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Setting a Framework for Corporate Responsibility (CR)  


Today's societal challenges, such as globalisation, demographic and climate change, technologic progress and scarcity of natural resources, have been increasingly shaping the debate on sustainability and societal development. To adequately tackle such complex and interdependent challenges, there is a need for pragmatic institutional and policy innovations as complements to traditional approaches.  

In this regard, politics has an important role to play. By setting the right CR framework through a smart mix of instruments, politics can encourage companies to take better their social responsibilities. Moreover, politics can use public-private collaborations to increase its own problem-solving capacity and make business part of the solution.  

Indeed, it has become common sense that such multi-stakeholder collaborations are at the heart of such innovative approaches to the solution of complex challenges. For this end, the contributions of business and civil society are essential.  

Apart from introducing responsible business practices within their core business and being good corporate citizens in the communities they operate in, companies can actively participate in the creation of adequate CR frameworks through self- and co-regulation within business-driven networks or within sector-specific initiatives. In this way, they can contribute to tackling the above-mentioned challenges and help establish innovative governance arrangements promoting sustainable business practices.

Focus Areas

Sector-specific CR in Europe

Sector-specific CR initiatives are new governance approaches of collective action that pool the resources and expertise of business, politics and civil society to solve the problems in specific industries. But, what are the features of such initiatives? What are the factors for good performance? Which role has politics to play in such collaborations to increase their chances of success? These are the questions we address in the project "Sector-specific CR in Europe".

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CSR Weltweit

A key challenge companies face when they try to implement sustainable business practices in a foreign country is the lack of information. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is helping overcome this obstacle by making an online platform for German companies with comprehensive information on the subject. Users can get detailed reports on how CR is viewed in specific countries, as well as information on issues requiring attention and on potential partners for collaboration.

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Collaboration with the UN Global Compact

As part of the collaboration between the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the United Nations Global Compact, three studies on CR-related issues were produced and launched at important political events: (1) role of governments as a CR-driver, (2) private sector contribution within public-private partnerships in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and (3) the potential of business-driven networks to sustainable development.

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