Seminar Report

Japan: Research shows businesses recognize benefits of decent work policies in electronics supply chains

The International Labour Organization (ILO) and Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA) share expertise to promote CSR in global supply chains

News | 11 November 2019

Japan, Tokyo (ILO News) -  A seminar to support Japanese electronics companies in further enhancing their policies and practices in labour CSR in global supply chains has seen approximately 100 industry delegates gather in Tokyo to share views and perspectives on the key issues.  Participants, mostly CSR managers of companies affiliated with JEITA, heard the results of specially commissioned research on CSR practices of Japanese electronics companies in Asia, among other activities. 
[Photo: Welcome remarks by Ms Fukuda (Panasonic), Chair, JEITA CSR Committee]

In a keynote presentation, model practices of Japanese electronics companies in their supply chains in Asia were presented by Prof. Kenta Goto, Faculty of Economics (Kansai University).  The research classified cases into foreign direct investment (FDI) and outsourcing and was based on questionnaires and interviews conducted with more than ten electronics companies in Japan. His research demonstrated that enterprises observe and promote social responsibility and advance decent work in global supply chains on a de-facto basis because such efforts ultimately constitute a positive business case in the long term.
[Photo: Keynote presentation by Professor Goto (Kansai University)]

In a subsequent panel discussion, model practices in supply chains in Asia were presented by two companies, Toshiba and NEC, with comments from Lloyd’s Register Japan. The panel discussed the importance of awareness raising of CSR in supply chains amongst diverse stakeholders. Good and healthy relationships with suppliers and workers were also highlighted as key factors. [Photo: Panel Discussion]

The seminar, “Advancing Responsible Labour Practice and Sustainable Business in Global Supply Chains”, was organized by the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia (RSCA) programme, a partnership of the European Union (EU), ILO and Organisation  for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which aims to enhance respect for labour rights and the environment in business operations in six Asian countries.

International instruments as guides.

Head of the programme, Fredy Guayacan, presented the RSCA’s latest activities in Thailand and China.  He also referred delegates to the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) as a valuable tool for developing strategies.  The significance of labour CSR initiatives was explained in the context of the MNE declaration, the Agenda 2030 (Sustainable Development Goals), and other international instruments. Social dialogue and partnership among all the stakeholders were also emphasized for the successful implementation of CSR in supply chains. [Photo: Presentation by Fredy Guayacan (ILO)]

Following these presentations,  a tripartite dialogue in the electronics sector heard from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) with a description of their contribution toward achieving decent work in Asia.  Initiatives included a Japan-funded ILO project in the electronics sector in Vietnam, “More and Better Jobs through Socially Responsible Labour and Business Practices in the Electronics Sector of Viet Nam”. [Photo: Tripartite dialogue]

The Japanese Electrical Electronic & Information Union (JEIU) then described to the seminar on its role in healthy industrial relations, including in international initiatives.  The CSR Committee of JEITA also commented that they find such a tripartite dialogue constructive to further promote their activities in CSR.                                      
Finally, the seminar concluded by the CSR Committee of JEITA stating that CSR in supply chains need continuous dialogues among all the stakeholders including suppliers and that sharing good practices is essential for accelerating CSR initiatives.


The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia Programme was developed by the European Union together with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to enable governments, businesses and workers to communicate on challenges and opportunities relating to corporate social responsibility in six Asian countries – China, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It uses as a basis for its research, outreach, policy advocacy and training internationally recognized guidelines on responsible business conduct, the OECD’s Guidelines for multinational enterprises, and the ILO’s MNE declaration.