EU, ILO, OECD Project

Responsible Supply Chains in Asia - Japan

The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme aims to promote responsible business practices into the operations of multinational companies and their supply chains. Active in six Asian countries, the project in Japan is working to share lessons and disseminate best practices among multinational companies with supply chains in the electronic and car parts industries. This project is co-funded by the European Union and the ILO under the EU’s Partnership Instrument.

About the project

The responsible supply chains in Asia project is targeting the electronics and car parts sectors in Japan. Together these industries account for high numbers of workers across Asia and Japan represents both a significant intermediate and final destination for their products. Japanese enterprises are becoming increasingly active in incorporating considerations for socially responsible labour practices in their operations in Japan and overseas.

The project’s activities aim to raise awareness and build capacity on international standards and approaches in relation to CSR/RBC. It conducts research and disseminates best practices among stakeholders, particularly governments, business and workers, fosters strategic partnerships and coordinates with existing policy initiatives.

In Japan, since 2014, the ILO has been organizing public conferences, seminars and roundtable discussions with MNEs on the labour dimension of corporate social responsibility (CSR), in collaboration with the government, employers’ and workers’ organizations. These dialogues provide a forum to discuss lessons learned and good practices from the activities of MNEs in Japan and also in other countries of Asia where they operate. Japan has funded ILO programmes on “socially responsible labour practices” in different countries in Asia.

Principles and guidelines

As a platform for this work, the project uses internationally agreed principles and guidelines CSR/RBC, principally the ILO’s Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy and the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The project is based on the understanding that adhering to these guidelines contribute to a business culture of increased respect for the rule of law with workplaces that respect workers’ rights and encourage industrial relations in line with applicable national laws and international labour standards.

Expected results

  • Increased awareness and strengthened capacity of all relevant actors and in particular businesses, workers and public authorities in relation to CSR/RBC;
  • Enhanced development and dissemination of CSR/RBC approaches and initiatives (including best practices, case studies, tools, lessons learned and documentation);
  • Improved coherence on CSR/RBC between the EU and Japan, in line with relevant internationally agreed principles and guidelines;
  • Development and/or reinforcement of existing multi-stakeholder partnerships, including at sectorial level and sound industrial relations in line with internationally agreed principles and guidelines on CSR/RBC;
  • Strengthened and sustained information exchange involving all relevant stakeholders in relation to internationally agreed CSR/RBC principles and guidelines; and
  • Enhanced contributions of businesses operating in Japan, and Japanese businesses operating in Asia, to environmental protection, decent working conditions, and the respect of human rights and strengthened coherence with relevant regulatory frameworks.
Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) and Responsible Business Conduct (RBC) are ways in which enterprises consider the impact of their operations on society. They are rooted in the UN principle that businesses have a responsibility to uphold and protect human and labour rights, even in environments where there are gaps in the relevant national law. Through CSR and RBC, firms affirm their principles and values in their internal and external methods and processes. The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme believes that CSR/RBC are an integral part of corporate management that can help businesses manage risk, promote inclusive growth and ensure decent work in international supply chains.

For more about the programme’s activities, please visit our regional programme overview.