Howitt argued that, despite recent European Commission policy promoting CSR, there are no assurances that it will remain a priority issue in future. He appealed to businesses to help shape European policy by responding to the European Commission’s consultation on future CSR strategy, which closes on August 15.

“The European Union has a real opportunity to provide global leadership on CSR, but there should be no complacency that the new European Commission and European Parliament will give equal priority to the issue in the future,” said Howitt.

“This public consultation must be used as both an early opportunity to shape future priorities, and to restate that CSR is integral to the future of business itself.”

Howitt was recently reappointed to the European Employment and Social Affairs Committee and is calling for responses to the European Commission’s online consultation on business CSR.

Earlier this year, the European Council made it a requirement that large European companies report on their social and environmental impacts in annual financial reports following a vote by the Legal Affairs Committee in December.

Commission criticised

The European Commission has repeatedly come under pressure to improve its environmental policy from campaign groups and members of the European Parliament.

In January, the European Parliament voted in favour of a binding 40% energy reduction target for 2030, however, last month the European Commission gave its backing to a 30% energy efficiency target, which was criticised by environmental groups as not going far enough to solve Europe’s energy crisis.

The Commission is currently reviewing its CSR strategy with a public consultation, which will end on August 15, followed by a report and a stakeholder forum on CSR, which is expected to take place in November.

Matt Field

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