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Title: Pr

Corporate Social Responsibility
Layout of the presentation
  • CSR what are we talking about?
  • The challenges of CSR workers representatives
  • CSR, public authorities, workers
    representatives an experience still in its
    embryonic stages
  • CSR and experts

CSR what are we talking about?
  • 1. A reality that has come from elsewhere
  • The Unites States in the 1950s
  • An ethical and philanthropic approach, stemming
    from a religious background, chiefly adopted by
    large firms and multinational corporations
  • In a context dominated by
  • The historical weakness of social rights in the
    United States
  • The voluntary practices of businesses
  • A minimisation of the role of trade unions
  • An attempt to regulate a very unfair
     shareholder  capitalism

  • 2. A rather different European definition
  • A notion that comes to Europe later (end of the
  • Based on a different set of common values
  • Solidarity
  • Common good, collective interest
  • Anticipate rather than repair
  • The Commission of the European Union takes CSR
    among its concerns
  • Green paper June 2001 and a wide-ranging
  • Communication in July 2002
  • Multiple stakeholder Forum (2003-2004)

  • The EU definition of CSR
  • to be socially responsible means not only fully
    meeting all applicable legal obligations, but
    going beyond that to invest more in human
    capital, in the environment and relations with
    the stakeholders
  • This supposes the willing inclusion by
    businesses of social and environmental concerns
    in the commercial activities and their relations
    with their stakeholders

  • 3.  But there is a link between CSR and
    Sustainable Development (SD)
  • development that makes it possible to meet the
    needs of the present generation without
    compromising the ability of future generations to
    meet theirs, in particular for the most
    deprived people
  • Therefore SD concerns the whole of humanity at a
    global level
  • I must include three dimensions

The three dimensions
  • The differences between SD and CSR
  • CSR concerns a business, a group of businesses, a
    network or a sector of activity
  • CSR may be considered to be a contribution by
    business to sustainable development
  • Thanks to policies that seek to reduce
    externalities, the impact of businesses on their
    social and natural environment
  • However, these notions currently imply some
    significant ambiguities e.g. sustainable
    enterprise sustainable strategy,

  • 4. The driving force behind the deployment of
    CSR the increasing exposure of multinational
  • Increasing power and social responsibility
  • The transformation of economic power, beyond a
    certain threshold, into social power
  • even as traditional public regulation levers
    are weakening les régulations (there is a vacuum
    to be filled)
  • The internationalisation and increasing vigour of
    challenges to mainstream practice
  • A lowering of the threshold of risk acceptability
    by civil society in a globalised world
  • The non-accountability of businesses and the
    media coverage of scandals

  • The ransom of power
  • Increasing risks for businesses
  • A local problem immediately becomes a global one
  • The corporate image a key element in a
    businesss strategy
  • The need to take on public responsibilities
    illiteracy, schools, health,
  • The question of the legitimacy of corporate
  • Private enterprise and the offer of public
    services for the common good water,

  • The response of the multinationals
  • Steer the process of deploying CSR
  • Transforming a constraint into an asset
    (competitive advantage)
  • CSR an instrument of legitimisation
  • The two pillars of CSR policies in business
  • The primacy of intentional proactive measures
  • CSR as a simple extension of the logic of
    financial investment (risk management)

  • A varying level of commitment to CSR on the part
    of businesses the main factors
  • The more or less international nature of the
  • e.g. in the references to human rights
  • The nature of its activity and risks
  • The impact of the companys history and corporate
  • An opportunity to revisit all of the companys
    activity with the colours of CSR

  • Therefore
  • A current tendency to naturalise CSR, the
    vision of multinationals appearing as the only
    legitimate one
  •  Whereas CSR by definition involves and implies
    different, even diverging, interests
  • The development of soft law - a kind of
    privatisation of law - through the
    multiplication of voluntary commitments, against
    a backdrop of weakened public regulations
  • CSR is a groundswell movement and not a fashion
  • It is creating a system with the current context
    of deregulation and the domination of the
    Anglo-American view of governance

The challenges and stakes of CSR for workers
  • The risk of being offside
  • The trend towards voluntary actions tends to
    undermine the contractual dimension of social
  • They encroach upon the traditional sphere of
    social relations they address themselves
    directly to the employees
  • Hence the risk of a reduced place for workers
  • CSR, as an extended policy of risk management,
    safeguards the predominance of the
  • A CSR policy that focuses on other players from
    civil society can contribute to the
    marginalisation of workers representatives

  • Opportunities offered by current corporate
  • As a general rule, CSR can be an important lever
    for opening up a business to legitimacies other
    than those of managers and shareholders
  • CSR is a source of challenges to Management by
    workers representatives
  • Concerning voluntary one-sided commitments by
    corporate management
  • By pointing out malfunctions
  • By transforming these unilateral decisions into
    contractual agreements
  • Concerning the CSR and SD communications made by
  • By including them in the debate
  • By getting involved in the process (consultation?)

