The CSR Framework
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) can play a key role in ensuring that globalization takes place in a way that is fair and just. Especially following the financial and economic crisis, public debate has focused on which standards are needed to ensure that the business community’s voluntary service efforts are truly effective and not simply arbitrary. Policymakers also have a greater role to play, namely in creating a framework that encourages businesses to get involved, thereby securing the resources companies have at their disposal for addressing the social challenges that concern us all. In Europe, this policy area is relatively new and still developing, and established guidelines do not yet exist. Through targeted incentives -- which encourage businesses to take responsibility and which include them in developing solutions to societal problems -- policymakers can establish a framework that benefits both the business community and society at large. Only when actors from all sectors work together can pressing problems, both on the national and international level, be addressed. This also makes it possible to develop solutions faster and in a way that has a long-term impact. Such partnerships allow policymakers to improve their own problem-solving capabilities while helping businesses ensure they remain competitive, in both national and international markets. With its online portal CSR WorldWide, the Bertelsmann Stiftung is helping German companies become socially engaged outside of Germany. In the future, the project’s focus will be expanded to examine the overall CSR policymaking framework in order to create updated forms of governance that are even more effective in responding to social challenges.
Which approaches exist on the European level to include the business community in developing solutions to societal problems? Which are most effective? The project CSR Policies in Europe compares existing tools and policy processes across Europe, documenting success factors and developing recommendations for creating a pro-CSR policy framework.more
Including businesses in development aid efforts can generate sustainable economic growth in partner countries and, as a result, shorten the time it takes to achieve development policy goals. The project CSR and Development Cooperation provides recommendations on how donor countries can effectively engage the private sector in public-private partnerships, especially in the world’s least developed countries.more
A key challenge companies face when they try to implement sustainable business practices in a foreign country is a lack of information. The Bertelsmann Stiftung is helping overcome this obstacle by making an online portal available that provides German companies with comprehensive information on the subject, along with networking resources. Visitors to the site can thus access detailed reports on how CSR is viewed in specific countries, as well as information on issues requiring attention and on potential collaborative partners.more