Research Institude of Economy. Trade and Industry
In Annual Report 2010, President & CEO Yutaka Kase hit the mark when he said that expanding resource businesses and building Sojitz's environment and new energy operations under the medium-term management plan Shine 2011 will help address such social issues as resource depletion and poverty. The Sojitz Group is in a position where it can contribute to resolving many issues confronting international society through its business activities. By selecting CSR priority themes this year, the Sojitz Group has clearly demonstrated its commitment to using its position even more. Below, I evaluated this report along the lines of the four selected themes. In addition I have given my expectations for future initiatives.
Promotion of CSR Supply Chain Management
I praise the establishment of the Sojitz Group CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chains as a meaningful and necessary first step. The Sojitz Group has diverse products at stages throughout global supply chains from upstream to downstream. Consequently, building socially responsible supply chains is a significant challenge and the Sojitz Group's initiatives have a considerable ripple effect. As the Sojitz Group moves to the stage of implementing these guidelines, there are three points I want to emphasize.
First, while building shared understanding with suppliers through constant communication with them, it is important to be aware of their work and environments. Second, it is important to disclose information about the progress of initiatives. Finally, contingency plans are necessary. Regardless of how thoroughly the guidelines are adhered to, problems can always arise. How a company responds to unforeseen circumstances is a direct expression of its awareness of social responsibility.
Promotion of Businesses That Contribute to Preventing Climate Change
The sections regarding the Sojitz Group's initiatives in the solar power business value chain and storage batteries that support the future of electricity will both probably pique readers' interest. That being said, business by definition is useful to society. A key imperative in CSR, as displayed in the Sojitz Group's initiatives related to supply chains, is to innovate business methods based on consideration for society and the environment. Mentioning business method innovation in connection with contributing to preventing climate change would probably communicate the Sojitz Group's commitment in this area more clearly.
Promotion of Businesses That Contribute to the Advance of Developing and Emerging Countries
"The Development of Emerging Countries is Our Goal," the feature story of the report, successfully communicates to readers how the Sojitz Group's efforts to solve public problems in the countries where it operates creates win-win relationships that lead to growth of its business. In particular, I would like to focus attention on the new tree-planting business in Vietnam as a novel type of local community social contribution project incorporating financial incentives.
Establishment of Personnel Systems and Workplace Environments That Enable All Employees to Flourish
Introductions of important initiatives including the global human resources strategy are praiseworthy. Going forward, after further advancing socially responsible human resource measures, setting key performance indicators and disclosing the level of achievement would probably be an effective strategy.
The above are my opinions in line with the priority themes. With ISO 26000 scheduled to come into effect at the end of this year, international society's expectations of companies regarding society, human rights and environmental issues continue to grow. I expect the Sojitz Group to follow the path indicated in this report in order to deepen its future CSR initiatives and make a significant contribution to resolving the many issues facing international society.
Comment on Third-party Opinion
I sincerely thank Mr. Fujii for his valuable recommendations with respect to the Sojitz Group's CSR initiatives outlined in Annual Report 2010.
His understanding that the Sojitz Group is in a position to help resolve the many issues confronting international society reminds us of the great responsibility we bear. Common among the various points he raised in line with our CSR priority themes was that for the Sojitz Group, which conducts various businesses, promoting CSR initiatives involves not only clarifying individual guidelines but also responding appropriately and practically to situations in which it can directly express its awareness of social responsibility, including innovation of business methods.
Mr. Fujii concludes by referring to international society's growing expectations of companies and his expectations of the Sojitz Group. All Sojitz Group executives and employees will conduct their daily work with awareness of society and will continue striving to deepen CSR initiatives in the future in order to contribute to resolving the many issues facing international society.
CSR Committee Chairman Sojitz Corporation