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German-French discussion on corporate responsibility and social partnership at the WCGE

In cooperation with the Deutsch-Französisches Institut Ludwigsburg (dfi) nine young journalists from France visited the WCGE in its Berlin office on July 2, 2014.

The meeting focused on the question of social responsibility of companies. Of particular interest was the impact of the comparatively high German standards of responsibility in the context of the economic and financial crisis. Among the guests was the French ambassador to Germany, Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, participating in the discussion at the invitation of the WCGE.

Using the examples of the "Wittenberg Process of the Social Partners in the Chemical Industry" and the "Code of Responsible Conduct for Business" Dr. Martin von Broock, Chairman of the Management Board of the WCGE, illustrated the importance of a continuous dialog between politics, business and society as well as a living social partnership. These are the factors maintaining trust between the different stakeholders and enabling joint solutions, particularly in times of crises. From his perspective as a European neighbor His Excellency Gourdault-Montagne pointed on the social partnership and the importance of the SMEs as a specialty of Germany differing a lot from France. There, politics, business and trade unions are still searching for a promising approach to the social dialog. In this regard one looks intensively at Germany and its crisis-resistant social partnership which has evolved over decades. Finally, the German discourse, far more than the French, is characterized by the reflection of ethical questions and the significance of stakeholders from civil society, churches, trade unions as well as dialog centers like the WCGE, concluded the Ambassador.

The WCGE will continue and further expand the cross-border dialog with France. The French perspective will also be incorporated into its new PhD program "Ethics and Responsible Leadership in Business.