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A Report was Compiled on a Survey of Enterprises’ CSR Challenges and Management

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) conducted a comprehensive survey regarding current challenges of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which may have a huge impact on business activities. In the survey, METI conducted research in order to ascertain case examples of Japanese enterprises' CSR activities, CSR strategies of overseas enterprises, and the current situation of international frameworks in relation to CSR. METI compiled the results of the survey into a report, titled “Report on a Survey of Enterprises’ CSR Challenges in Global Business and Management.”

1. Background of the survey

As enterprises are developing their business overseas, a variety of issues related to CSR, such as human rights and environmental issues, are having an unexpected impact on Japanese enterprises’ business. Such issues are becoming obvious, posing a risk to Japanese enterprises, including human rights issues concerning employment and labor conditions in Japanese enterprises’ overseas bases and supply chains, issues concerning indigenous people when such enterprises intend to enter into a land contract for embarking on business, issues concerning water resources and subsistence rights, and issues concerning resource development and use of mineral resources in regions under conflict.

Meanwhile, some Japanese enterprises are beginning to ensure their business advantage over their competitors by addressing these issues more intensively. Under this situation, Japanese enterprises are required to continue sustainable value creation through their global business activities. To achieve this goal, dealing with challenges and risks concerning CSR can be a potential source for increasing such enterprises’ global competitiveness as well as one of the conditions for gaining a "social license to operate."

To address these issues, international society has been establishing a variety of international frameworks, including the United Nation’s Framework for Business and Human Rights (2008) and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011), ISO26000 (2010), and the revised Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (2011). In addition, respective countries are also revising their policies related to CSR, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of the U.S. for regulating conflict minerals, and EU Sector Guidance on Human Rights and the regulations for disclosure of non-financial information.

METI compiled the report to help Japanese enterprises and their stakeholders understand these challenges and the backgrounds of the frameworks and policies, and also to present business activities in which domestic and overseas enterprises engaged and their efforts, aiming to contribute to providing examples to be referred to when enterprises consider how they address such CSR challenges.

2. Outline of the report

METI selected important issues related to CSR that many Japanese enterprises have not yet fully recognized or addressed but will have to face when developing their business overseas, and compiled a report and examples including the current situation and challenges that enterprises are facing.

This survey studied relevant documents and interviewed some leading enterprises, particularly focusing on the following selected seven issues: [i] labor issues in emerging countries, [ii] indigenous people’s lives and communities, [iii] possible water risks in the areas suffering from water stress, [iv] prevention of business corruption, [v] traceability and sustainability in the field of food supply chains, [vi] conflict minerals, and [vii] tax avoidance.

In addition, the report also provides information on outlines of the global frameworks, including those established by the U.N., OECD, and ISO, and the current situation on how these frameworks are used in other countries. It also includes overview of CSR strategies and policies of several countries.

METI wishes that this report will provide Japanese enterprises that are developing or intend to develop their business overseas with useful information to be referred to when they try to identify and manage the risks and challenges that they may face with regard to various CSR issues.

Reference

Outline of the report(PDF:365KB) PDF File (in Japanese)

Full text of the report(PDF:1,858KB) PDF File (in Japanese)

Release Date

May 23, 2014

Division in Charge

Disclosure and CSR Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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