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Corporate social responsibility (responsible business)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR), also known as responsible business, is 

"a process whereby companies strive voluntarily to make operational and social improvements by systematically incorporating economic, environmental and social considerations in an integrated and coherent way into their overall operations, in consultation with their stakeholders."

The Reference Framework - Corporate Social Responsibility in Belgium sets out what CSR entails:

  • Key points for CSR 
  • The importance of CSR for companies and their stakeholders 
  • An overview of key instruments and international standards.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) in Belgium

At federal level,  a working group was set up within the Interdepartmental Commission for Sustainable Development (CIDD/ICDO) to develop a more structured policy on CSR, in partnership with regional government representatives. Its work has resulted, among other things, in the Reference Framework - Corporate Social Responsibility in Belgium and the Federal Action Plan on CSR.

More information about this can be found on the website of the Federal Public Planning Service Sustainable Development (French-Dutch) and the website of the Interdepartmental Commission for Sustainable Development (French-Dutch). The CIDD/ICDO website also contains various documents, including the CSR Action Plan.

More information about one of the key international instruments on corporate social responsibility, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (French-Dutch), can be found on the website of the Belgian National Contact Point (NCP).

In Wallonia too, more and more companies of all sizes and sectors (private, public, social economy, etc.) are developing their CSR credentials. Visit the website rse.wallonie.be (French) for more information about the benefits of CSR and how you can get started.

CSR is also making its presence felt in the Brussels-Capital Region in a variety of sectors. For a growing number of businesses, it is the driving force behind the way they operate. More information about CSR in Brussels can be found on the website of the Brussels-Capital Region. (French-Dutch)

In Flanders, you can find out more from the Knowledge Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility. Its website www.mvovlaanderen.be (Dutch) provides comprehensive information, examples and instruments relating to CSR, telling you everything you need to know on the subject and allowing you to put the principles into practice.

Corporate social responsibility in Europe

Europe has been active on CSR for some time, with initiatives by DG Employment and Social Affairs, DG Enterprise and DG Environment. A green paper, two communications and an alliance with business on corporate social responsibility are proof of its commitment. The European Parliament is also engaged on the issue.

An overview of European developments and documents can be found on the website www.euractiv.com.

An overview of the key initiatives on CSR in the various European Union Member States can be found in the Compendium of national public CSR policies in the European Union. You can download the Compendium from the website of the European Commission's DG Social Affairs.