January 25, 2019
On November 23, 2018, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) jointly held the EU-Japan Working Group on Corporate Social Responsibility (EU-Japan CSR WG) in Brussels and discussed EU-Japan cooperation in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
METI hereby released a summary report which describes the discussion results and outcomes of the WG.
1. Outline of the EU-Japan CSR Working Group
As the globalization of business activities has been advancing, establishing international cooperation relationships and enhancing mutual understanding between countries are indispensable in conducting CSR policies.*1 Bearing this in mind, Japan and the EU agreed on the establishment of the EU-Japan CSR Working Group at the 16th Japan-EU Industrial Policy Dialogue in January 2013,*2 and both sides officially inaugurated the working group in October 2013. The working group has held meetings as follows in order to discuss ongoing global changes in the CSR-related environment, such as the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the approval of the Ruggie Framework*3 by the United Nations.
First meeting: July 2014 (Brussels)
Second meeting: November 2015 (Tokyo)
Third meeting: November 2016 (Brussels)
Fourth meeting: November 2017 (Tokyo)
Fifth meeting: November 2018 (Brussels)
Since the third WG meeting, sessions between Japanese and EU businesses have also been held from the perspective that information exchange and cooperation not only between the governments but also between industries is indispensable for the development of CSR policies.
*1: CSR: abbreviation of Corporate Social Responsibility
*2: Japan-EU Industrial Policy Dialogue: In January 1993, then-MITI (currently METI) Minister Mori and then-European Commission Vice President Bangemann agreed on the inauguration of Japan-EU dialogues to discuss bilateral cooperation and other issues in the industrial field. Since the first dialogue was held in Brussels in 1993, a series of dialogues have been held alternately in Japan and Europe.
*3: Ruggie Framework: The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights approved by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011; called the "Ruggie Framework" after the name of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative, John Ruggie, who proposed this framework
2. Outline of the Fifth Meeting
(1) Attendants and Agenda
The government session brought together METI and DG GROW officials, DG FISMA and DG TRAD officials, and representatives of the Delegation of the European Union to Japan. Additionally, officials of the Council for Better Corporate Citizenship (CBCC), Japan Business Council in Europe (JBCE), Business Policy Forum, Japan (BPF), Institute of Developing Economies-JETRO, CSR Europe, Business Europe, AMFOR, and Orgalime attended the session. This session was open to all willing participants in the business session held in the morning.
Subjects of presentations are as follows.
< Subjects of presentations on the Japanese side >
- Current development in Japan's CSR policies
- Recent development in the disclosure of non-financial information in Japan
- Initiatives after the establishment of the Guidance for Collaborative Value Creation
- Business and human rights (progress in the establishment of the National Action Plan, discussions at the CSR Study Group, etc.)
- Initiatives for promoting SDGs
- TCFD Study Group
< Subjects of presentations on the EU side >
- Update on the EU's CSR policies (new CSR policies scheduled to be publicized)
- Update on the directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information
- Responsible supply chain from the perspective of trade policies
- Sustainable procurement of raw materials in a value chain
< Subjects of presentations on the business side >
- New development of CSR in Japan
- Research on Business and human rights in emerging markets
- Suggestions on CSR policies to the Japanese government and the European Commission
(2) Points Agreed
Through this WG, METI and DG GROW agreed to cooperate with each other in the following fields.
- The next step is to jointly strive to raise awareness on CSR in the supply chain. Cooperative initiatives may include joint holding of seminars focused on the supply chain in third countries and selection of appropriate coordinators upon carrying out joint projects.
- At the next WG in 2019, CSR from the perspective of trade policies could be a good topic. We could also work on a sectoral approach in addressing together common challenges in some sectors such as electronics and raw materials, that could pave the way to additional common actions.
- Summary of the Fifth Meeting of the EU-Japan Working Group on Corporate Social Responsibility(PDF:165KB)
Division in Charge
Corporate Accounting, Disclosure and CSR Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau