The Caux Round Table (CRT) was initially founded in 1986 to address mounting trade tensions. Business persons of Europe, the United States of America and Japan had gathered in a small mountain village Caux in Switzerland had initially accused each other with acrimonious dispute, but later reached a consensus that ‘respect for others and living together’ was an attitude essential for survival, and based on that awareness, they jointly formulated a code of conduct that they obliged to followed.
In 1994, “CRT Principles for Business” was formally launched as the first code of conduct jointly developed by business persons of Europe, the United States of America and Japan.
Years later, the CRT developed a self-assessment tool “CSR Innovation” aiming at realizing corporate management practice based on the spirit of the Principles, and has been promoting its application to rase awareness of corporate executives and middle-managers, as well as to identify issues in executing CSR management in business.
Since 2011, “Sustainable Navigation” as a comprehensive framework for human rights due diligence to support implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights has been provided to companies. The framework is designed to simply ‘visualize’ progress of the companies in their journey of human rights due diligence. In addition, realizing a difficulty of the companies in disseminating the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights alone, CRT has been developing an engagement program serves as a platform of initiatives that involve the companies and their stakeholders.
What is necessary for a company today to achieve sustainable growth as a member of society, while responding to the demands and expectations of society? With this fundamental question in mind, CRT will make recommendations to the companies and society, as well as provide consistent support for implementation of their initiatives.
CRT group photo: the 1st Caux Round Table in 1986
phase01“Awareness” originating from the trade tensions (1986-1991)
In May 1985, an article appeared in a Dutch newspaper with a headline “Deceptive Smile of Japan”, based on a Philips internal research report. It stated ‘… protectionism, dumping, theft, and intimidation, are all incorporated in Japan’s strategy aiming at destroying the electronics industry in Europe and the United States.” harshly criticizing Japan in mounting trade friction with the United States and European countries at the time..
Frederick Phillips, former President of Philips Electronics, earnestly wished to share the article with Japanese business leaders as “a friend of Japan”, believing that ‘Japan should know how Japan is viewed from outside the country. Sometimes images are more important than facts, and it is true that much of the wars in the past had outbroken from images, not from facts.’ The article was translated into English and sent to Japan, at the same time, jointly with Dr. Olivier Giscard d’Estaing (former Vice Chairperson of European Institute of Business Administration （INSEAD）) , he suggested to convene a conference in which the business leaders from Europe, the United States and Japan can have a candid dialogue.
The first global dialogue was held, initially taken over by a storm of Japan bashing by attendees of Europe and the United States, with acrimonious atmosphere. However, gradually “spirit of Caux” led interplay among the parties. This is the spirit of ‘seeking for a common ground from the viewpoint of others’, inherited and flowing there in Caux, Switzerland, that had catalyzed reconciliation between Germany and France after the Second World War and opened a door to Japan for reintegration to the international society. As the dialogues proceeded, the atmosphere was changing and concerted efforts emerging. Finally, a joint proposal was issued stating what tri-parties should do, under an expression of ‘… instead of providing the others with an order (what to do), we should first put our own house (own country) in order’.
Thus, CRT began its journey as a forum for dialogue among the tri-parties for resolving trade tensions.
The article in the Dutch newspaper in May 1985
phase02“Understanding” through formulation and promotion of the Caux Principles for Business (1992-2000)
Resolution of the trade friction among, Europe, the United States and Japan had been the calling of the time when CRT was born, but the world was advancing to the period of transition, driven by disruption of structural conflicts between socialism and capitalism triggered by collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and swift expansion of so-called globalization. CRT that used to function as a forum for dialogue between the tri-parties, now started to organized conferences in India, China, and Taiwan for facilitating exchanging views, along with the economic development of Asian region. Then the role of CRT has been shifting from a coordinator of mere “dialogue” to a that of discussion on how to make balance between “competition and cooperation” among regions.
