College of Business,
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 2012.
Mazda designated 2011 as an important year for the Company, since it marked the inaugural year of the SKYACTIV era. During the period covered by this report, April 2011 to March 2012, the Company launched a series of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY-equipped vehicles including the Demio (in the Japanese market), the Axela/Mazda3, and the CX-5. Mazda clearly demonstrated its commitment to environmental protection by offering these products and technologies that represent the Company's unique spirit.
As stated in the Top Message, there are multiple solutions to the environmental issues facing humanity which go beyond EV and hybrid technologies. Even in 2020, fossil fuels will remain the principal sources of energy for automotive use in the global market. The conventional internal combustion engine will continue to be the primary motoring technology. On the basis of these prospects, I applaud the Company's actions and the underlying philosophy that it is automakers' social responsibility to improve base technologies for the efficiency of internal combustion engines and for vehicle weight reduction and to launch new products incorporating such base technologies.
The Company implemented the Mazda Green Plan 2020, its mid-term environmental plan developed in FY March 2012, and has begun a follow-up to assess performance in regard to each objective in the plan using a PDCA cycle. Mazda also conducted its biodiversity impact assessment. These activities are noteworthy. The Company's constant effort in undertaking new initiatives is indicative of its deep sense of responsibility concerning environmental protection.
Regarding social contributions, the WEB version of the present report discloses information on 88 topics arranged from more than 450 social contribution programs, promoted by the Mazda Group in every part of the world. The report portrays individual area programs implemented in Japan, and describes programs for each business region overseas with the social contribution policy embraced and the leader appointed, illustrating how the Mazda Group is promoting a wide variety of activities.
Many of these are steadfast programs run on a long-term basis. This characteristic of their activities makes it clear that the Group considers local communities an important stakeholder and holds to the philosophy of harmonious coexistence in promoting their social contribution programs.
Another important theme is respect for people. Figures in this regard have further improved as seen in child-rearing paid leave, Special Warm Heart leave, other paid leaves, the percentage of female managers and the like, which indicate the extent to which diversity and employees' work-life balance are promoted. These improvements are highly commendable. Additionally, the ISO 26000 released in November 2010 places emphasis on human rights. In this regard, I need to add, Mazda makes efforts in close cooperation with its Group companies and suppliers in Japan and abroad, as stated in the present report.
Lastly, I need to mention that the present report has improved in terms of CSR communications. In Third-Party Opinion in last year's report, I pointed out that the online and booklet versions carried overlapping information.
This year the booklet version is a digest with significantly fewer pages from the WEB version, with distinct features and roles shared between the two versions provided through different media. Moreover, the present report elaborately provides feature articles and heading pages to present Mazda's efforts in the form of employees' voices. These pages let the readers understand the thoughts of people working in the Mazda Group when they communicate with their stakeholders. These points prove that there has been steadfast progress since the previous report.
Generally speaking, it is difficult to accurately verify the effects of communications, let alone CSR communications.
However, since some 80% of automobile CO2 emissions are attributable to user processes ranging from driving to disposal, the significance of CSR communications lies in encouraging customers, by presenting relevant information, to take environmentally conscious actions, as well as in increasing Mazda's CSR brand value by communicating the Mazda Group's CSR activities to their stakeholders. In addressing further improvement challenges, Mazda could develop greater awareness that improved communications will eventually lead to global environmental protection through actions on the part of their customers.
In Third-Party Opinion last year, I suggested that Mazda could report more on their activities outside Japan and find ways to improve their CSR communications. Both of these have seen substantial improvement. However, there are some remaining issues. The Mazda Group is a global business organization, with nine overseas production sites and over 80% of its vehicle sales outside Japan.
Although this year's report lists many overseas environmental and social approaches, some environmental data and data on employees' work-life balance and diversity are limited to the domestic sphere. In the next fiscal year's report, I would like to see a further exposition on these points, reporting from the Company's overseas business regions.
Regarding CSR communications, Mazda could view the renewal in the present report as a chance to start the efforts of verifying Mazda's CSR communications, to reveal, for example, where, how and who are using the booklet and WEB versions of the Sustainability Report. It is also important for the Company to ensure that its entire supply chain strengthens CSR communications, for example by constantly having the booklet version of the Sustainability Report at least available at each domestic dealer outlet.
I would like to mention one mid-term challenge, which is to describe the Mazda Group's current approaches, setting objectives in line with the seven key ISO 26000 themes shown in the table of contents of the present report. Regarding specific tasks identified through the above process, I would be pleased to see Mazda achieve stakeholder engagement, where the Company meets various challenges in cooperation with its stakeholders.