The positive impact that business can make by tackling social problems in partnership with Japan’s growing network of non-profit organizations (NPOs) is highlighted by a new report, published today.
The report also identifies the social issues of most concern to people in modern-day Japan. These include issues resulting from economic change – such as increasing homelessness and crime – as well as issues arising from lifestyle changes, such as truancy and gender inequality in the workplace.
Corporate Community Investment in Japan – published in both Japanese and English – has been initiated by Cable & Wireless, the global telecommunications group, as part of its commitment to play a positive role as a corporate citizen in Japan.
The report aims to demonstrate the many benefits of developing a strategic community investment program, which has a close link with both core business objectives and also the needs and requirements of Japan’s local communities.
Phil Green, CEO of Cable & Wireless IDC Inc. explained the rationale behind the report. He said: "Cable & Wireless has a long standing tradition of community investment and is committed to making a positive social contribution to the communities in which it operates. This report is the first stage in this process in Japan. We intend to build on it by engaging with the NPO community and by carefully exploring how our business can respond to the unique needs of our communities in Japan and make a positive social contribution."
The report, published in conjunction with Tokyo-based Centre for Active Community (CAC) and international consultancy and think-tank, SustainAbility, explores the increasingly important role played by Japan’s vibrant new non-profit sector in tackling key social problems.
Commenting on the significance of the report, Atsuko Hattori, Director of CAC was keen to encourage companies – both Japanese firms and western companies doing business in Japan – to embrace the idea of strategic community investment. She said:
"It is rare for this kind of research to be conducted in collaboration with business, and even more unusual for such research to be published in both Japanese and English. The collaborative approach advocated by the report can bring mutual benefit to both the public and private sector and deliver new ideas and energy to provide solutions to the most important social issues."
Judy Kuszewski, Senior Advisor at SustainAbility said:
"Economic and lifestyle changes in recent decades have caused cracks to emerge in Japan’s traditionally strong society. People are rejecting traditional institutions for failing to meet new social challenges and are turning instead to new organizations to effect change. Business and NPO partnerships have a key role to play in future solutions."
The report outlines a recommended process for companies wishing to develop a strategic community investment program. It includes a step-by-step approach – from identifying key issues and recognizing partner organizations, to monitoring a program’s success.