While reviewing an upcoming book from a noted author of lean manufacturing texts, I came across the Caux Round Table, an organization I had not heard of before.
The Caux Round Table (CRT) is an international network of principled business leaders working to promote a moral capitalism. The CRT advocates implementation of the CRT Principles for Business through which principled capitalism can flourish and sustainable and socially responsible prosperity can become the foundation for a fair, free and transparent global society.
Several years ago they created their Principles for Business, which are an attempt to define acceptable business behaviors. There are several such "moral capitalism" organizations with their own such principles, however this one appears to align pretty closely with the "respect for people" pillar of lean manufacturing.
These principles are rooted in two basic ethical ideals: kyosei and human dignity. The Japanese concept of kyosei means living and working together for the common good enabling cooperation and mutual prosperity to coexist with healthy and fair competition. "Human dignity" refers to the sacredness or value of each person as an end, not simply as a mean to the fulfillment of others’ purposes or even majority prescription.
The first several principles have to do with the basics of business,
The value of a business to society is the wealth and employment it creates and the marketable products and services it provides to consumers at a reasonable price commensurate with quality. To create such value, a business must maintain its own economic health and viability, but survival is not a sufficient goal. Businesses have a role to play in improving the lives of all their customers, employees, and shareholders by sharing with them the wealth they have created. Suppliers and competitors as well should expect businesses to honor their obligations in a spirit of honesty and fairness. As responsible citizens of the local, national, regional and global communities in which they operate, businesses share a part in shaping the future of those communities.
The text then expands on each of these components by discussing the rule of law, environmental stewardship, and the like. Then each stakeholder is discussed, beginning with customers.
We believe in treating all customers with dignity, irrespective of whether they purchase our products and services directly from us or otherwise acquire them in the market.
After which more detail is added in terms of fairness, quality, and safety. Then the employees.
We believe in the dignity of every employee and in taking employee interests seriously.
With more detail added in terms of fair compensation, respect, dignity, and skills improvement. Then the owners, investors, and shareholders.
We believe in honoring the trust our investors place in us.
And the suppliers.
Our relationship with suppliers and subcontractors must be based on mutual respect.
Which is followed by dot points on fairness, freedom from coercion, fostering long-term stability, and sharing of information. Obviously the Detroit Big Three were not aware of this particular set of principles. Even competitors are mentioned.
We believe that fair economic competition is one of the basic requirements for increasing the wealth of nations and ultimately for making possible the just distribution of goods and services.
Followed by detail on respectful competitive behavior. Not exactly aligned with that business leadership classic, The Art of War. And finally, communities.
We believe that as global corporate citizens we can contribute to such forces of reform and human rights as are at work in the communities in which we operate.