On March 6th 2013 the CCIC project participated in an EU joint event hosted by the INTERREG IVC project COGITA – Corporate Social and Environmental Responsibility through Public Policy (http://www.cogitaproject.eu). The COGITA project, running from January 2012 to December 2014, groups 13 regions from across Europe, and promotes social and environmental responsibility within SMEs.
Within the context of encouraging competitiveness through responsible behaviour, COGITA’s overall objective is to improve public policies supporting the uptake of an integrated concept of CSR in SMEs.
CSR is a theme that matches some of the issues dealt with within the CCIC project. The main aim of CCIC is to improve regional policies by enhancing innovation in the public sector and increasing collaboration between local and regional authorities, public entities and other stakeholders.
CSR is expected to bring benefits also in terms of innovation capacity, in addition to risk management, cost savings, access to capital, customer relationships and human resource management. It could therefore represent an important way to achieve CCIC’s aim of “a common approach for local innovation policies that enables local decision-makers to implement efficient innovation policies for growth, promote innovation support, and knowledge transfer”.
Besides the CCIC project, COGITA also invited three other EU projects within the fields of CSR, innovation and SMEs and supported by the European Regional Development Fund through territorial cooperation programmes (INTERREG IVC / South East Europe).
Participants of all five projects, together representing 44 European Regions, and representatives from the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions met at this joint event in Brussels. All five projects, including CCIC, were presented and afterwards all participants worked together and identified a range of possible solutions to the challenges of promoting and improving CSR in SMEs.
One of the topics debated across projects and regions was the issue of CSR and Innovation. This concept has strong value in relation to both the environmental and social challenges that are ever more present. That is where the private sector can play an important role and which could be an interesting topic to be discussed among the CCIC partners.