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Challenge: to develop and test a practical tool for recognising excellence in moral capitalism on the part of company leaders.

Outcome: Presented at the CRT’s Global Dialogue, the Corporate Stewardship Compass is being used by corporates and social auditors as part of the their CSR evaluation toolset.


The Caux Round Table commissioned the project in the firm conviction that moral leadership is essential to building a culture of stewardship within companies – a culture which reflects the alignment of values with business practices.

The Compass is especially timely given the growing expectations for private sector engagement. As never before, businesses are being called upon to apply their expertise and creativity to solving sustainable development challenges. Moreover, trends in corporate responsibility demand new commitments to environmental, social and governance standards.

Stewards must leave what they hold in better condition for use by future generations

Professor James O'TooleUniversity of Southern California

The focus on stewardship reinforces the importance of sustainability. As one expert describes it: “Stewardship requires the careful management of something that belongs to others. Stewards must not only make proper current use of that which they hold in trust, but they must also leave it in better condition for use by future generations.”

The Corporate Stewardship Compass therefore uses the UN Sustainable Development Agenda as a guide towards the values of successful stewardship.

A practical tool

The project goal was to develop a practical tool that could be used in the real world to produce actionable insights. The chief output of the project therefore, is an innovative questionnaire and matrix derived from the value and practices of some of the world’s most sustainable companies, which can be used as an internal checklist by companies or used by independent social auditors or consultants who conduct in-depth inside interviews in conjunction with analysing publicly available data.

The full report contains detailed guidelines on how to apply the tool in practice.

Immense value as an internal checklist for companies... also an invaluable tool for independent external social auditors.

Professor James O'TooleUniversity of Southern California

Corporate Stewardship Compass: Matrix

Next steps

Read the Caux Round Table Corporate Stewardship Compass, and access the full questionnaire and matrix.

Download the full report