November 23

2018

3rd EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue Meeting

Responsible Global Sourcing:
A Collaborative Approach to Achieve the SDGs:
The challenges and the way forward

Globalisation has transformed the way in which supply chains operate. With the support of technological developments, together with a rise in regional trade agreements, companies source products from all parts of the world. While providing extensive trading possibilities, companies also have the potential, and the obligation, to contribute to global sustainability. The question is how to better engage and support businesses in their sustainability efforts towards achieving the SDGs?

The EU-Japan CSR Business Dialogue enables companies to discuss challenges, share best practice and explore opportunities for business collaboration and leadership. The meeting was held under the 'umbrella' of the 5th EU-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue Working Group on CSR meeting between the European Commission and Government of Japan.

The 2018 event brought together 70 representatives of industry, business associations, international organisations and of the EU Authorities and the Government of Japan for a business-led discussion about addressing the global issues linked to the SDGs. The discussion was moderated by Veronica Rubio, Executive Director at the ProTerra Foundation.

Key points mentioned during the discussions included:

  • The essential role that businesses have to promote responsible business conduct and work together to tackle global issues linked to the SDGs and that strong top management leadership and engagement is essential.

  • The EU and Japan must show leadership to address current and future world challenges in the field of sustainability and CSR.

  • A stronger, action-oriented multi-stakeholder collaborative approach, including with international organisations is needed.

  • SDG-driven innovation and growth can solve societal and supply chain issues through strategies such as Keidanren's Society 5.0 for SDGs strategy.
  • Collaborative action and tangible projects on sustainable business practices should be a necessary next step.

  • That the EU and Japanese Authorities should provide platforms, infrastructure and incentives to promote practical collaboration on the ground and that sustainable corporate action is an essential and indispensable element of EU-Japan high-level relations

  • The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement, specifically its Trade and Sustainable Development chapter, will be a powerful instrument for delivering inclusive economic growth and promote sustainable business behaviour in direct trade relations and towards third countries.

Materials from the event

Final event report Event agenda Short report Tweet by Sarah Gondy Tweet by EU-Japan Centre

Please e-mail info@jbce.org if you would like to receive presentations from the event.

At the end of the discussion, the participants were asked to state the keywords they would take away from the event and the following word cloud was created:

The discussions fed into the annual meeting of the EU-Japan Industrial Policy Dialogue Working Group on Corporate Social Responsibility between the European Commission's Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan (METI).

Background and Event Objectives

The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), contains provisions for EU-Japan cooperation on CSR, notably through the exchange of information and best practices, including on adherence, implementation, follow-up, and dissemination of internationally agreed guidelines and principles. A 2017 study found that whilst 71% of businesses are planning to engage with the SDGs, only 13% have already identified the tools they need to assess their impact against the SDGs (see here). In addition to its roundtable discussion, the meeting also heard contributions from the EU and Japanese Authorities, the ILO and OECD and about the EU-ILO-OECD joint action on responsible supply chains.

The 3rd CSR Business Dialogue was co-organised by the Japan Business Council in Europe; Council for Better Corporate Citizenship; Business Policy Forum, Japan; amfori; CSR Europe and the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation.

Previous rounds of the CSR Business Dialogue took place in 2016 and 2017.

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