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May 31, 2012
Add Corporate Social Responsibility to Rio+20, Stakeholders Say
    by Robert Kropp

The Dialogue on a Convention on Corporate Social Responsibility and Accountability proposes a global policy framework requiring companies to embed sustainability into their operations and report on their efforts.

The Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development begins in Brazil on June 20th, and key stakeholders are raising their voices to underscore the urgency of reaching meaningful international agreements on climate change and related sustainability issues.

A recent report from WWF warns that global consumption patterns continue to outpace the Earth's capacity for renewal of resources, while the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) warns, "Unless we radically adapt the way we use our natural capital, the very basis of our well-being will break down."

Arguing that "too many governments are using or allowing the talks to undermine established human rights and agreed principles such as equity, precaution, and 'polluter pays,'" a coaliti on of civil society groups has set out a 10-point agenda "for the global transformation urgently needed to deliver sustainable development." Among the points is a call for strengthening corporate reporting on social and environmental impacts.

The Dialogue on a Convention on Corporate Social Responsibility and Accountability (CSRA) has proposed that a global policy framework be established at the conference, requiring "all listed and large private companies to implement sustainability issues into their management and throughout their supply chains, and to integrate sustainability information within the reporting cycle."

An initiative of Stakeholder Forum and Vitae Civilis, CSRA observes that "voluntary corporate social responsibility reporting has made significant contributions to corporations operation. However the incremental progress of such initiatives poses environmental and societal risks."

"Markets are driven by information, and non-financial reporting helps companies to better integrate social and environmental issues into business operations and strategies," CSRA continued.

The upcoming conference provides an opportunity "for dialogue on the need for a convention on corporate social responsibility," CSRA states. "Stakeholders from across the world have begun to engage on the issue and have recognized the role such a convention could have in delivering sustainability through national regulation."


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