In recent years, companies have been experiencing dramatic changes in the business environment. Whilst the social and environmental impacts, both positive and negative, caused by business has been growing, expectations for business to act as a responsible member of society by identifying and addressing its impact in the entire value chain has been rising. In addition, corporate value today is evaluated not only by financial position but also by the CSR/sustainability approaches taken by the business. For the effective and efficient deployment of CSR activities under a limited budget and human resources, CRT Japan developed “Sustainable Navigation”, a comprehensive framework of CSR activity, and provides services corresponding to each step specified in the framework.
At the Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop
- Corporate participants are given lectures on the potential negative human rights impacts of business operations by more than 10 academics, members of NGOs/NPOs and subject experts, to enhance their understanding of the question “in value chain, whose human rights is potentially and actually violated”. The CSR experts also express their concerns.
- The participants of the workshop select one of the services/products of their own company, and analyze the value chains related to the product/service and find out which regions/areas are involved in the value chains.
- The participants discuss about value chains potentially related to each of the human rights issues, in order to better understand the relevance between the value chain and human rights issues.
- The participants learn further about ‘what stakeholders are involved in the highlighted issues above, as well as how to implement appropriate approach for Access to Remedy.
At the Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop
- Based on the Human Rights Issues by Sector published in 2013, the Secretariat creates a comprehensive list of stakeholders, who are potentially involved in human rights issues potentially caused in each value chain sector, and in a specific geographical region. The list is assessed comprehensively by representatives from NGOs/NPOs, academia and human rights experts.
- The participants and the subject experts exchange data/information related to the issues, and discuss their different viewpoints, approaches and ideas for remedying and mitigating potential impacts.
- The Secretariat supplements the contents of the list by reflecting comments from the subject experts. That is followed by the “Human Rights Issues by Sector (draft)” update, in order to further clarify the relationship between the critical human right issues of the specified products/services/regions and specific stakeholders.
- The summary of the workshop was open for public comment from November to December 2014.
- The final report will be published in February 2015.
- Each company identifies relevant issues considering expectations from stakeholders and assesses them in terms of significance to stakeholders.
- Each company assesses to what extent the relevant issues are related to its business considering its corporate philosophy and business strategy.
- Based on these two assessments, each company prioritizes the relevant issues and defines materiality.
- Each company identifies high risk countries/areas related to material issues based on credible data provided by CSR initiatives, whilst assessing the strategic importance of different countries/ regions.
- Each company specifies the most critical geographical areas (priority areas) and identifies stakeholders who are affected or may be affected.
- Each company identifies main suppliers in the priority geographical areas and collects information related to the material issues throughout the survey.
- Suppliers enter information into a common platform provided by a CSR initiative
- Using a common platform, the company manages supplier information as well as existing/ potential risks in an effective and efficient way. This will help them to implement remediation activities.
- Step F involves the mapping of existing activities concerning issues identified in the previous steps and assessing the company’s current status.
- A consultation with experts in the next STEP G would be recommended, if it is not clear whether certain issues not currently addressed as risks, or current actions/approaches found to be inadequate, could be potential business continuity concerns.
- Action STEP F&G (in a yellow frame) comprise one set.
- STEP F is approachable from any of the STEPs B, D and E.
- Each company has a dialogue/ dialogues with stakeholders, NGOs, and experts on the issues identified as a result of STEP F as well as the process undertaken.
- Through the dialogue, they confirm if anything is missed and the identified issues and relevant impacts are verified in terms of scope and significance.
- Advice from the experts includes but is not limited to how to address the issues identified and the time frame for action.
- Companies will be introduced to potential partners for the action implementation in STEP I.
- STEP H involves the determination of policy and an action plan, reflecting the outcome of the dialogue with stakeholders, NGOs, and experts.
- In this step, each company develops specific action plans for improving/resolving the issues prioritized in the previous steps.
- Regarding the issues that the company has the ability to control, finding solutions by involving relevant functions would be expected. This would contribute to raising awareness on sustainability within the company.
- When the internal resources of the company are limited, or issues are beyond the company’s control, CRT Japan would provide an advice on specific actions on a consultation basis.
- In the next SETP I, the company can jointly work with other organizations or companies.
- Collaboration can enhance efficiency and effectiveness to attain more impact and scalability. (e.g. Collaborative Project on the issues of child labour, forced labour etc.)
- A site audit at sites (factories, business facilities etc.) can be a good opportunity to identify issues from a third party point of view.
However an audit in this step is not a requirement: a company can skip the audit and implement activities.
- The actions on the material issues can be implemented either on their own or in collaboration with other companies or organizations.
Action/ training for resolving the issues are implemented according to a program developed within the company.
Actions/trainings can be implemented by joining the Collaborative Projects developed by CRT Japan.
e.g. Training sessions run by CSR experts (NGOs) for the sites managers who will be responsible for the implementation of the program at own sites.
- Defining clear metrics /indices for measurement/assessment are essential for qualitative or quantitative impact assessments.
- STEP J involves review by the Executive Committee.
- A group of leaders selected from global CSR initiative organizations review the process and activities undertook from STEP A to I.
- Considering global sustainability trends, the group gives comments on the company’s activities in terms of their effectiveness and to what extent these activities could create a competitive advantage from the experts’ point of view.
- STEP K involves Endorsement in which CRT Japan confirms which steps are taken and implemented by each company.
- The company can check their understanding of the overall process, the status of implementation and their progress from an outside perspective.
- The role of CRT Japan here is not to give assurance but check the status of each of the steps taken by a company.
- CRT Japan reviews the CSR/sustainability reports issued by the companies referring to globally recognized reporting frameworks such as the GRI G4 Guidelines.
- Main purpose of this review is to provide feedback to each company to what extent their report meets the requirements of the globally recognized reporting standards.
- The feedback will facilitate each company in defining a clear plan for improving their reporting.