UN to promote responsible business practices in new European Union members

UN to promote responsible business practices in new European Union members

The United Nations, which has consistently pushed for a code of corporate social responsibility in private sector companies, ranging from responsible globalization to promoting human rights and fighting corruption, has launched an initiative to embed such practices in new European Union (EU) member countries.

Under the $1.36 million project launched with the European Commission, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) will work with enterprises and other stakeholders in eight countries – EU members Bulgaria, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia, and candidate countries Croatia, Macedonia, and Turkey.

The project will assist the integration of social and environmental concerns in business operations and in corporate interaction with government, trade unions, business associations and communities on a voluntary basis.

“The main objective is to accelerate in the new EU region the implementation of CSR (corporate social responsibility) practices, which are seen as a vehicle for EU harmonization, social cohesion and improving competitiveness,” UNDP regional project leader and head of office in Lithuania Lyra Jakuleviciene said.

The project, expected to continue until mid-2008, will address both local and foreign enterprises in the eight countries, and will be carried out by UNDP offices in each country, in cooperation with national and regional partners. Business networks in Spain, the United Kingdom and Germany will contribute through exchange of experience and good practices.