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Dialogue with Stakeholders / Priority issues identified by JSR Group  Dialogue 2

Importance of Understanding Priority Issues from a Global Perspective

Dialogue2I would like to talk about diversity, which has been identified as a priority issue. The JSR Group established its Diversity Promotion Office in response to the recognized need to provide support for the advancement of women. It had its beginnings in a project designed to provide greater opportunities for women and increase the number of women in management. From there, we moved toward establishing a dedicated department to enable us to become more thoroughly engaged. However, it seems that employees still do not understand certain aspects of the company's desire to increase the number of women in management. More than a few employees seem to see it as being because of the call for gender equality, as women demanding their rights, or as the just the most recent social trend. The actual reason, however, is to create new value through diversity. Opportunity for women is an issue most employees are at least vaguely familiar with, and it was, frankly, the easiest initiative to get started. I am aware, though, that the reasons behind the initiative are not fully understood and that we need to work on this in the future.
While it may be easier to imagine the advancement of women in companies manufacturing consumer goods that target women directly, it may be not be as simple for the JSR Group or other materials manufacturers. Continuing with the Japanese-style of diversity management will not work, especially when expanding overseas. In fact, the number of Japanese companies struggling with this issue overseas is increasing. Initiatives designed to increase the acceptance of diverse values and change people's way of thinking to create new values are now required. I think this will be required in Japan as well.
As Ms. Nakayama said, our engagement in diversity had its start in an initiative aimed at the advancement of women, which was, as also mentioned, the easiest initiative to start. Like Ms. Akiyama, I worked at a European office in the past and had difficulties with differences in language, culture, and religion. Communication is natural if both speakers are from the same cultural and linguistic background, but employees dispatched overseas must have the resolve to actively understand and work together with individuals from different cultures.
Approximately 2,000 of our Group's 7,000 employees are non-Japanese; and when we consider that overseas activities account for 55% of total sales, working on the Corporate Mission and CSR in Japan alone is not enough. We may have difficulties disseminating the mission overseas.
We conduct annual questionnaires on the Corporate Mission for overseas offices, and they show differences in awareness according to country. On the other hand, there are also generational differences in attitude in Japan such as the emergence of young males who are not interested in career advancement. Such issues cannot be addressed overnight. It will take time, years of work. I believe the JSR brand can be further strengthened through these initiatives.
I think awareness of the JSR Group Corporate Mission must be heightened overseas as well as in Japan. However, we must consider how to better communicate and root the Corporate Mission. I think the solution is more "glocal" than "global," which means thinking from a global perspective and acting from a local perspective. The fundamental core of the Corporate Mission should remain intact but be communicated in a way that takes the local culture and values into consideration so that it can be understood clearly. Each and every local employee must consider how their work ties in with Materials Innovation.
I completely agree with the "glocal" concept that Ms. Akiyama mentioned, and I also think this concept applies inside the company. Each department and division has its own interpretation of the Corporate Mission. For example, in the Account & Finance Department where I work, we relabeled the Corporate Mission, "Cash Innovation." The same interpretation can be made overseas without being too strict.
If overseas operations are considered when we look at passive CSR, important items are evident. There is high interest in the issues of air and water pollution overseas. The JSR Group should actively show that it is working on these issues as a natural part of CSR.
Another high-interest issue overseas is human rights. Even if no such problems exist inside the company or with business partners, the JSR Group could be affected if they occur in the supply chain. However, problems are difficult to identify when the supply chain includes three or four levels of subcontracting. The way in which we engage risk management, therefore, is certainly an important issue.
There are many differences between the way in which issues facing society are interpreted and addressed overseas and in Japan. The most obvious example is the issue of human rights. In Japan, the so-called "sweatshop companies" are merely mocked; but in other countries, they would be considered forced labor. There are also significant differences in the legal standards for anti-corruption, anti-trust, and other similar laws.
In Japan, the issue of human rights is understood narrowly as power and sexual harassment. Globally, the term human rights encompasses all basic human rights. As Mr. Motoki mentioned, this includes the rights of not only the company's own employees but also the workers employed by suppliers as well as local residents. For example, if local residents do not have sufficient access to usable water due to water pollution resulting from business activities, such a situation would be a violation of their human rights. Therefore, it is imperative to act from the perspective of the entire value chain. As illustrated in Fig. A, the issue of human rights is positioned low on the JSR Group's list of priority issues. I think human rights should be positioned more to the top right. In addition, prevention of discrimination has been grouped together with the prevention of human rights violations. If the prevention of discrimination is pointing at an internal workplace human rights issue, I think it would be easier to address by separating the prevention of human rights violations from the handling human rights in the global context.
While slightly off-topic from what was just said, I personally feel that the handling of suppliers involves human rights. Delivery deadlines are very strict and we require the cooperation of suppliers to meet these deadlines. So we need to set strict deadlines for our suppliers. The way strict demands are received varies greatly by country. In that sense, the "glocal" concept is necessary.
I feel the JSR Group is operating a risk management system that can firmly respond to global risk. Relevant organizations, including the Legal Department, Risk Management Committee, and Corporate Ethics Committee, regularly identify issues in Japan and overseas. Operational audits are also conducted for all overseas sites once every two years. While several issues have been reported through the hotline, I believe we are doing quite well.

FY :
Fiscal Year means the year ending March 31.
For example, FY2016 means April 1, 2015 - March 31, 2016      

To Dialogue 3 "Priority issues and their Correspondence to Investor and Customer Needs"