These principles, which constitute a basis for consensus and constructive dialogue between business and civil society’s organisations, are the first results of the Commission’s strategy on Corporate Social Responsibility.
Given the "necessity of creating conditions favorable to sustainable growth, responsible business behavior and durable employment generation in the medium and long term" the European Commission released, in October 2011, "A renewed EU strategy 2011-2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility"; the Communications Network, Content and Technology Directorate General (DG CONNECT) took the lead for Action 5, which proposed to "launch a process in 2012 with enterprises and other stakeholders to develop a code of good practice for self- and co-regulation exercises, which should improve the effectiveness of the CSR process".
After the development of a first version of the "Code for Effective Open Voluntarism: Good design principles for self- and co-regulation and other multi-stakeholder actions" in the first months of 2012, it was then submitted for public consultation from June to September that year. In order to reformulate and improve the original text, the outcome of this consultation was analysed, resulting in the publishing on February 2013 of the "Principles for Better Self- and Co-Regulation".
These best practice principles, which will be promoted, tested and improved by the stakeholders taking part in the Community of Practice, include the following codes:
While EPHA (who responded to the consultation and participated in a public meeting to discuss the first draft code) acknowledges the key role of the industry in the policies implementation process, it also reiterates that the private sector should never be involved in the policy and strategy development and norms or standards settings: EPHA strongly encourages the Commission to implement legislation in matters impacting on population health because, even if voluntary self and co-regulation could be useful tools, they have proven to be ineffective to achieve health policy objectives.
Next steps: The Community of Practice first meeting will be held during the second half of 2013 and, by the end of 2014, it might have provided some practical experience to report on.
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