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First exchange of views on Corporate Social Responsibility

In addition to their voluntary nature, CSR activities can never be a regarded as a substitute to public sector activities when such measures are properly called for. Furthermore it is neither the responsibility nor the role of the parliament or any other institution to create a legally or informally binding framework for CSR practice on a community level. This might only lead to a diversion of attention and energy away from encouraging genuine individual CSR initiatives. Gunnar continued by raising the issue of corporate actors´ commercial responsibilities. It is of vast importance that European businesses in their activities in third countries never violate basic human rights or fundamental freedoms. Companies do have a direct responsibility to act in compliance with regulation in this field, as it still remains a complex issue presenting political, legal and moral dilemmas. Instead of binding regulation or minimum standards in the field of CSR, actors in the corporate world shall repeatedly be made aware that all of their issues have far reaching societal and ethical implications. This is what creates the most efficient incentives for actors in the corporate world to find a reasonable balance between ethical considerations, profit making and competitiveness. In his final conclusions Gunnar declared that there exists a false impression of a contradiction between companies´ efforts to increase profits and engage in activities that are beneficial to society. According to Gunnar rather the opposite has been proven true, as these processes are closely interlinked.

The deadline for amendments for Gunnar´s draft opinion is the 25 of October. The vote in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy is foreseen for the 28 of November. The vote on the report in the Committee of Employment and Social Affairs will be held the 19th of December and the report will go to plenary in January or February 2007.