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Corporate Social Responsibility

Perspectives for Sustainable Corporate Governance

Catherine Malecki

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is setting new missions for companies and shining a welcome light on issues such as the behaviour of board members, shared value, the well-being of stakeholders, the protection of vulnerable individuals and the roles played by public opinion and shareholders. This timely book seeks to lay the foundations for a sustainable corporate governance based on the European Commission definition of CSR as ‘the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society’. More generally, this sustainable corporate governance responds to some of the pressing challenges of the 21st century, from sustainable finance and climate change to carbon reduction and population growth.
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Chapter 7: What guides or labels for socially responsible behaviour?

Perspectives for Sustainable Corporate Governance

Catherine Malecki

Extract

CSR forms part of the more general behavioural trend in corporate governance. Corporate governance codes (such as the AFEP/MEDEF and Middlenext codes) serve as guides to behaviour in the wake of the Green Paper on “The EU corporate governance framework” (5 April 2011), which refers to the notion of “social risks”, something that in itself is a step forward. The concept of “sustainable compliance” must be developed if we are to make CSR more effective. The German Sustainability Code and Global Sullivan Principles are both enlightening examples in this regard. Ethical charters and codes of ethics are also helping to develop ethical behaviour. In France, National Contact Points (NCPs) have proved effective. SA8000, an international social standard, and the International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) are also useful. The creation of a “European social label”, something that has been strongly advocated by the European Parliament, would help to boost the visibility of CSR both within and outside the EU.

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