How business is done has significant impacts on people’s lives, society, the environment and economies. Being a Responsible Business means taking steps to prevent and reduce negative impacts on these areas and promote the positive outcomes.
The public, consumers, shareholders and governments also have increasing expectations of businesses to operate in a responsible manner.
To that end business owners need to be aware that there are both mandatory and voluntary initiatives, which guide and regulate different aspects of responsible business.
What businesses must know
There is a range of Responsible Business obligations in development or underway that business must take heed of:
EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive sets mandatory standards for how large businesses and listed companies report on the environmental, social and human rights impacts of their activities.
Proposed EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD)
The proposed EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive will create legally binding obligations on companies to address the adverse environmental and human rights impacts arising from their own operations, their subsidiaries' operations and their chain of activities.
EU Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation
The proposed EU Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation will introduce new product regulations to reduce the negative life cycle environmental impacts of products, increase re-use, repairability, and product circularity, while improving the functioning of the internal market.
EU proposal on prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market
The EU proposal on prohibiting products made with forced labour, when enacted aims to keep the EU market free from products made, extracted or harvested with forced labour, whether they are made in the EU or elsewhere in the world.
More about building Responsible Business
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct are guidelines which multinational enterprises are expected to maintain, and which OECD member countries have committed to uphold. In Ireland, we uphold the Guidelines through the OECD National Contact Point.
Trade and sustainable development
Trade is increasingly intertwined with the agenda of responsible and sustainable development. Information on the European Union’s trade and sustainable development policy is available at Trade - sustainable development.
Climate Toolkit 4 Business
Tackling our carbon emissions is good for our planet, our economy and your business. The Climate Toolkit 4 Business provides your business with practical ways to start taking action.
Role of government in promoting Responsible Business Conduct
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition that governments play a key role in supporting the effective implementation of RBC standards by providing an enabling policy environment, creating incentives, and exemplifying RBC in their own activities.
To address this need, the OECD Council adopted the Recommendation on the Role of Government in Promoting Responsible Business Conduct and the OECD Declaration on Promoting and Enabling Responsible Business Conduct in the Global Economy as guidelines for governments on how to promote responsible business conduct by companies in their territory and abroad.
Other national and international initiatives
Other important national and international initiatives relating to Responsible Business include: