Caux Round Table White Paper and Call to Action: United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals
The governments of the world, acting in general assembly under the charter of the United Nations, will adopt 17 global goals for sustainable development.
The draft outcome document of the United Nations summit to the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda (A/69/L.85) proposes that governments agree to "shift the world on to a sustainable and resilient path" to "ensure that all human beings can fulfil their potential in dignity and equality in a healthy environment" and can "enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives and that economic, social and technological progress occurs in harmony with nature."
This sustainable development agenda for all humankind and the 17 sustainable development goals ("SDGs") open a new chapter in global capitalism.
These goals apply not just to poor and developing countries, but to all countries, companies and to each of us personally.
For the first time, humanity will have a business-like set of outcome objectives for a free market system of living each according to his and her own values with rights to private property and freedom from oppression of all kinds - political, market and intellectual.
This vision of sustainable development embraces what the Caux Round Table ("CRT") has advocated since 1986 - a "moral" capitalism.
To provide business with an implementable vision of sustainable development in support of the SDGs and in harmony with our wisdom traditions from every part of the world, the CRT has issued the attached White Paper and Call to Action.
The white paper has been sent to the leadership of the UN sustainable development initiative. They have received it with appreciation.
The white paper reflects the contributions of hundreds of our colleagues who have convened in some 21 round tables and discussions around the world over the past 15 months. I am grateful to all the organizers of these round tables, to all who participated and to my colleagues who came to Bangkok last month to draft the white paper.
The UN Draft Outcome Document does not, in any substantial way, note the necessary contributions of business and a moral capitalism to the elimination of poverty and achievement of sustainable development. This is a major oversight and conceptual failing, which the CRT white paper addresses.
We are most grateful to the Thailand Sustainable Development Foundation for support of our white paper initiative. We began our quest for relevant ethical guidance for business with respect to sustainable development in Bangkok in 2013 with consideration of Theravada Buddhist mindfulness and His Thai Majesty's recommendations of the "middle path" as dynamic risk management for capitalism, known in Thailand as the "sufficiency economy principles."
We will go forward with a pledge to the UN Economic and Social Council to assist them with follow up and review of the sustainable development agenda. We will now ask our network to promote the pledge by individual business leaders - contained as an annex to the white paper - to provide personal leadership for sustainable development in their companies.
We are discussing the convening of an annual conference to review progress in sustainable development and a recognition award process of those companies which bring to the fore in their business operations the values core to sustainable development.
To read the white paper, please click here (PDF, 8.26 MB).
The Caux Round Table: 25 Years of Charting a Platform for Principled Leadership
As the Caux Round Table commemorates its first meeting of global leaders at Mountain House in Caux, Switzerland in 1986, several current and former business leaders in Minnesota, where the CRT is headquartered, share their memories and testimonials about the CRT’s work and the importance of its Principles for Business. Watch the video to learn more:
Steve Young's New Book The Road to Moral Capitalism Now Available
Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table ("CRT"), has just released his second book, The Road to Moral Capitalism, published by Waterside Press of California.
The book contains Steve's comments and observations on the lessons learned from the 2008 collapse of credit markets, which can smooth the transition of our global economic system from its past indulgence of the traits of "brute" capitalism to the dynamics of a moral capitalism.
The publication of this book is very timely. The adoption this coming September by the United Nation's General Assembly of new global goals for sustainable development ratify the CRT's vision of a moral capitalism. This practical ideal was first contained in the aspirations of those business leaders from Europe, America and Japan who met in Caux in 1986, was then encapsulated in the CRT Principles for Business of 1994 and then given thoughtful advocacy by Steve's 2004 book, Moral Capitalism.
Since its publication over 10 years ago, no serious objection to the arguments and observations put forth in Moral Capitalism have surfaced. Its thesis has stood the test of time and commentary in business, academic, civil society, religious and political circles of opinion.
Steve's new book does what its title indicates – it points to a way forward in thinking about the structures of capitalism.
To learn more or to purchase the book, please click here.
Ebola and Moral Capitalism
The outbreak of Ebola in West Africa has not yet been contained. The World Health Organization fears that weekly infections could rise to some 10,000 persons, with a 70% mortality rate.
Media attention and political discussions focus on the public sector response, which is appropriate once an epidemic has broken out. Less discussed, however, are the conditions which gave rise to the outbreak.
In brief, they are the consequences of poverty and the absence of successful economic take-off in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The failure of these societies and their governments to incubate and foster robust wealth creation is largely responsible for the epidemic.
The fundamental ethical achievements of capitalism are the creation of jobs, the lowering of costs for consumer goods and services and the spread of new wealth – even though not optimally distributed. Through wealth, new technologies are made widely available, tax receipts are higher so public services improve and the quality of public goods, such as transportation, communications, health care and education, becomes much, much better.
To continue reading, please click here.
Caux Round Table to Convene Global Series of Round Tables on Sustainable Development
The Caux Round Table has received a significant grant from Thai patrons of sustainability to convene a series of global round tables to frame an approach to the ethics of sustainable development in support of the United Nation's initiative to adopt Sustainable Development Goals for all nations.
In September 2015, the United Nation’s General Assembly will adopt Sustainable Development Goals for the global community to succeed the Millennium Development Goals, which will expire next year. A process is underway to collect suggestions for the Sustainable Development Goals (see: http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300).
The adoption of global Sustainable Development Goals will be a milestone in the evolution of a more moral capitalism for our global community as it faces the challenges of inequalities in income and wealth distribution, growing populations and changes in our planet’s environment.
To continue reading the press release, please click here.
Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of the Caux Round Table Principles for Business
The Caux Round Table ("CRT") Principles for Business were launched twenty years ago this past week.
In retrospect, after the collapse of Communism and socialism as viable alternatives to capitalism, the CRT Principles were the first rigorous intellectual advance in the understanding of how free markets and business enterprise could more comprehensively succeed from the perspectives of human flourishing and social justice concerns.
The Japanese, European and American business leaders who authored the CRT Principles in 1994 innovatively raised the level of practical expectations for the outcomes of capitalism as an economic system, one taking into account the relevant demands of civil society and achieving sustainable prosperity.
The CRT Principles were presented to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Several years later, his office sponsored the Global Compact, by which companies and other private sector organizations could pledge their support for nine goals (later ten) set forth for governments by international treaty commitments among sovereign states.
To continue reading, please click here.
Book Launch of Moral Capitalism II in Croatian [ view photos enlarged ]
On Wednesday, May 21, 2014 in Zagreb, Croatia, the new set of essays by Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table ("CRT"), titled Moral Capitalism II, was formally introduced at a public lecture in Zagrab hosted by the National Forum and the Croatian Manager’s Association ("CROMA"). The book was translated into Croatian by CROMA, which in 2006, had previously translated Moral Capitalism into Croatian, as well.
An E-book version of Moral Capitalism II in English will be published later this year.
Moral Capitalism II covers the following topics: CSR and Public Goods; The Social Ecosystem of CSR; Contribution of Markets – Pricing; Why Did Wall Street Collapse in 2008?; Moral Capitalism and the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008; Is There An Agency Problem?; Sustaining the Agency Problem – Anxiety; Exacerbating the Agency Problem – Money; Agency Problem Adds to Moral Hazard; Overcoming the Agency Problem – Values; I/Thou; Friendship; Do We need Wall Street?; Dodd Frank Reforms – Not Enough; and The Existential Grounds for Moral Capitalism.
While in Zagreb, Steve also spoke at the private university for law and finance, Effectus, and met with leaders of the Croatian Employers Association. He was interviewed by leading newspapers and on the government TV network. Young called on President Josipovic, who agreed to become an advisor to the CRT. Young also met with the Rector and Vice-Rector for Curriculum of the Catholic University of Croatia.
The National Forum has proposed sustainable development goals for Croatia, which reflect the CRT Principles for Business and Principles for Government. The Forum has suggested that those who seek and obtain elected office subscribe to an oath of stewardship commitment, exactly the same in jurisprudence and ethics as the CRT Principles for Government.
Caux Round Table's Steve Young Presents Moral Capitalism to Pope Francis
Recently, Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table ("CRT"), was in Rome and spoke at a meeting of the Papal? foundation for advocacy of Catholic Social Teachings. During the meeting, he was able to provide a copy of Moral Capitalism in Spanish to Pope Francis and express to him the close alignment of the CRT Principles for Business and the Pope's concern for better well-being of people everywhere.
Steve has authored an article for the Minneapolis Star Tribune about the meeting and his impressions of the Pope. To read it, please click here.
Caux Round Table Awards Malaysian Prime Minister with Certificate of Recognition and Appreciation
The disappearance for two weeks of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 after its departure from Kuala Lumpur and then reported crash in the Indian Ocean has given the world a very unsettling demonstration of how fragile our lives can be. At the same time, the unrestrained usurpation by Russia of Ukrainian rights in Crimea has given the world a different, but equally unsettling demonstration of raw power divorced from law and common ethics.
The small efforts of the Caux Round Table ("CRT") are designed - idealistically and without cynical pretense - to highlight alternate ways of thinking and acting, ways more aligned with a deeply ingrained moral sense that is our common heritage transmitted from prior generations.
We seek to highlight these alternate ways through the advocacy of principles for business, government and civil society in the hopes that they may encourage, remind, support, guide - even inspire - actions that will promote human flourishing.
Coincidentally, in Malaysia, Prime Minister Najib Razak has become sensitive to the need to raise standards of good governance and performance in service of the public good.
In stressful and difficult circumstances, Prime Minister Najib has insisted on a program of multiracial and multicultural government reform in Malaysia. We believe that such forward-looking aspirations deserve recognition in line with prior CRT presentations of its appreciation.
On March 4th, 2014, on behalf of the CRT, Global Executive Director Steve Young and Senior Adviser and former Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Pramoj presented Prime Minister Najib with a certification of recognition and appreciation.
The presentations read as follows:
In his gracious reply, the Prime Minister expressed his gratitude to the CRT and eagerly accepted a copy of my book, Moral Capitalism. The Prime Minister said that he values such a vision and wanted to learn more about the CRT approach.
Caux Round Table Global Executive Director Participates in U.N. High Level Thematic Dialogue on State of World Economy
On May 18th and 19th, 2012, Steve Young, Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table, participated in the U.N.'s High Level Thematic Dialogue on the State of the World Economy. The meeting was convened by Qatari Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the current session of the General Assembly, to gather recommendations from a wide variety of people and nations adversely affected by the continuing downtown in global financial markets.
A brief report about the event can be downloaded here (PDF), or read online here.
The Mountain House Statement
The Caux Round Table announces the release of The Mountain House Statement setting forth a common position among the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions of social thought on sound ethical values to be used in management of the global economy. The Mountain House Statement offers hope for the world. The Mountain House Statement was collaboratively written by distinguished scholars from the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith traditions. They were convened at Mountain House, in Caux, Switzerland, by the Caux Round Table, His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, former Archbishop of Washington, DC, Ronald Thiemann, Bussey Professor of Theology and former Dean at the Harvard Divinity School, and Ibrahim Zein, Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Religion and Dean of the International Institute of Islamic Thought and Civilization at the International Islamic University, Malaysia.
To read the statement, please click here.
Caux Round Table Honors Sandy Vargas, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, for Outstanding Citizenship
On Wednesday, November 14th, the Caux Round Table honored Sandy Vargas, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation, with its 2012 Outstanding Citizenship Award. The Minneapolis Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the U.S. Ms. Vargas oversees the management of $600 million in assets; the administration of more than 1,000 charitable funds created by individuals, families and businesses; and the distribution of more than $30 million in grants each year.
Through its community grantmaking and leadership work, the foundation promotes constructive dialogue and action on critical issues, such as closing the achievement gap, achieving prosperity for all, improving public sector outcomes and realizing a more vibrant and equitable community.
Before joining the Minneapolis Foundation, Sandy was the Hennepin County Administrator, the top executive position in Hennepin County government in Minnesota, since 1999.
