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Yttrande om företagens sociala ansvar

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:
1) Supports the initiative taken by the Commission to create a forum for communication and dialogue with stakeholders between and across Member States that facilitates the mutual exchange of expertise and best practices and raises awareness on the subject matter of CSR on a European level. Furthermore underlines that the Commission must not undertake the initiative to establish yet another redundant regulatory framework that bring rules that are non-existent at the Member State level, into play.

2) Stresses that the engagement in CSR activities for actors in the corporate world shall always be voluntary in nature. Each company shall find solutions that match the predicaments of their individual corporate contexts. In addition to their voluntary nature, CSR activities shall never be a substitute to public sector activities or regulations when such measures are properly called for and shall be independent from the regulatory frameworks and legislation that applies to actors in the public sector.
3) Emphasises the need for companies to operate in a transparent legislative environment with clear obligations, including clear separations between binding and non-binding measures such as CSR.
4) Encourages companies to individually decide on benchmarks for CSR solutions based on information, expertise and the exchange of best practice. No one is better positioned or has better capacity to play the lead role in this active process than the business itself. Subsequently it shall be up to the company alone to decide on how to live up to what is considered to be good CSR practice. Furthermore it should be acknowledged that imposed CSR activities that do not emanate from within the company could have adverse effects on companies´ willingness to invest, particularly in developing countries, and can thereby reduce the chances of economic development and efforts to eradicate poverty.

5) Denounces the idea of a legally binding framework for CSR practice in the corporate world on a community level, whereas this might divert attention and energy away from encouraging genuine individual CSR initiatives. Solid regulation in this field will risk stifling the expression of core values and is therefore not likely to promote best practice.

6) Underlines that CSR measures based on voluntary initiatives and efforts without being dependant on binding regulation or minimum standards are sufficient to create a significant shift toward sustainability.

7) Welcomes a dialogue that encourages actors in the corporate world to create a reasonable balance between ethical considerations, profit making and competitiveness and engage in activities that are beneficial to society. Denounces the notion that efforts to increase profit contradict ethical behaviour, and acknowledges the benefits to welfare, development and sustainability from open and competitive markets. Especially underlines the ethical and commercial responsibility never to violate basic human rights or fundamental freedoms, which should apply to all European businesses in their activities in third countries. Furthermore stresses the responsibility of companies involved as employers or concerned parties never to take advantage of existing oppression of citizens in these countries. Companies have a direct responsibility to act in compliance wit0 regulation in this field, as it still remains a complex issue presenting political, legal and moral dilemmas. Actors in the corporate world shall repeatedly be made aware that all of their issues have far reaching societal and ethical implications.

8.) Encourages the Commission and involved stakeholders to provide an open and transparent framework for discussion, pillared on fact-based analysis of benefits and costs of individual actions.