CSR – Dialogues with Experts
The Mitsubishi Electric Group identified four CSR materialities (priority issues) in FY2016, to more strongly promote CSR on a long-term basis as an integral part of management. To work out initiatives for FY2017 based on these materialities, dialogues were held with three guest experts to gain their objective views from an external perspective.
In their capacities as experts in their respective fields, the guests offered their views on the Mitsubishi Electric Group's initiatives and made a wide range of proposals from the standpoint of CSR trends. They also introduced CSR trends in international institutions and the best practices of advanced firms, specifically regarding the Group's response to the SDGs (sustainable development goals) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, its current ESG investment status, its supply chain management, and its responsibilities as an official partner of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The views obtained through these dialogues provided a renewed awareness of the importance of going beyond Japanese conventions and maintaining a wide, global perspective as a company aiming to become a leading global green company.
Important Opinions and Suggestions Offered by Our Guest Experts
Strengthen Initiatives for Solving Social Issues from an Outside-In Perspective
Initiatives for contributing the 17 goals and 169 targets of the SDGs should not be made in a comprehensive, all-encompassing manner, but by clarifying the areas the Mitsubishi Electric Group can concentrate its strengths in. Rather than focusing on a single goal, a starting point should be defined, from which initiatives can expand toward related goals.
Many companies are attempting to use their responses to the SDGs as business opportunities, rather than regarding them as part of their social contribution. What is important here is to think not from the inside-out perspective of "what can be done along the extension of CSR initiatives taken to date," but from the outside-in perspective of "how the company's abilities and resources can be used to solve issues that exist in society today." Given the great expectations societies have for companies, how a company responds to these expectations has a large influence on its brand power.
The Mitsubishi Electric Group's efforts to disseminate CSR across the company, and particularly its CSR training for new employees immediately upon joining the company, are admirable and well worth continuing.
The SDGs are an Effective Tool for Communication with Society
Having also participated in this dialogue last year, I feel I have witnessed the Mitsubishi Electric Group's underlying power for steady development. This is illustrated, for example, by its being selected among the highest ranking A List Companies in various fields by the international NGO CDP in FY2017.
The SDGs are gaining attention throughout the world, and will come to have even greater influence on global businesses. The strategic use of the SDGs is also spreading among ESG investment processes as a tool for measuring a company's long-term value. By regarding the SDGs as a common language shared by businesses, administrations and NGOs/NPOs, and disseminating information about the Group's initiatives for the SDGs, communication with stakeholders is bound to get smoother.
Furthermore, presenting a long-term vision of the future direction of the Group, and the quantitative results of greenhouse gas reductions and other such initiatives, will facilitate greater understanding of the company among investors. I hope that the Group will continue to implement thorough activities and make dedicated efforts to disseminate relevant information.
It is Important for CSR Activities to Have a Clear Relevance to Business
Through interactions with various levels of employees at Mitsubishi Electric, I have found that the management has a consistent policy, and that an excellent corporate culture exists where the policy is fully reflected in all employees and their activities. At the same time, however, there are areas where the relationship between social/environmental initiatives and business is ambiguous and should be clarified. New initiatives might also emerge by making changes in schemes, such as by setting targets from the CSR perspective and incorporating the results into business evaluations in each department.
In promoting supply chain management, it is important to thoroughly evaluate risks and properly assess which suppliers and items pose what types of risks. It is unrealistic to apply a unified approach to a diverse range of suppliers, so prioritized initiatives are essential. Additionally, with a view to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Sustainable Sourcing Code has been formulated to set forth CSR requirements for the environment, labor, and human rights. Not only companies that deliver products, but businesses along their supply chain will be required to comply with the code, so it is becoming even more important to promote CSR initiatives with the supply chain.
In Response to the Dialogues
As a goal toward fiscal 2021, the year of the company's 100th anniversary, we have set forth a growth target of consolidated net sales of ¥5.0 trillion or more and an operating income ratio of 8% or more. As mentioned in the President's message, this target corresponds to the pure stats of a person—their height, weight, and so on—while CSR initiatives represent that person's character. Thus, CSR initiatives are another extremely important indicator for measuring corporate value. We will strive to grow comprehensively—in terms of both statistics and character—to strengthen our management foundation.
We have once again received various opinions and proposals through dialogues with experts. Each theme discussed will be shared with the relevant departments and incorporated into our activities, which will also include a review of the CSR materialities and initiatives we have set forth. We will also focus on disseminating relevant information on a global scale in cooperation with our affiliates in Japan and overseas, in reference to international standards for CSR. Thank you very much for offering your input and insights today.