EUROPE is finally taking seriously the responsibility of its businesses, according to North East Labour MEP Stephen Hughes.
He has welcomed the publication of a new Communication on Corporate Social Responsibility for embracing a ‘smart mix’ of voluntary and regulatory initiatives.
The European Commission document calls on businesses to mitigate negative impacts and presages new EU legislation to require firms to report on their environmental, social and human rights performance.
Mr Hughes said: “Public trust in business, from banks to oil and mining companies, is at an all-time low because for too long irresponsible activity has been hidden behind a ‘corporate veil’ and a persistent culture of short-termism.
“This communication is literally re-defining what it means to be a responsible business and committing Europe to be an active player to make it happen.
“Our key focus now is not on the now-redundant debate over voluntary versus mandatory approaches, but instead on how we can maximise shared value which serves the interest of business and society at one and the same time.
“At this time of economic crisis it is an essential component of achieving sustainable recovery for the long-term.”
The Euro MP has represented European interests in global Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives on business and human rights at the UN, International Labour Organisation and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).