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:
Some Reflections and Thoughts on the New Year
Well, our world did not end on December 21st as some thought might happen, given that the day was the end of a long-count period in Maya temporal accounting.
We might take some comfort in this escape from total disaster in that not every dire prediction comes true and not every metric reflects reality. More important for reality perhaps are faith, hope, charity, a sense for justice and, if we can manage it, a passion for excellence.
These things we bring out of our moral sense into our world. These things don’t depend on cosmic dynamics, but are within our discretion and control. The gift of being human is to shape our circumstances, not to live subject to the laws of materialism. We, especially in government and capitalism, stand somewhat apart and alienated from natural forces.
Living where the physical meets the metaphysical is our place in space and time. Our best sense of place arises when we affirm the constructive possibilities of this dynamic conjunction and work hard to blend that which is material with that which is transcendental, taking from each to give meaning and express purpose to the other.
May the following twelve months bring you many opportunities for helping in this work of giving our world good meaning and purpose and may you prosper in heart, mind and body.
Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Togo's Remarks at the Caux Round Table 2012 Global Dialogue
Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Togo made some remarks at the Caux Round Table 2012 Global Dialogue in July at Mountain House in Caux, Switzerland, that we wanted to share with you. The remarks provide non-Japanese with an important insight into the fundamental and foundational value orientation of national purpose that have been preoccupying this important nation. To read them, please click here.
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.
2011 Caux Round Table Global Dialogue Concluding Statement
The 26th Caux Round Table Global Dialogue was held in Washington, D.C. on July 28th and 29th at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters just before the riots in the United Kingdom and the precipitous fall in prices on the New York Stock Exchange.
As you will see in the concluding statement from the Dialogue (linked here), participants foresaw the ethical weaknesses that led to both of these dramatically upsetting events. Riots and arson and the collapse of faith in American public governance at the national level reflect shortcomings in leadership. Something has gone wrong at high levels when minority communities in London take to criminality and partisan intransigence in Washington prevents remedial action to remove threats to America's long-term prosperity.
What has happened to the collective capacity to provide for the common good in these two oldest of constitutional democracies?
Some at the Global Dialogue believed that the West, in particular, has a leadership crisis. Others believed it was a global shortcoming seen in Japan and China and in the aftermath of the Arab Spring revolutions as well.
We can take no consolation from the knowledge that, since leadership ultimately rests on good values, a leadership crisis is really a failure of values and of the spirit.
When there is no respect for others, ethics is at a very low point and the crisis comes on through widespread promotion of what is best for the self with the Devil taking the hindmost.
To read the statement, please click 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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