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Third-Party Opinion

Third-Party Opinion

photo : Mika Takaoka Professor
Mika Takaoka Ph.D., Professor
College of Business,
Rikkyo University

It is my pleasure to submit the following third-party opinion with respect to the CSR activities of Mazda Motor Corporation and its Group companies in Japan and other countries, as expressed in the Mazda Sustainability Report 2013.

Strong Points

The greatest characteristic of the CSR initiatives conducted during the period covered by this report (April 2012 to March 2013) is that the seven core subjects of ISO 26000 were kept in mind in devising and disclosing the FY March 2014 CSR targets. Compliance with ISO 26000 means bringing into view the global standards of CSR. This must have been an extremely important decision for a global company such as the Mazda Group, which soon will have 12 overseas locations with the commencement of production in Mexico in FY March 2014, and whose overseas sales volume exceeds 80% of total sales. At the same time, as stated in the Top Message at the beginning of this Report, taking the opportunity to "identify and highlight the CSR perspectives inherent in the daily operations of each individual employee", was also significant. I would like to highly evaluate Mazda's self-acknowledgement as a global business entity, and its attitude of earnestly and promptly responding to social expectations.

The Feature Story discusses i-ACTIVSENSE, an advanced safety technology. "The Sustainable Zoom-Zoom", apointed in March 2007, is a long-term vision for technology development that aims to provide "driving pleasure" and outstanding environmental and safety performance; the introduction of i-ACTIVSENSE in FY March 2013 under this vision gave me the impression that another step forward has been taken in the safety aspect.

What is particularly notable in the environmental protection aspect is that the scope of data disclosure in line with Scope3 has been expanded. Along with data on direct greenhouse gas emissions by the company (Scope1) and indirect greenhouse gas emissions (Scope2), disclosure of data on greenhouse gas emissions by the entire supply chain (Scope3) was enhanced. The addition of emissions by Category 11 "Use of Sold Products" deserves special mention. One of the global environmental considerations that should be tackled through CSR activities by companies engaging in manufacturing and sales of goods is how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by customers through the products the companies provide. Collecting and disclosing Category 11 data shows that Mazda considers greenhouse gas emissions by its customers as part of its social responsibility, and intends to continuously strive together with the customers for its reduction. As an automobile manufacturer handling consumer durable goods, such a sincere corporate attitude should be highly evaluated.

Next, I would like to mention how this report saw further improvements in CSR communication. The booklet version is planned to acquire the Color Universal Design Certification, employing designs that allow information to be accurately conveyed to those who see colors differently. Also, "Respect for people" has always been one of the three key themes of the Mazda Group's CSR initiatives, which is reflected in management that takes into consideration employee diversity and healthy work-life balance. In this year's report, many employees and stakeholders of various nationalities, gender and age appear in subtitle pages, social contribution case presentations and other pages, providing a variety of firsthand comments on what motivates them from day to day, or what they expect of the Mazda Group. Through these comments, readers can gain a better understanding of the corporate culture of Mazda, which respects diversity of nationality, gender and age. I commend these sound advancements and improvements.

Points That Can Be Further Improved

In my Third-Party Opinion last year, I suggested conformance with ISO 26000, stakeholder engagement, further implementation of global perspectives, gaining an understanding of the utilization status of the report, and devising ways to improve CSR communications. I saw major improvements on all of these points. I am especially surprised with the promptness of the ISO 26000 conformance, since my suggestion was intended as a medium-term challenge. This made me realize that the Mazda Group is a conscious business entity who takes corporate social responsibility seriously.
However, there are a few remaining challenges to be tackled.

First, from the next fiscal year and on, the achievement status of FY March 2014 CSR targets based on the seven core subjects of ISO 26000 should be evaluated and included in the PDCA cycle, and at the same time, the current six initiative areas and three key themes should be reviewed in order to newly design "CSR that is truly unique to suitable for the Mazda Group" that can handle a rapidly changing business environment. In doing so, further enhancement of stakeholder engagement will also become important, so as to understand the interests and concerns of global stakeholders and reflecting these in corporate management.

Also, closely related to the above, focus on what is important in disclosure of sustainability performance information must be enhanced, based on the fourth version of the GRI Guidelines released in May 2013. To adequately explain what is deemed important and how disclosed information was specified will probably require reorganization of the relationship between the corporate vision and CSR management, and the fourth version of the GRI Guidelines is the perfect opportunity for this. I hope to see a focus that would unify the direction taken by the growth and CSR management of the Mazda Group.

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