Background   13 January, 2014

Background

The origins of this organisation date back to 2007, when its remit and objectives were defined and then agreed upon with companies and other business organisations. The project was defined during the previous term by the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Working Group of the Barcelona Chamber of Commerce and its implementation is a challenge for this working group’s current term.

This initiative, from its inception to the present, is a response to Catalan Government interest. As stated in the European Commission Communication:’the development of CSR should be led by companies. Public authorities should play a supporting role.’

During this period, the Chamber of Commerce has launched, in addition to the international programme Cogita, two CSR programmes: RSE.Pime (CSR.SME) and tRanSparÈncia (transparency). The success of these two programmes for Catalan companies illustrates the opportunity to provide companies with continuity, ensuring that they remain integrated as a significant asset within the framework of this initiative.

  • RSE.Pime (CSR.SME 2008–09): Facilitated customised support for 29 SMEs, thus aiding the incorporation of CSR criteria in business management systems.
  • tRanSparÈncia (2011–12): Implementation of CSR in the supply chain of large Catalan companies or companies operating in Catalonia, in collaboration with GRI. Eleven large companies invited 64 Catalan SMEs to learn CSR management, and the SMEs have produced their first CSR report.
  • Cogita (2012–14): European programme, with the participation of Catalonia and 12 other regions, for the promotion and development of CSR in the region.

Catalonia is one of the regions where CSR has most successfully taken root, both in large and medium companies that have taken expert advice and designed a specific model of management, and thanks to established initiatives that have helped many SMEs to adopt this CSR-management model. Additionally, the development of CSR as a modern concept has been aided by the traditional business model of Catalan companies, which are often managed by families, and have demonstrated a commitment to society.

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the leading global organisation for sustainability, has selected Catalonia, which has more committed SMEs than anywhere else, as a region in which to develop the tRanSparÈncia programme, a pioneer in CSR management along the supply chain.

Currently, these strengths are not sufficiently visible because they lack an institutional framework and leadership. Given the importance that this approach is gaining worldwide, the need to create a more sustainable economy, and the increased attention that investors pay to this issue, it is essential that these initiatives are given the prominence they deserve.

Següent Main challenges for an EU policy on CSR