The state government’s CSR strategy is designed to strengthen the role of responsible businesses as best practice examples, to highlight routes to achieving a culture of responsibility, to support the implementation of CSR in different industries and regions, to drive forward CSR partnerships between businesses and universities and to promote CSR in international business relations. An advisory board is overseeing the strategy.
One focus of implementation is the CSR competence centres, which are being funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and by the state government. Industry-related issues and the innovation potential of CSR are at the centre of the “industry dialogues” (Branchendialoge), discussions run by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Representatives of SMEs and of major companies meet to discuss their CSR management approaches and tools, and to identify further steps in implementation. “Dialogues” have to date been held for the retail, trade, textile and energy sectors.
Innovation potential is also the focus of the CSR Academic Network (CSR-Hochschulkreis). The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Industry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia is committed to encouraging economics departments in particular to teach CSR skills to their students, to developing networks between businesses and universities in the field of CSR, and to providing a basic understanding of CSR innovation potential and of the business case for CSR.
By launching the NRW CSR strategy, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalisation and Energy of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia is also promoting CSR activities by many other players in industry, science and civil society. NRW is among the forerunners on CSR across Germany. The initiatives launched so far demonstrate that competition, innovation and social responsibility are by no means conflicting goals: in fact, each complements and drives forward the other.