In response to the changing times, CRT developed “CRT Principles for Business” and published globally in 1994. The CRT Principles for Business incorporates three core concepts, each of which was proposed from Europe, the United States, and Japan, and serving as pillars of the principles.
|CRT:CRT Principles for Business: 3 Concepts|
|・Kyosei ・Human Dignity ・Stakeholders Principle|
The CRT Principle for Business consists of seven principles and seven stakeholders and specifies responsibilities that companies must fulfill to each stakeholder in the light of the seven principles. The Principles is regarded as the first code of conduct produced by business persons from Europe, the United States, and Japan, who had different backgrounds in terms of cultures, customs, and religion, and thereby it has significant influences on similar codes of conducts created thereafter. In Japan, also many ideas of the Principles were incorporated into Keidanren’s Charter of Corporate Behavior (revised in 1986) under revision in the meantime.
phase03“Penetration” by utilizing practical tools (2001-2010)
The times surrounding CRT was changing steadily. With bursting of the bubble economy in Japan and subsequent prolonged economic recession, the trade friction was no longer a key issue among Europe, the United States, and Japan. In one hand, the Japanese society became increasingly aware of corporate behavior, in the wake of a series of corporate scandals, and on the other hand they started to pay closer attention to corporate efforts for protecting global environment, whilst the Environment Agency of Japan (now the Ministry of the Environment) published Environmental Reporting Guideline in 1997.
Amid the flux, CRT began exploring ways to utilize the CRT Principles for Business published in 1994 in a more practical manner in business operation.
In 2002, the U.S. team of CRT completed a specific tool “Corporate Social Responsibility Risk Assessment and Valuation Enhancement”. In addition, its Japanese version “CSR Innovation” was completed in 2003 by the Japan team with some adjustments taking legal and cultural local differences into account.
Since then, “CSR Innovation” has been implemented in many Japanese companies, including Nissan Motors. Besides an English version, Spanish, German and Russian versions were created and used worldwide.
Column-What is “Caux”?
Caux is a small village on the hillside of a mountain, about an hour’s mountain tram ride from Montreux, a town famous for jazz festival on the shores of Lake Geneva in western Switzerland.
Caux Mountain House
Caux Mountain House built there is the place historically catalyzed various dispute resolutions as an international conference center for Initiatives of Change (IofC) that is an NGO engaged in activities to bring about reconciliation and restoration in about 80 countries across all ethnicities, religions, nationalities. Most notably, the place fostered a reconciliation between Germany and France in conflict after the Second World War.
IofC organizes an international conference every summer in Caux, where Mr. Phillips believed its quiet and peaceful atmosphere appropriate for the conference that would be a forefront of the trade friction negotiations. Upon his request, IofC. accepted to have the first conference here at Caux.
Later, the conference was named Caux Round Table and institutionalized that initiated a relationship between IofC and CRT to this day.
phase04Transmitting “impact” from Japan by leveraging platform (2011-)
Based on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights formulated at the United Nations General Assembly in 2011, CRT Japan developed “frameworks (for human rights policy and human rights due diligence, etc.)” and at the same time developed a “platform” that allows multi-stakeholders to participate in, together with a companies In addition, Stakeholder Dialogues were unfurled in cooperation with Asian countries (Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia). in order to strengthen supply chain management system of Japanese companies.
As a backdrop of these activities, there were facts that even after 2011 many Japanese companies failed to foster willingness to commit itself to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; gradually fell behind Asian companies; and started to lose trust from the global community. To breakthrough such Galapagos, CRT Japan signed a series of partnerships with global initiative organizations for building a system that enables the companies to disseminate their activities and initiatives from Japan to the world.
Especially to our annual events such as “Stakeholder Engagement Program (since 2012)” and “the International Conference on Business and Human Rights in Tokyo (since 2013)“, the world’s leading experts in this field participated and kindly shared their sincere views that enabled us to play a bridging role between the world and Japan. Furthermore, for building a supply chain management “platform”, we signed partnerships with SEDEX and Bluenumber, who are leveraging advanced IT technologies, in order to prepare infrastructure for a scheme that facilitates Japanese companies to address human rights issues more effectively and efficiently.
Going forward, CRT Japan will strengthen initiatives related to ESG investment, so that the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will have a greater impact on the decision-making process of corporate management.
History of activities in Japan
Since 1986 the International IofC Japan Association accommodated the secretariat of CRT organization in Japan. In April 2000, the organization was re-established as an independent entity Caux Round Table Japan (CRT Japan) aiming at developing more proactive operation. In 2006, CRT Japan became a registered non-profit organization.
