Message from Chairman of Group CSR Promotion Committee
Clear strategies with the backcasting approach
It was 2015 when the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted at its General Assembly. The fact that the solution was unanimously agreed by the member states was significant. I believe we should make every endeavor to achieve SDGs as they set specific goals for corporate activities and indicate the right direction in which the world should move.
The Toyo Seikan Group has begun its group-wide effort to address its material issues identified in line with the UN’s seventeen goals.
Solutions to most of the SDGs do not lie in the existing frameworks. We need to define the final destination and then work backward to figure out what we should do, and how and by when we should do it, to approach the desired future, while making fine adjustments based on the comparison between plans and actual performance. Under this perspective, I would like to report the current status regarding the eight items of our materiality.
Eight Materiality Items
- *This chart is scrolled
|Continuous creation of
new products and services
|Honest and responsible behavior||
❶ Development of packaging containers and services in line with social needs
Among the major breakthroughs in the history of beverage containers were the emergence of 2-piece aluminum cans for beer in 1960s and the commercialization of PET bottles in 1974. By 2015, people had used a total of 500 billion PET bottles, the same amount as the total amount of glass bottles used. Now, in just 41 years after their appearance, PET bottles can be compared head-to-head with glass bottles, which have 5,000 years of history. With their features of light weight, crack resistance, transparency and resealablity, PET bottles have satisfied what the society required.
However, plastic containers are now faced with the problem of marine plastic litter. To address this issue, the Toyo Seikan Group will promote the use of plastic containers more suitable to recycling and the reduction of waste volume by shifting to refill pouches, for which the Group has an advantage in the market.
We are at a major turning point in the history of packaging containers, the first in fifty years. I believe there are a lot of things we can do to contribute to the sustainable Earth.
❷ Enhancement of quality assurance
As Japanese firms’ data-fabrication scandals related to product quality have recently been revealed one after another, the social trust in the manufacturing sector has been undermined. The fabrication of quality data is a betrayal of social trust, while quality assurance is absolutely vital to a company’s sustainability. In April 2019, the Group established the Quality Administration Department under its holding company to oversee the quality assurance system of the entire group. We believe that a commitment to maintaining and improving product quality itself represents the act of fulfilling corporate social responsibility.
❸ Contribution to environment protection
While the Group has been addressing environmental issues based on its mid-term environmental goals, Eco Action Plan 2022, the recent development, including the problem of marine plastic pollution and the movement of governments to formulate their plastic recycling policies, is prompting the Group to set higher goals. Against this backdrop, the Group has established this year its new mid-term goals, Eco Action Plan 2030, focusing on “innovation for decarbonization.” The new plan includes a carbon footprint reduction target for the entire supply chain as well as targets of replacement to recycled and recyclable materials, including plant-derived plastics.
❹ More sustainable supply chain
To create a sustainable Earth, we need combined efforts across the entire supply chain in addition to the Group’s commitment. We will contribute to achieving the sustainable Earth through pursuing a responsible corporate procurement with due consideration of environmental, social and human rights issues.
❺ Coexistence with communities
Group companies are engaged in activities that can contribute to the respective communities where they operate. The head office, for instance, has the Museum of Package Culture in its building in Shinagawa, Tokyo, to show the general history and technologies of packaging containers. It also provides environmental education programs and career education programs for the first to ninth grade students.
❻ Respect for human rights
The Group launched its Human Rights Policy in June 2019. All group companies, which operate in Japan and 16 foreign countries, incorporate respect for human rights, including those of their employees and all other stakeholders, into the foundation of their operations both in Japan and abroad.
❼ Respect for employees
Respecting diversity brings additional energy to business activities. This perspective has increasingly been understood among the group members. In June 2018, Toyo Seikan Group Holdings started a pilot program of telework as part of its work style reform, and in July 2019, the telework system was officially introduced. Setting certain limitations for the time being, including up to two days a week and ten days a month, the company is encouraging a broad use of the system.
❽ Ensuring thorough compliance
Companies are required both to increase positive activities and to refrain from engaging in negative activities. Unfortunately, there have been five drunk driving cases in the Group since April 2018, resulting in strict punishments, including demotion.
On February 6, 2018, the Group’s major operating company Toyo Seikan was subjected to an onsite inspection by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) for alleged violation of the Antimonopoly Act of Japan related to beverage can trading. The company fully cooperated with the investigation. On September 26, 2019, it received from the JFTC a cease and desist order and a surcharge payment order under the Act.
We have seriously taken to heart these facts and will commit ourselves more firmly to compliance with laws and regulations.
Establishment of a governance system and new organizations
In addition to the eight material issues, I would like to refer to a number of movements in the Group. In October 2018, in order to enhance our governance system, we established the Governance Committee, a consultative body which consists of two representative directors and five outside directors. In fiscal 2019, we appointed the first female outside director, allowing the Board of Directors to have more active discussions.
In April 2019, aiming to connect our SDG-related efforts with practical business activities, we launched the Innovation Incubation Office to enhance collaboration with external entities. In the same month, we opened the Singapore Branch to seek cooperative work with universities and businesses in Asia for the development of new products that meet demand of people in the region.
Four years have already passed since the SDGs were adopted at the UN General Assembly, with only eleven years remaining to the year of 2030. Just after the adoption, there were not many Japanese companies who showed willingness to commit to SDGs, but now, an increasing number of companies have been taking action with challenging targets. The Group will also accelerate the implementation of measures to achieve SDGs, with an eye on the movement of society, to fulfill its social responsibility.