The European Commission has held a consultation on corporate social responsibility (CSR). Through responding to the questionnnaire, QCEA promotes its viewpoint that corporations should fundamentlaly change how they view themselves and their role in society. CSR is currently seen as an optional extra for companies to engage in, which might increase the profits to shareholders. Instead, QCEA says, ‘Corporations must move beyond the outdated concept of maximizing shareholder value in the short term. Corporations are important social actors which will only be able to continue if the environment and people are sustained. Where corporations have difficulty making the transition from ‘I’ to’we’,
government should step in to push along social change for the public good…. We are co-creators of our world, although some actors, like businesses, have more opportunity for large impact than others. We are finally moving beyond the concept that wealth accrual through shareholder profit is the aim of our society. We know that well-being is far more than monetary wealth: it includes liveable climate, natural resources, clean water and air, decent working conditions, and more.’

The view of the EU, and companies operating in Europe, toward the social and environmental role of corporations, could have huge ramifications on international policy and how we create the world we want. One example is the current free trade negotiations between the EU and the US.

Click here to see QCEA’s response to the CSR consultation.