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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

In the course of the debates concerning the development of ISO 26000 "Guidance on social responsibility" an alliance of the stakeholder groups consumers, labour and NGOs was formed in Austria. These groups strongly rejected the ISO standard as a feeble “vendor’s tray of options” lacking clear-cut substantive recommendations (there are no requirements as it is a guidance document). They are at the lowest level and constitute in fact a step backwards compared to existing legal provisions in Europe. The Austrian rule ONR 192500 (2011) based thereupon has little more to offer as regards content. Drivers of the preparation of these documents were - next to multinational companies which wanted to create a green image - consultants and certification bodies hoping to make money with assisting corporations in building green facades.

In the period March 2011 to April 2015 the Head of the Office of the Consumer Council - Franz Fiala - was chairman of the Network Social Responsibility (Netzwerk Soziale Verantwortung, NeSoVe) in the period March 2011 to April 2015. It was an alliance of civil society and trade union organisations which had a rather critical stance towards CSR at the time. Among other he initiated a price for the most irresponsible organisation (person, institution, enterprise) of the year — the “eyesore” (“Der Schandfleck”): It was awarded for the first time in February 2013. Unfortunately it was later abandonned (five award ceremonies in total). The Consumer Council is no longer member of NeSoVe.

Franz Fiala had also a leading role in drafting the brochure "Corporate Social Responsiblity - Preciousness or speciousness – That is the question!" published in 2012. It constitutes a fundamental critique of the business driven CSR concept (one of the few available) and demonstrates that CSR is essentially fake. This also applies - as shown by a study of the Consumer Council - to the so-called "responsible investment" sector (see below). Just like the term "sustainability" today just means that some people fill sustainably their pockets...

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