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EuroCommerce welcomes Commission’s new CSR strategy


26 Oct 2011


Trade & Society

Brussels, 26 October 2011 – Yesterday’s Commission communication on a renewed EU strategy for Corporate Social Responsibility 2011-14 was welcomed by EuroCommerce. Director General Christian Verschueren commented: “The promotion of internationally agreed CSR principles and guidance tools like the OECD guidelines, the UN Global Compact and ISO 26000 are welcomed by EuroCommerce.”

Mr Verschueren did, however, express some reservations with the new proposal. “This communication, the first policy statement since 2006, constitutes without a doubt a paradigm shift in EU policy on Corporate Social Responsibility. We regret that the voluntary engagement of companies is no longer seen by the Commission as a key feature of CSR. The new definition of CSR as ‘the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’ puts less emphasis on the great voluntary efforts and achievements that can be witnessed in commerce and other sectors.”

On CSR reporting, EuroCommerce asks the Commission to refrain from measures that would increase administrative burdens and impose additional costs on companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises. “In times of economic crisis, this would be the wrong signal to send to companies”, Mr Verschueren said. “Many retailers and wholesalers already report extensively about their CSR engagement. Commerce companies need to maintain their flexibility on how they disclose information about their social and environmental impacts and commitments.”

“EuroCommerce supports the Commission’s goal to enhance the visibility of CSR and to promote the dissemination of good practices, for example by means of a European Award scheme or sector-specific multi-stakeholder platforms. We are willing to cooperate with the Commission in these fields”, concluded Mr Verschueren.

Media contact

Marjolein Raes

Director Advocacy & Communications

T: +32 2 737 05 99

Note to the editors

EuroCommerce represents the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe. Its membership includes commerce federations and companies in 31 European countries. Commerce is a dynamic and labour-intensive sector, generating 11% of the EU’s GDP. Over 95% of the 6 million companies in commerce are small and medium-sized enterprises. The sector is a major source of employment creation: 31 million Europeans work in commerce.