The main activities of CRT Japan include: research activities, education and training, corporate diagnosis, lectures and publications, and advice and proposals aiming at dissemination of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate ethics based on the CRT Principles for Business; participation in the Global Dialogue, an annual international conference; public relations and communication on CRT’s international activities in Japan; cooperation with other organizations such as Keidanren on corporate ethics and CSR; and promotion of understanding socially responsible investment (SRI).
Particularly last few years, our activities have been focusing on communicating global trend of the CSR activities to Japanese companies and activities for empowering out reach of the Japanese companies.
Also in recent years, recognizing that not only businesses but also individuals is intrinsically socially responsible, substantial energy and efforts have been invested to develop liberal arts education programs. The programs are designed for personal development, targeting business people and students will be human resources leading Japan and the world of tomorrow.
|Year||CRT Main Event|
|1985||May: The NCR Handelsblatt, the Dutch newspaper run an article criticizing the Japanese business tactics in trade. The article was introduced to Japan by Frederik Philips, former chairman of Philips Electronics, with deep concern about the escalation of trade tensions and rising protectionism. In order to discuss the issues with concerned parties, he asked the MRA (current IofC) for its support.|
|1986||First round table was held at Caux in Switzerland, and nine business persons including Ryuzaburo Kaku, then Chairperson of Canon, attended from Japan.
Establishment of Caux Round Table (CRT).
|1994||CRT Principles for Business was issued. It was the world first code of conduct jointly produced by business leaders from Europe, the United States, and Japan.|
|2000||April: Caux Round Table Japan (CRT Japan) was organized under the International Initiative of Change Japan Association.|
|November: Hiroshi Ishida was assigned to Assistant Coordinator, CRT Japan.|
|2002||CRT Japan decided to deploy “Corporate Social Responsibility Risk Assessment and Valuation Enhancement” (current CSR Innovation).|
|2004||January: A book “CSR Keiei- Moral Capitalism- Global jidai no shihonsyugi no arikata (CSR Management)” was published.|
|February: Hiroshi Ishida assumed to Secretary General, CRT Japan.|
|October: The 19th Global Dialogue was held at the Keidanren Guest House located at the foot of Mt. Fuji (Oct. 22- 24).
Totally 116 international participants gathered from various countries including the United States, Switzerland, the Netherland, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and India. About 60 Japanese participated in the dialogue, including the former Prime Minister Tsutomu Hata, and Yotaro Kobayashi, the former Chairman of Fuji Xerox. including, as well as politicians, business persons, and academics.
|October: Offered the first CRT Award to Ryuzaburo Kaku.|
|2006||April: A book “CSR Innovation: kigyo kozo no shindan to kaikaku” was published.|
|June: CRT Japan General Meeting adopted to register as specified non-profit organization.|
|November: CRT Japan was registered as a non-profit organization in Tokyo, Japan and incorporated.
Toru Hashimoto (Chairperson of Deutsche Bank Group Japan and former President of Fuji Bank) was appointed as Chairperson. Hiroshi Ishida assumed to Executive Director and Secretariat General, CRT Japan.
|December: A book “Nissan no CSR senryaku – Seicho to shinrai ni motoduku jizokukanousei no keiei – (CSR strategy at Nissan)” was published.|
|2008||November: at the 6th General Meeting, Chairperson Hashimoto retired and Hironori Yano (CEO, Central Nippon Expressway, former Senior Managing Director of the Japan Business Federation) succeeded the chairpersonship.|
|2011||August: Jointly held “GRI G4 public consultation workshop” with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).|
|September – December: Established “Nippon CSR Consortium” that consists of NGOs and subject experts and conducted a series of human rights due diligence workshops (totally 7 times).|
|2012||March: Held a CSR seminar “Supply chain CSR in sustainable event management – Learn about ISO20121, and Share ideas on what we should anticipate as a corporation in a candidature city for Olympic 2020”.|
|June: Jointly held ‘International Integrated Reporting Framework Public Consultation Workshop’ with Ernst & Young ShinNihon LLC. Summary of the discussion at the workshop was submitted to IIRC in July as public comment.|
|July- December: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|2013||March: Held an Olympic seminar “Supply chain CSR in sustainable event management: Learn about ISO20121, and Share ideas on what we should anticipate as a corporation in a candidature city for Olympic 2020”.|
|March: Issued “Human Rights Issues by Sector (2013)”, following the public consultation on discussion points identified at the Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop.|
|March & June: Jointly hosted seminar on SRI (socially responsible investment) with EIRIS and IIRC.|
|May: Held a seminar on GRI G4.|
|July: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|July: CRT Japan was qualified as a first Certified GRI G4 Training Program provider in Japan.|
