December 25, 2019
On November 18, 2019, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Directorate General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW) jointly held the Japan-EU Working Group on Corporate Social Responsibility (Japan-EU CSR WG) in Tokyo and discussed Japan-EU cooperation in the field of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability. METI hereby releases the summary and results of the meeting.
1. Outline of the Japan-EU CSR WG
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.* Bearing this in mind, Japan and the EU agreed on the establishment of the Japan-EU CSR Working Group at the 16th Japan-EU Industrial Policy Dialogue in January 2013,** and the two sides officially inaugurated the working group in October 2013. Since the establishment, the Japan-EU CSR WG has been held in about every fall alternately in Brussels and Tokyo and the meeting of this year was the sixth meeting. Since 2016, a series of business-to-business dialogues (the EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue) have been held taking the opportunity of the Japan-EUCSR WG.
*1: The term “CSR” is an acronym for 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.
2. Outline of the sixth meeting
The sixth meeting was composed of two parts: [i] a government session by governmental stakeholders and [ii] the 4th EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue.
The government session brought together representatives of not only METI and DG GROW but also the Delegation of the European Union to Japan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. Moreover, the 4th EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue was held bringing together representatives of the Japan Business Council in Europe (JBCE) and the CSR Forum, Japan, of the Business Policy Forum, Japan. Participants held presentations on the following subjects.
[i] Government session
Subjects of presentations on the Japanese side:
- Development of CSR Policy in Japan
- Measures for supporting SMEs in engaging in SDGs
- Efforts for formulating action plans on business and human rights
- Efforts for achieving a virtuous cycle of environment and growth, e.g., TCFD Summit
Subjects of presentations on the EU side:
- Priority issues in the fields of sustainability/CSR/RBC for the New European Commission
- Reflection Paper Towards a Sustainable Europe by 2030
- Commission Staff Working Document on CSR/RBC and Business & Human Rights: Overview of Progress
- Exchange of views on the intergovernmental working group process on establishing a legally binding instrument on business and human rights
- Developments under the Project on Responsible supply chains in Asia and its implementation with Japan
- Decent work in global supply chains
- Action to protect and restore the world’s forests
[ii]The 4th EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue
Subjects of presentations on the business-to-business dialogue side:
- Review of the 3rd EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue
- Remaining challenges
Through a series of discussions, Japan and the EU reconfirmed that the agenda “CSR” is deeply related not only to industrial policies but also to trade and environmental policies and that they should enrich mutual understanding of other measures involving sustainability.
Note: METI will release the minutes of the Japan-EU CSR WG at a later date.
Division in Charge
Corporate Accounting, Disclosure and CSR Policy Office, Economic and Industrial Policy Bureau