobs.
In early debates on CSR, critics argued it was the prerogative of larger firms that could afford the “luxury” of CSR program. Yet recent years have seen a proliferation of efforts worldwide to bring responsible practices to small and even micro enterprises, through both top down approaches via the supply chain and bottom up through entrepreneurship training.
Interested in the arguments? Check out the new report from the European Expert Group on CSR Opportunity and Responsibility: how to get more small businesses to integrate social and environmental issues into what they do. If you can get past the lengthy title it provides a good overview.