Caux Round Table Honors Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, for Outstanding Citizenship
On Friday, January 6th, the Caux Round Table presented its 2011 Award for Outstanding Citizenship to Mary Brainerd, President and CEO of HealthPartners, the largest, consumer-governed, nonprofit, health care organization in the U.S. Under her leadership, HealthPartners has been recognized as a national leader in the health care industry.
Brainerd is one of the founding CEOs of the Itasca Project, a group of forty government, civic and business leaders who work together to address the various issues that impact long-term, economic growth, including jobs, education, transportation and economic disparities. She also serves on the boards of Securian Financial Group, Minnesota Council of Health Plans, Saint Paul Foundation/Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, Minneapolis Federal Reserve and SurModics.
In remarks given after receiving the award, Brainerd articulated the need for citizenship and high standards of conduct as set forth by the Caux Round Table Principles for Business.
Caux Round Table Honors Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chair of Carlson, for Outstanding Citizenship
Recently, the Caux Round Table presented its 2010 Outstanding Citizenship Award to Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chair and former CEO of The Carlson Companies, a global company in the hospitality industry (Radisson Hotels and Carlson Wagonlit Travel). Carlson Nelson co-chaired the 2004 World Economic Forum in Davos and is a member of the Forum's International Business Council. She is also a co-founder of the Woman Leader's Program of the Forum and founded the Center for Integrative Leadership at the University of Minnesota. Under her leadership, the Carlson Companies was the first major North American travel company to take a stand against the sexual exploitation of children in the tourism industry. In very personal remarks given after receiving the CRT's recognition award, she articulated the need for citizenship and high standards of conduct as set forth by the CRT's Principles.
To read her remarks, please click here.
Caux Round Table Hosts Event with Congressman Barney Frank
On Saturday, May 8th, 2009, Congressman Barney Frank, Chair of the House Committee on Financial Services, spoke about the future of financial services in the U.S. Dave Beal, a reporter with MinnPost and friend of the Caux Round Table, covered the event. To read his article, please click here.
High Frequency Trading: A Public Good? (Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director, Caux Round Table). I am increasingly drawn to the proposition that financial markets and capitalism are not soul-mates. They are more like fractious siblings competing for parental attention, or narcissistic partners in a rocky marriage, each needing the other but each fearful of the other’s shortcomings. There is a close tie between them which can’t be totally severed. Traders in financial markets need real economic activity and growth in order to have financial contracts - stock, loans, options, derivatives, insurance guarantees, etc. - to buy and sell. Finance has no social purpose other than gambling unless there are related economic transactions to use the money which is bought and sold in financial markets. Read on . . .
The Moral Instinct and Organizational Excellence - An American Perspective (Prof. Doran Hunter, Research Fellow, Caux Round Table). Thomas Jefferson, in a 1787 letter to Peter Carr, made a profound observation about human nature that only now is being verified by neuroscience and behavioral genetics studies. Man is, Jefferson wrote, a social animal and is “endowed with a sense of right and wrong.” If one would “State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor … the former [would] decide it well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.” Today neurobiologists and psychologists are scientifically confirming Jefferson’s observation by demonstrating that human beings are “hard wired” to make initial moral judgments without knowing why they are making them and then using reason to support their judgments. The content of such judgments seems to be an emotional human need to treat others as one wishes to be treated. It seems that David Hume was correct: reason is the slave of human emotions. Could this human predisposition to act morally in most situations explain why 95% of business arrangements and other forms of negotiable agreements and understandings are carried out with honesty, fairness and probity? Read more ...
CSR and Public Goods (Stephen B. Young, Global Executive Director, Caux Round Table). A month or so ago I suggested that a very helpful way to understand corporate social responsibility within capitalism is to think of it in structural/functional terms as a mediating process for the private business enterprise with its environment. Private enterprise does not have modern society all to itself. There is government and there is, increasingly, civil society. Private enterprise seeks profit within the rules and regulations set down by government and ingests the social capital provided by civil society. The interactions among business, government, and civil society need constant mediation as a function of successful business enterprise. Such mediation, I suggested, is the function of CSR and CSR managers. Read more . . .
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