line, but it is a key idea underpinning the notion of corporate social
responsibility - that a business should focus not only on its financial
performance but also its environmental and social impact. CSR is
becoming central to management thinking these days. It recognises that firms have responsibilities to a range of stakeholders, including
customers, suppliers, shareholders and local communities. Employees are, of course, another interested party, hence the influential role of HR professionals in developing CSR. Progressive employee relations policies are climbing up the boardroom agenda, in areas such as staff training and development, work/life balance, equal opportunities, internal communications and remuneration planning. Initiatives are being promoted at EU level, where responsible corporate citizenship and sustainable development have been key influences on social policy. A recent EU directive - to be implemented in UK law by March '05 - obliges employers to consult worker representatives about their business activities, economic situation and plans. Forward-thinking companies will embrace the spirit of workplace glasnost as part of their CSR programmes.