UNIDO’s corporate social responsibility approach presented at EU Human Rights Day
VIENNA, 10 December 2013 – The challenges in implementing human rights and corporate social responsibility into business conduct and operations were discussed during an event hosted by the European Union (EU) in Vienna in connection with International Human Rights Day. It gathered representatives from the EU, international organizations, the private sector and civil society.
Gerardo Patacconi, Chief of UNIDO’s Clusters and Business Linkages Unit, who participated as a panelist, said that ensuring that corporate social responsibility (CSR) supports, and does not undermine, the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries is crucial to improving the impact of business on society.
“Support for SME development can be an important part of the CSR commitment of large companies in the context of responsible supply chain management, and improvements in social and environmental impacts can go hand-in-hand with better quality and management,” he said.
Pataconni said that UNIDO’s CSR approach addresses the need to establish a framework for SMEs that helps translate CSR principles into a relevant SME perspective, thereby enhancing their competitiveness and market access. At the heart of UNIDO’s CSR approach is the Responsible Entrepreneurs Achievement Programme (REAP), a CSR-based management and reporting tool which supports SMEs in implementing responsible business practices.
“When forging linkages and partnerships, we cannot neglect the increasing concerns of consumers and buyers for the respect of legal, ethical, social and environmental standards. Firms that fail to meet these requirements are cut out of profitable markets,” said Patacconi.
Richard Kuehnel, Head of the European Commission Representation, Gyoergyi Martin Zanathy, Head of the EU Delegation to the International Organizations, and Morten Kjaerum, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, also took part in the event, which sought to raise awareness of the efforts made to encourage socially responsible business practices and to identify opportunities and challenges in the practice of CSR.
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Chief of UNIDO’s Clusters and Business Linkages Unit