EU stakeholders discuss transparency of CSR practices and tools

Source: EurActiv.com, 10 April 2003

On 7 April, the EU Multi Stakeholder Forum on CSR held its last round table meeting in the first wave, focussing on the diversity and transparency of CSR practices and tools. Two additional round table waves will follow, until the Forum presents its final report in summer 2004.
Background:
The meeting held on 7 April was the last one of the first wave of CSR round tables, after which a high-level meeting is due to take place to assess whether there is a need for improving the process. This round table on "Diversity, convergence and transparency of CSR practices and tools" followed three others on "knowledge", "SMEs" and "development".
Each of the four round tables meet at least three times throughout the mandate of the CSR Multi Stakeholder Forum. After each wave of round tables, a high-level meeting is held to review progress.

Issues:
This round table meeting focussed on the practical application of available CSR tools, such as codes of conduct, management standards, labels, as well as socially responsible investments (SRI) and reporting. The first presenters were Carrefour and the International Federation for Human Rights, who talked about their cooperation on the enforcement of human rights among Carrefour’s suppliers, involving local NGOs. Later, B&Q, a DIY retailer explained its use of the Forest Stewardship Council’s forest certification and product-labelling scheme. The third group of speakers discussed the dialogue between companies and SRI rating agencies on the elaboration of a charter of conduct. The parties taking part in this presentation were the French Study Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, a representative of the AXA Group, and the French Comit√© intersyndical sur l’√©pargne salariale.

Next steps:

The next meeting in the context of the CSR Multi Stakeholder Forum is a high-level meeting scheduled for 20 May, at which Forum members may make changes to the current format of the discussions.
The second "transparency" round table is scheduled for 22-23 September 2003.
The Forum is to present a report with its conclusions by summer 2004.