THE ARCTIC COUNCIL’S WORK ON CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The Sustainable Development Working Group of the Arctic Council examined the issue of Corporate Social Responsibility in the Arctic during the Swedish Chairmanship 2011-2013.

At the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Nuuk, Greenland in May, 2011, there was an agreement to initiate a dialogue with the private sector respecting ways that the business community could contribute to sustainable development in the Arctic:

“TAKE NOTE OF THE INCOMING SWEDISH CHAIRMANSHIP’S INTENTION … TO INITIATE A DIALOGUE WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR ON HOW BUSINESS CAN CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE ARCTIC”   (p. 28 Nuuk Declaration).

Corporate Social Responsibility was a new issue for the Arctic Council agenda.  In order for members to have a common point of departure, with the same information, the Swedish Chair of the Sustainable Development Working Group convened a series of workshops to explore the topic. Four workshops were held:

1. STOCKHOLM WORKSHOP ON CSR, JANUARY 2012
2. REYKJAVIK INFORMAL BUSINESS DIALOGUE, SEPTEMBER 2012
3. SIGTUNA WORKSHOP ON CSR, NOVEMBER 2012
4. STOCKHOLM CONFERENCE ON CSR, APRIL 2013

This process led to recognition of the importance of CSR in the Arctic and the willingness for the Arctic Council to add responsible business conduct to its ongoing agenda.

To follow up on this work, the Sustainable Development Working Group will continue to be engaged in and develop CSR as an integral part of its agenda in the future.