UPJ (Druckversion): debatte_detail
UPJ-Geschäftsführer Peter Kromminga berichtet im Rahmen der "Focus on a partner"-Interviewserie von CSR Europe über die Arbeit von UPJ sowie CSR in Deutschland.
As 2013 draws to a close, what are the current CSR issues and trends in Germany?
CSR is high on the agenda in Germany. Germany was one of the first countries in the EU to adopt a CSR action plan and it is now a role model of sorts for other member states. The action plan has been developed by the “CSR Forum”, a multi-stakeholder body appointed by the Federal government to advise the government on its CSR strategy and the action plan. UPJ is a member of this body and significant progress has been made in this regard.
Through a programme funded from the European Social fund and national sources since the end of 2011, thousands on SME’s have been supported to mainstream CSR in their organisations. UPJ is part of the programme with the project CSR Regio.Net.
Additionally, through a project called CSR Transfer, UPJ helps businesses to foster responsible business practice locally. Other topics high on the agenda are supply chain issues, business and human rights and of course the proposed EU Directive Proposal on Disclosure of Non-Financial Information.
What are some of the major initiatives that UPJ currently are engaged and what will be your focus for 2014?
The basis of UPJ’s work is quite unique as not only do we have a national network of engaged businesses, but also a network of local not for profit broker organisations. We strive to grow the network, but also to further mainstream CSR and encourage cross sector co-operation to tackle social challenges.
To this end, we will continue to support German SMEs to take up CSR. We also hope to work with CSR Europe and partners to contribute to a European Action Plan on Reporting and Integrated Performance.
UPJ is also working with community organisations to explore and to realise successful and effective partnerships with businesses through programmes like “Gute Sache”.
What is UPJ’s role in non-financial reporting and the German position?
Soon after the Commission's Directive Proposal on Disclosure of Non-Financial Information was published the German government asked relevant stakeholders such as UPJ to contribute their views on the matter. In principle, we welcome the Commission's initiative as it can be a suitable measure to regain trust in business which has lost in recent times due to irresponsible business behaviour. However, like CSR Europe, we very much hope the directive will be smartly designed, so that CSR-Reporting and transparency will not be taken by business as a cumbersome imposition but as a means to move towards sound CSR management and integrated performance.
Since its publication by the European the German government has been critical towards the EU Directive Proposal on Disclosure of Non-Financial Information. It underlined the voluntary character of CSR and highlighted possible additional bureaucratic burdens caused by the planned directive. On the European level the German government acted accordingly. As you may know a few days ago a new Federal government was formed. If this has had an impact on the German position on the Directive Proposal, I don't know. But nevertheless, the Council of the European Union agreed on a common position on 17 December. This means that as from now on the European Parliament and the Council each have a mandate to negotiate a co-decision for a European directive.
The German government is trying to raise Germany’s CSR profile at home and abroad with the use of the slogan “CSR – made in Germany”. Can you tell us some more about this?
The slogan "CSR - Made in Germany" aims to connect the product quality for which the German economy is well known, with the high quality of social and environmental standards of Germany's internationally operating companies.
The purpose of this concept is to sharpen the German CSR profile at home and abroad. German embassies and other organisations abroad are going to be involved in these activities. The German government also intends to draw greater attention in international business and political dialogues to the subject of CSR by, for example, conducting seminars on specific aspects of CSR for various interest groups such as businesses, unions and non-governmental organisations.
UPJ joined CSR Europe in 2013, how has this relationship progressed and benefitted UPJ?
It was high time to join the National Partner Organisations (NPO) Network as UPJ has cooperated with CSR Europe on an informal basis for many years and has carried out projects funded by different EU-Commission DG’s in partnership with some of CSR Europe’s National Partner Organisations.
Our mission is closely aligned with that of CSR Europe - to foster collaborative action of member companies as well as stakeholders from civil society and governments. Therefore, we hope to more effectively join forces with companies and fellow NPOs at the European level to co-shape the European CSR and Sustainability Agenda through CSR Europe and to collaboratively develop social innovations through cross sector co-operation.
How is UPJ involved in CSR Europe’s Fostering Inclusion project with the Skills for Jobs campaign?
Our aim in the campaign is to showcase how business can contribute resources, competencies and ideas in the development of innovative solutions for more inclusive business models and communities. We are contributing our experiences and findings from projects and programmes of our members and our own programmes such as a pilot project we run to involve businesses in uplifting disadvantaged city districts and programmes involving skills based volunteering.
What is your vision for CSR in the future - in Europe and beyond?
Considering the varying views on CSR, some groups very much highlight the value added for business, others emphasize the benefit for society. I would like to see a CSR-approach which is truly balanced, which integrates the business and social case for CSR and integrates business innovation in products, services and core processes and social innovation through stakeholder co-operation. Thus, responsible business practice has the potential to help to shape sustainable communities and societies.
Das Interview erschien zuerst am 20.12.2013 bei CSR Europe.