Public policies on corporate social responsibility: The role of governments in Europe

Laura Albareda, Josep M. Lozano, Tamyko Ysa

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

309 Citations (Scopus)


Over the last decade, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been defined first as a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and cleaner environment and, second, as a process by which companies manage their relationship with stakeholders (European Commission, 2001. Nowadays, CSR has become a priority issue on governments' agendas. This has changed governments' capacity to act and impact on social and environmental issues in their relationship with companies, but has also affected the framework in which CSR public policies are designed: governments are incorporating multi-stakeholder strategies. This article analyzes the CSR public policies in European advanced democracies, and more specifically the EU-15 countries, and provides explanatory keys on how governments have understood, designed and implemented their CSR public policies. The analysis has entailed the classification of CSR public policies taking into consideration the actor to which the governments' policies were addressed. This approach to the analysis of CSR public policies in the EU-15 countries leads us to observe coinciding lines of action among the different countries analyzed, which has enabled us to propose a four ideal' typology model for governmental action on CSR in Europe: Partnership, Business in the Community, Sustainability, and Citizenship, and Agora. The main contribution of this article is to propose an analytical framework to analyze CSR public policies, which provide a perspective on the relationships between governments, businesses, and civil society stakeholders, and enable us to incorporate the analysis of CSR public policies into a broader approach focused on social governance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-407
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Corporate social responsibility
  • Governance
  • Public policies
  • Public-private partnership
  • Welfare state


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