With the Berlin CSR Consensus on Corporate Responsibility in Supply and Value Chains, representatives of employers' associations, trade unions, chambers of commerce and civil society as well as member companies of the CSR Forum – i.e., all major players interested in valid regulation have reached a consensus. All requirements have been scrutinized and determined. Thus, mutual understanding and a definition of responsible management in this specific field as well as the operational implementation in a globalized economy could be put down on paper.
The aim is to give companies of all sizes and across industries guidance as to how entrepreneurial care can be adequately exercised in view of social, ecological and human rights due diligence.
The Consensus was developed by the Berlin CSR Working Group led by Professor Josef Wieland (Zeppelin University) and Heino von Meyer (OECD Centre Berlin) between June 2016 and June 2018. Wieland and von Meyer are members of the German Government’s National CSR Forum chaired by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).
A substantial organic as well as non-organic increase in the number of corporate networks is one result of globalized trade as well as an organized nature of global supply and value chains. Consequently, governance in accordance with sustainability is becoming increasingly important. Hence, the Berlin CSR group is focusing on precisely these topics and the coherent dynamics.
As a core result, the requirements for any responsible management in a globalized economy are now stipulated, and companies can now obtain specific support in fulfilling their responsibilities. The special role of corporate governance is described, along with fundamental leadership principles. In addition, the consensus formulates the essential elements of responsible management and provides guidance for operational implementation in terms of guidelines and defined processes.
Since the challenge of globalised trade cannot be met by companies alone, the Berlin CSR consensus – for the first time – ascertains not only the role of various social players in this context but also their contribution to sustainable governance in global supply and value chains. Thus, it also legitimates a social discourse on how globalization can be equitably and sustainably transformed into feasible leadership values and leadership principles in order to effectuate corporate social responsibility.
One of the major achievements that needs to be higlighted here is the outstanding importance that all stakeholders assign to corporate governance itself.
Derived from international standards, fundamental leadership principles are described in order to establish integrity, sustainability and an overall corporate culture. They can further serve as an internal compass for management in any industry to act naturally and in line with economic necessities while remaining socially responsible.
The Berlin Consensus is also the first CSR statement worldwide to stress the importance of leadership values and leadership principles to effectuate corporate responsibility as effectively as possible. Furthermore, it is the first one to emphasize the independent role of individual stakeholders - i.e., civil society and the state – within a mutual effort and process of all stakeholders in society.
Further publications on the Berlin CSR Consensus:
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS):
LEIZ Communication Management
Jandeisek, I. (2019, in press): Unternehmerische Verantwortung in globalen Liefer- und Wertschöpfungsketten. Der Berliner CSR-Konsens, in: Wieland, J., Grüninger, S., Steinmeier, R. (Eds.): Handbuch Compliance-Management. Konzeptionelle Grundlagen, praktische Erfolgsfaktoren, globale Herausforderungen. Berlin, Erich Schmidt.
Wieland, J. (2018): Relational Economics. Ökonomische Theorie der Governance wirtschaftlicher Transaktionen, Marburg: Metropolis.