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Trend and progress of CSR in Europe in 2020


From August 5 to 7, 2020, the 15th International CSR Forum was held in Beijing. Through the exchange and sharing of the global CSR development trend and practice, the forum explored the resilient development path of the CSR fulfillment and sustainable business.
At the theme forum of "Global CSR Development and Trend", Jan Noterdaeme, Co-Founder and senior advisor, CSR Europe, shared the latest progress of CSR and sustainable development in Europe, mainly including two aspects: the latest EU policy updates and the sustainable development actions of European enterprises.

 Jan Noterdaeme​ 
Key points:
   - The new European Commission is promoting the integration of the UN SDGs into every European policy.
   - 27 EU member states have set up a recovery plan of € 750 bn to help realize SDGs and help Europe become the first "carbon neutral" region in 2050.
   - EU will unlock Sustainable Investment for business transformation through the mobilization of €260bn a year by 2030.
   - The EU Pact for Sustainable Industry reached by the CEOs of 380 enterprises helps the EU transform from a volume economy into a value-oriented one, and improves the value and quality of its industries.

SDGs in all EU Policies
From the perspective of the government, the first policy of the new European Commission elected last year is to incorporate the UN SDGs into every policy of the EU, including industry policy, trade policy, development, labor policy, finance and tax, etc. The second decision is to incorporate SDGs into the "EU semester", which is one of the strongest tools for policy coordination among Member States. The European Commission assesses the performance of 27 governments every six months through the "EU semester" system, and evaluates their economic and financial objectives accordingly, now, also their sustainability objective. Therefore, economy, finance and sustainability have become one driver for the inclusive and sustainable growth in Europe.
In a short term, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 27 heads of states in Europe have launched the recovery plan, Next Generation EU. European leaders have agreed to set up the recovery plan of 750 billion euro to rebuild the EU economy hit by the COVID-19 and promote the EU's transformation and upgrading goals of "green economy" and "digital strategy", so as to improve Europe's recovery and resilience. It will also facilitate the realization of SDGs by 2030 and make Europe the first climate-neutral and inclusive continent by 2050.
There are now hundreds of strategies and action plans launched by the new European Commission and the new European Parliament. Here, I would like to highlight some of the measures taken. A few weeks, the regulations, Environment And Human Rights Due Diligence and the supply chain compliance were launched to respond to the great impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain as tens of thousands of men and women lost their jobs or their working conditions were more worse. Another important initiative is the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030. The EU and China would like to collaborate closely in order to make 2021 UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) a success nest year, reaching an international agreement on biodiversity as ambitious as the Paris Agreement in 2015. We also emphasize that investors should support the transformation of enterprises while respecting nature.
In addition, the education Agenda And Pact For Skills will be launched in November 2020. The agenda is about how the EU can adapt millions of workers to new changes, acquire new skills and adapt to new jobs, such as those brought about by the "green economy" and "digital strategy". In addition, European enterprises will have a much stronger role to play to fight racism and discrimination of minority groups.
To illustrate, another important development for the EU, it is so called EU Taxonomy, representing a series of proposals. It includes climate mitigation and adaptation policies and the corresponding industrial economic taxonomy and biodiversity taxonomy, all of which will push investors to allocate more funds to investments that can realize medium and long-term transformation. Europe will mobilize about 260 billion euro annually until 2030 to promote sustainable investment and realize business transformation of enterprises. This is a big ambition.
Promoting enterprises to realize systematic change
From the perspective of enterprises, the CSR Europe cooperates with many responsible enterprises mainly from three aspects.
First, like GoldenBee, we support many companies to improve their internal management systems and processes.
Secondly, through the platform of CSR Europe, we help companies in one same industry or different sectors to collaborate together, find more scalable  solutions, expand the application scale of solutions, and promote bottom-up standardization. Third, we seek to have a continuing dialogue with EU policy makers.
In this way, the combination of these three will contributing to more systematic change, bringing cultural change in corporate behavior, change in investors’ behavior and consumers’ behavior.
In addition, one way to bring business innovation closer to policy development, is the EU Pact for Sustainable Industry. It is reached by CSR Europe, colleags and CEOs of 380 enterprises and shows that enterprises are committed to sustainable development. Leading businesses can have much stronger roles to accelerate the change within Europe, industry sectors and federations. We want that CSR and sustainability are out of its elite industries and elite teams, and lead the network as sustainability pioneers. These pioneers can become the builders of sustainability ability of enterprises, and provide corresponding tools and programs to further have the sustainability as the main driver of corporate growth. It can be said that "EU Pact for Sustainable Industry" is an important measure, which can help the EU shift from a volume-economy to a more value economy, and improve the value and volume of industries.
Finally, based on the 15-year cooperation between CSR Europe and GoldenBee in the field of CSR, it is hoped that the two sides will make new progress in cooperation on biodiversity, and more Chinese companies that champion on biodiversity and European companies engaging in that domain. It is expected that COP 15 will be a success in Kunming in 2021. 
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