|September: Jointly held 2013 Global Conference on CSR and Risk Management with UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.|
|December: Hiroshi Ishida, Executive Director of CRT Japan, was invited to the Forum on Business and Human Rights as a moderator and panelist. He gave a talk about the human rights due diligence workshop.|
|2014||January: held a seminar on advantage of “utilizing supply chain CSR information platform- introduction of SEDEX”.|
|February & March: Visited US, European and Asian countries to promote the human due diligence framework and platforms currently deployed in Japan.|
|March: Convened “the Global Conference on CSR and Risk Management (spring)” with UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.|
|May: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|June: Attended a workshop of Business and Human Rights Performance Criteria. (@NYC)|
|June & July: Held seminars with EIRIS (Ethical Investment Research Service).|
|September: Held a workshop for public consultation on business and human rights performance criteria, to provide input from Japan.|
|September: Convened “the Global Conference on CSR and Risk Management (September)” with UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.|
|December: Executive Director and Secretary General Hiroshi Ishida attended at ”Forum on Business and Human Rights” hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as a panelist He gave a talk about the human rights due diligence workshop.|
|December: Kao Corporation decided to introduce SEDEX.|
|December: The Sustainability & Sports Integrity Study Group (renamed from the Group of Experts for Sustainable Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games), which Ishida and Okada of CRT-Japan are also members of the group, conducted examinations to ensure sustainability and the integrity of sports at the Tokyo 2020 Games from December 2014 to August 2015 (5 meetings in total). The results of the examinations were summarized and released as “Report of the Sustainability & Sports Integrity Study Group.”|
|2015||February: SEDEX and CRT Japan signed a business partnership agreement.|
|February: Introduced Huma Due Diligence Workshop Program in Forum on ASEAN. (@ Indonesia)|
|February & March: Visited the United States, European and Asian countries to promote better understandings of the human due diligence frameworks and platforms deployed in Japan.|
|March: Hiroshi Ishida, Executive Director and Secretary General of CRT Japan was appointed as Development in the Field Panel of Cambridge Journals, Business and Human Rights Journal published by Cambridge University Press.|
|March: CRT Japan released a “Request on Sustainability on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games” and submitted it to the Organizing Committee of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and other highly influential organizations, asking for their clear understanding of sustainable event and planning and implementation of the plan around it.|
|April: Participated in SEDEX Conference as a panelist (@London)|
|June: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|September: Jointly convened the “2015 Business and Human Rights Conference in Tokyo” with UN Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprise, Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).|
|October: CRT Japan concluded MOU with Institute for Human Rights and Business（IHRB）.|
|November: Organized a session on ”Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights”considering 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, in collaboration with IHRB and UNRG, at ”Forum on Business and Human Rights” hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).|
|2016||January: With Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) jointly submitted feedback on “the overall sustainability framework for the Games (the High Level Sustainability Plan)” and “the basic principles of the sustainable sourcing code of the Games (Fundamental Principles for the Sustainable Sourcing Code)” to the Organizing Committee of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.|
|April: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|May: Held CSR Seminar on the latest trend of information disclosure – CHRB and GRI.|
|June: Convened Stakeholder Engagement Program (the human rights due diligence workshop) in Thailand.|
|June: Verisk Maplecroft and CRT Japan signed a partnership agreement for facilitating risk management of Japanese global companies.|
|September: Jointly convened the “2016 Business and Human Rights Conference in Tokyo” with Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).|
|September: Bluenumber and CRT Japan formed business partnership.|
|October: Attended High Level Mega-Sporting Events & Human Rights. (@ US)|
|November: Attended Forum on Business and Human Rights hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). (@ Geneva)|
|2017||January: ANA Holdings joined the Bluenumber Initiative as the first Japanese company. Bluenumber Initiative was launched by Bluenumber Foundation (HQ: New York) aiming at establishing a platform of global food supply chain.|
|January – April: Held study sessions for grievance mechanisms.|
|February & April: Visited the United States, European and US Asian countries for promoting the human rights due diligence framework and platform utilized in Japan.|
