Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Corporate social responsibility

Delivered in Plenary - 7th February 2013

Mr President

Corporate social responsibility programmes can have powerful impacts at local level on alleviating social issues throughout the world. For businesses which choose to create such programmes and have the capacity to manage them, I fully support their endeavours, but businesses should have the right to choose whether or not to participate in such programmes and this decision lies firmly with its shareholders and boards of directors. For many SMEs, supporting CSR programmes can be unduly financially burdensome. The promotion of CSR goals must consider SMEs especially, and the unique challenges that they face.

While it is great for all to lend a helping hand when they can, CSR programmes and their implementation should be voluntary and conducive to successful enterprise. CSR must be an option which shareholders have to endorse in order to enhance their businesses’ good reputation and goodwill with local communities, but they should never be obliged to do it, and they must not be unduly burdened by doing so.