Message from the Responsible Officer
Sustainability management requires companies to generate both social value and corporate value. To do so, it is important that companies accurately identify opportunities and risks from an ESG perspective and reflect them into management. The Mitsui Chemicals Group established the Corporate Sustainability Division in 2018 and has steered its course toward sustainability management with ESG elements at its core. By incorporating ESG elements into our management/strategies, and by improving ESG information disclosure to our stakeholders, we aim to create those two critical values.
Sustainability in the Mitsui Chemicals Group
In addressing global social challenges highlighted in the SDGs and other initiatives, we aim to achieve sustainable development in society and the Group by implementing the following:
- Seek business opportunities and strive to solve challenges through business activities
- Recognize future risks for the Group and uphold our corporate social responsibility
Incorporation of ESG elements into management/strategies
- Reflect ESG considerations in management and strategy discussions at the Board of Directors, Company-wide Strategy Committee, and Corporate Sustainability Committee meetings
- Generate business involving business and R&D divisions and promote innovation
Improvement of ESG information
- Boost appeal to institutional investors, customers, and sustainability rating agencies
- Strengthen ESG dialogue
Creating social and corporate values through Blue Value™/Rose Value™
Blue Value™ and Rose Value™ help visualize our Group’s efforts to address the challenges faced by society. We are working to expand the sales of our Blue Value™/Rose Value™ certified products as we believe that they provide a measure of how successful we are in achieving both social value and corporate value.
In order to encourage proactive investment that will lead to the growth of Blue Value™/Rose Value™ product sales, from fiscal 2019 we have made it mandatory that applications for large-scale investments include description of the opportunities and risks the project entails from the perspective of social challenges, such as by indicating the project’s Blue Value™/Rose Value™ contributions and relevant SDG targets. This is a mechanism for reflecting ESG elements in investment decisions. It also provides an opportunity for our employees to think deeply about how they can contribute to solving these challenges. Starting in fiscal 2020, sales of Blue Value™/Rose Value™ certified products are being used as a management indicator for business divisions. By having each division incorporate medium- to long-term measures for expanding these products into their business strategies and even into their budgeting, it encourages each of them to take responsibility in this Group-wide effort. In addition, we are devoting our energy to developing future candidates of certified products by including Blue Value™/Rose Value™ perspectives from the stage of developing new research ideas and combining that with our stage management system.
Investment planning form (Example)
FY2020 large-scale investments*
Addressing climate change and the problems with plastic with a view to transition to a circular economy
As we strive to realize a circular economy, we believe that climate change and the problems with plastic should be addressed together as a single, inseparable challenge. The creation of a new Climate Change/Plastics Strategy Department within the Corporate Sustainability Division in June 2020 was intended to embody that concept. This organization will play a leading role in gathering and analyzing the latest global trends and data and will reflect them in Company-wide strategies to accelerate our climate change policy and plastics strategy.
A range of discussions on promoting our sustainability strategy have been held in meetings of the Board of Directors and the Corporate Sustainability Committee. There was a debate, for example, between those, on the one hand, who feel that the difficulty in achieving short-term returns in businesses involving the recycling of resources and reducing environmental impact means that it cannot be left to individual divisions, and that instead we should allocate Company-wide budgets to speed up our efforts. On the other hand, others countered that if we shift them entirely to the Company-wide level, then it will weaken the sense of responsibility felt by each division. Based on this discussion, we have created a structure to promote our plastics strategy that allows us to oversee all related projects together. With this structure, we can monitor the progress of both projects by individual divisions and cross-organizational projects, and intend to speed up decisions such as on resource allocation and clarify the responsible divisions.
With regard to climate change, the Corporate Sustainability Committee is discussing long-term policy with an eye to 2050 and beyond and is steadily disclosing information in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Also, from fiscal 2020, we began identifying climate change-related issues which are viewed as future opportunities and risks and setting targets in every division. As climate change responses are one of the key issues (materiality) of the Group, I think it is important that all divisions, not just certain ones, think about how those issues relate to themselves.
Toward a review of key issues (materiality)
As seen in the table, the Group has selected 22 key issues. Since our review in 2016, when we were drafting the 2025 Long-Term Business Plan, there have been major changes in the environment, including a dramatic rise in the social demands related to climate change and the problems with plastic, the COVID-19 pandemic, and so on. Fiscal 2020 is also the year in which we plan to review the Long-Term Business Plan. Currently, as we look back on the past four years, we are discussing what should or should not be changed and what we want our company to look like in 2030 as we work toward 2050. We plan to revise the key issues to reflect such internal and external conditions and announce them together with the Long-Term Business Plan. I want us to tackle the selected key issues as an integrated part of our business strategy.
Promoting sustainability strategy throughout the entire Company
Over the past two years, our management has focused on promoting our sustainability strategy throughout the Company and has achieved steady results. In addition to continuing top-down efforts to communicate this strategy, in fiscal 2020 we will also concentrate on gaining wider understanding among mid-career and worksite employees. Our goal is to create an environment where every employee is conscious of sustainability in their daily work so that it is naturally tied to their actions.