|April: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun run an article about Tokio Marine Insurance new product: a compensation for human rights issues at business partners such as countermeasure expense for boycott.|
|May: The Nihon Keizai Shimbun run articles about ‘Human rights check at suppliers’ and ‘Human rights watch by Western organizations toward Tokyo Olympic/Paralympic Games’. The articles introduced how ANA Holdings, Kao, CRT, SEDEX and Bluenumber were addressing the issues.|
|May & June: Convened CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops) (@ Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar)|
|June a& July: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|July & September: Held seminars on ESG investment and Human Rights Benchmark.|
|July: Held dialogues with ESG Investors. (@ London)|
|September: Jointly convened the “2017 Business and Human Rights Conference in Tokyo” with Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).|
|September: Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) and CRT Japan jointly held “Consultation Feedback Session regarding CHRB”.|
|October: On Anti-Slavery Day, Andrea International and CRT Japan signed a partnership agreement to support Japanese companies to address issues related to the UK Modern Slavery Act.|
|November: Attended at Forum on Business and Human Rights hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). ANA Holdings presented a case of Bluenumber initiative in a side event. (@ Geneva)|
|November: Attended Sporting Change Forum. (@Geneva)|
|2018||March: Organized workshops on the UK Modern Slavery Act.|
|March: Meeting Report on ‘Implementing the UN Guiding Principles for Business Human Rights through sustainable sourcing at Mega-Sporting Events (Workshop)’ was released.|
|May: ANA Holdings presented its Human Rights Report, jointly produced by ANA Holdings and CRT Japan, as the first human rights report by an Asian company, in one of the CRT seminars.|
|May, June & August: Convened CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops.) (@ Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar)
In Malaysia and Indonesia, dialogues with small farmers on palm oil production were organized in collaboration with local NGOs.
|June: Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and CRT Japan jointly hosted a supply chain workshop by Sporting Chance Forum focusing on 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. (@ Thailand)|
|June a& July: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|July and August: Held dialogues with ESG Investors. (@ UK & Switzerland)|
|September: Jointly convened the “2018 Business and Human Rights Conference in Tokyo” with Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC).|
|September: Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and CRT Japan jointly hosted a workshop on ‘Grievance Mechanism’ by Sporting Chance Forum focusing on 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.|
|In November at “Forum on Business and Human Rights” in Geneva sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Executive Director Ishida introduced ANA Holdings Bluenumber initiative and Kao Corporation’s dialogue with palm oil small farmers in Indonesia, as concrete examples of UNDP-sponsored efforts in the Asian region.|
|December: Held a seminar on ‘NEJIRE (Twist) of business and human rights.’|
|2019||March: Secretary General Ishida conducted a seminar hosted by Women Corporate Directors, targeting about 30 active female outside bord members in Japan.|
|April: Held a seminar “Beyond Business & Human Rights”.|
|May, June & July: Convened Nippon CSR Consortium Stakeholder Engagement Program (a series of the human rights due diligence workshops).|
|June: Conducted a two-day field trip program to learn “Business and Human Rights” at Thai fisheries, including visits to local fishing ports and local organizations and workshops. This program was held in collaboration with Sasin Japan Center and Sustainability and Entrepreneur Center (Sasin School of Management, Chulalongkorn University) and Meiji Business School. (@ Thailand)|
|June: Jointly facilitated with World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) a roundtable & opinion exchange session organized by WBA.|
|July: Coordinated workshops and individual dialogues between company and ESG investors. (@ London)|
|July: Jointly hosted with Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) a consultation meeting on CHRB Index.|
|July: Conducted a two-day field trip program to learn “Business and Human Rights” at Indonesian palm oil ‘what should your company do in the business and supply chain?’ (@ Indonesia)|
|August: Held a seminar on “ESG”.|
|August: Held a study workshop on “CSR Basics”.|
|September: Held a seminar “Social Sustainability Study Group” for Japan TCFG member companies.|
|October: Convened the “2019 Business and Human Rights Conference in Tokyo”.|
|November: Secretary General Ishida made a presentation at “ESG Investment: Opportunities and Risks in Asia” conference sponsored by Asian Development Bank Institute.|
|November: Coordinated individual dialogues between companies and ESG investors. (@ London)|
|December: Held a seminar “Toward the dawn of a new era: on the themes that should be challenged looking ahead the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games”.|