Nichirei Corporation invited Professor Mika Takaoka of Rikkyo University to read, and offer her opinion on, the Nichirei Group CSR Report 2017 in both its condensed and full versions (most of each is included in the “CSR/Environment-related Practices” section of the Nichirei Group's English-language website.
Third-party Opinion of the Nichirei Group CSR Report 2017
College of Business
Overall, I believe that the Nichirei Group CSR Report 2017 clearly and effectively reflects the Group's mission of bringing genuine satisfaction to people based on an understanding of their lifestyles. The report explains how business activities and CSR have an equal relationship for the Group, as stated in the Message from the Board of Directors: “The initiatives for realizing our mission represent the substance of corporate social responsibility for the Nichirei Group.”
CSR initiatives that have been incorporated into the main business activities are sustainable, and indicate the Group's high level of social responsibility. I strongly commend this earnest approach to CSR.
What I would most like to evaluate in this report is the addition of the new items, “provide safe products and services” and “maintain a sustainable supply chain,” in the Group's basic CSR policy, which was revised in April 2017.
At the same time, the Nichirei Group Sustainable Supply Chain Policy also went into effect. In recent years, there has been growing interest in how corporate social responsibility relates to supply chains. The Nichirei Group procures, produces, and distributes food products internationally. Therefore, as it expands business globally, the Group must work together with its suppliers to tackle various issues, such as respect for basic human rights, and ensuring safe and sanitary working environments.
In this regard, I hope the Group takes the initiative to broaden the suppliers it targets, to include not only primary suppliers, but also secondary and tertiary suppliers.
The Nichirei Group Workplace Improvement Policy was established in April 2017, and the Group is working to achieve its objectives by fiscal 2021. Employees are important stakeholders for a company, and organizations can be made more dynamic by limiting long working hours, increasing options for working styles, and fostering a corporate culture that accepts diverse values.
Nichirei has been keen to provide its employees with equal opportunities. Thus, over the years, it has organized group-wide conferences to promote diversity.
In this report, I was impressed by the more substantial disclosure of information, including new data showing the ratio of women in management positions.
Expectations for the future
As I suggested in the previous fiscal year, the Nichirei Group should consider creating an action plan for the main CSR activities that it considers important.
The plan should include the goals and details of those activities, key performance indicators, measurable targets, and levels of achievement. Further, adopting a plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle would be helpful for making continuous improvements to the Group's CSR activities, together with its commitment to CSR.
The Group is enthusiastic about measures for protecting the global environment, as I could see in the section about reducing the environmental burden of logistics operations in the first special feature of the report (Japanese version only).
Among its environmental targets for the medium term (fiscal 2016 to 2018), the Group has set a goal of reducing CO2 emissions from the baseline year of fiscal 2009 by targeting the energy consumed by all worksites and vehicles owned in Japan.
Although the electricity emissions were fixed in fiscal 2009, CO2 emissions rose 1.3% in fiscal 2016. Therefore, I hope operations will be reviewed, so that the goal might be achieved in fiscal 2017.
Response to Third-party Opinion
and Vice Director
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Takaoka who, for the second consecutive year, offered her candid assessment of our CSR report.
Having established-in April 2017-both the Nichirei Pledge as our basic CSR policy, and the Nichirei Group Sustainable Supply Chain Policy, we are highly encouraged by Takaoka's evaluation of the policies and our ongoing efforts to implement them.
With respect to her suggestion that we create a CSR action plan at our CSR management conference, which has been held since the previous fiscal year, we have been studying information disclosure and the implementation of the PDCA cycle in each of our initiatives, especially our efforts to provide safe products and services, while maintaining a sustainable supply chain.
Meanwhile, we are working hard to achieve the reduction target for the Group's total CO2 emissions, and plan to install new energy-saving equipment and operate machinery more efficiently in the future.
Aiming to uphold the Nichirei Pledge, the entire Group will continue holding dialogs with stakeholders and manage operations with a view to helping solve issues our communities are facing.