  • What is the role of workers representatives in
    CSR processes?
  • One stakeholder among many others (trivialised if
    not marginalised), or a structuring stakeholder
    in the CSR processes?
  • A company cannot have responsibility externally
    without being responsible internally
  • Trade union organisations are multistakeholders
  • This is a decisive and difficult challenge,
    considering clearly stated will of the
    representatives of European employers
    associations to dissociate CSR and social
  • A role to play in the construction in Europe of a
    new social compromise regarding the role of
    business in society?

CSR, public authorities, employee
representatives some experiments still at an
embryo stage
  • 1. Implementation of new regulations
  • National the example of the French law on new
    economic regulations (article 116) - May 2001
  • The management report of listed companies
    (potentially 950 companies) must include
    information about the way the company intends
    to take into account the social and environmental
    consequences of its activities
  • This is a legal obligation starting with the
    publication of the financial statements for 2002
  • A decree fixed the list of information required,
    both social and environmental

  • This law is more relies more on incentive than on
  • No legal sanctions are envisaged
  • Much latitude is left to businesses as to the
    practical steps for compliance
  • The law triggers a process (progress plan) that
    aims to gradually introduce a concept of
    performance that includes economic, social and
    environmental concerns
  • The question of the integration of national
    provisions in a context that is fundamentally
  • Other countries (Norway, Denmark and the
    Netherlands have introduced a legal obligation
    for environmental reporting

  • International
  • No European regulation in sight
  • However the European commission appears to be
    seeking to introduce a European standard for CSR,
    with a strong incentive to move toward the GRI
    (Global Reporting Initiative)
  • Our reservations with regard to this initiative
  • The risk of closing the debates (reporting) vs
    experimentation and openness to all stakeholders
    a formal approach vs a substantive approach
  • The risks it poses for the defence of a European
    business and social model the GRI is strongly
    influenced by the Anglo-American culture

  • 2. The development of agreements around CSR
  • International Framework Agreements (IFA)
  • Signed in general between the international Trade
    Union Federations and the multinationals
  • In certain cases, there has been an involvement
    of European Works Councils (EWC)
  • Example of Skanska, where the group in charge of
    monitoring the follow-up of the agreement
    consists of the HR manager and the bureau/select
    office of the EWC
  • The majority of IFAs are to do with the respect
    of ILO agreements
  • Over thirty agreements signed as of May 2004
  • 5 trade union federations involved ICEM, FETBB,

  • Agreements signed by the IFBWW (May 2004)
  • IKEA
  • Sweden 75,000 employees
  • Faber-Castell
  • Germany 5,500 employees
  • Hochtief
  • Germany 34,000 employees
  • Skanska
  • Sweden 80,000 employees
  • Ballast Nedam
  • Holland 7,000 employees

  • These agreements stake out some general
  • Their implementation and and practical outworking
    is decisive
  • If not there they run the risk of becoming mere
    window dressing for the one sided commitments
    made by the multinationals
  • Multiplication of agreements signed with
    multinationals and their European Works Councils
  • General Motors, Accor, Carrefour, Danone,
    Renault, EDF,
  • Predominance of social rights
  • Presence in most of these agreements of
    provisions for a socially responsible management
    of restructuring operations

  • Lessons learned from the involvement of European
    Works Councils in CSR
  • The question of the legitimacy of the body
  • A body still in development,
  • Favoured by the Management of multinational firms
    over national bodies
  • On transverse issues that may be treated
    homogeneously between countries safety,

  • A legitimacy that is nevertheless conditioned by
  • The existence of a culture of social dialogue
    within the company
  • A body that needs to be more than a forum for
    communication by the management
  • Operating resources for the EWCs that are in
    line with the functions they are called to fulfil
  • The need to identify the complex articulation
    required, with regard both to the trade union
    organisations and to the different levels of
    involvement (national / European / international)

  • A complex process
  • A long-haul process investment and rotation of
    the mandates
  • Non linear advances, trial and error
  • Permanent mobilisation required by the
    implementation of the agreements
  • The requirement for increased professionalism on
    the part of the workers representatives

Local population
Public authorities
Follow-up Control Evaluation
Different priorities, approaches
Maturing process
Role of other stakeholders
The role of management
Role of the EWC
Trade Union organisations

CSR and the role of experts work in progress
  • General usefulness
  • Reduce the asymmetry between corporate management
    teams and workers representatives
  • Cooperation based on contracts
  • Various possible approaches
  • Expert technical support for the steps undertaken
    by EWCs regarding CSR
  • Diagnoses on issues in which the EWC is involved
  • Supporting expert advice
  • Consultant role
  • Training
  • Audits expert appraisals being developed
  • E.g. social audit
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