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Third-Party Opinion

Third-Party Opinion

Makiko Akabane
Director
CSR Asia Japan Office

I would like to share the following third-party opinion about the CSR activities and the related information disclosure of Mazda Motor Corporation and its Group companies in Japan and other countries, in view of the Mazda Sustainability Report 2014, a plant tour and the exchange of opinions at the Head Office


Mazda has steadily implemented the Structural Reform Plan, which reinforces the framework for medium- and long-term initiatives with FY March 2016 as the target year, and has already achieved positive results. With the development of SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY, Mazda has produced significant achievements in technology, product design, and environmental and safety performances. The Company has also achieved cost improvements through its Monotsukuri Innovation.
Of special note in the Mazda Sustainability Report 2014 is a detailed description of Mazda's efforts toward brand value-focused business management. In 1920, Mazda was founded in Hiroshima, the prefecture that produced many number of emigrants from Japan, located in the Chugoku region where more than half of domestic iron had been produced until modern times. Nurtured in a prefecture imbued with a frontier can-do spirit as well as an innovative manufacturing spirit, Mazda resumed the production of three-wheeled trucks a mere four months after the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. Mazda has a proud history of imparting great courage and hope to the people. With 2020 marking the centennial anniversary of its founding, Mazda has started to place stronger emphasis on communicating Mazda's heritage and brand values, including these great spirits.
Mazda's can-do spirit and outstanding creativity have been highly recognized throughout the world. The Company was selected as one of the top three finalists in the 2013 and 2014 World Car Design of the Year for two consecutive years, accomplishing a remarkable first for a Japanese company. This clearly demonstrates that Mazda is a company that can break molds and patterns and make concerted efforts toward new heights from its unique perspective, rather than following its competitors.
Mazda, as a global company based in Hiroshima, has conducted business activities in more than 120 countries around the world. The Company now manufactures more than 70% of its products in Japan, but is planning to increase its overseas production ratio to 50% in the near future. Here, I have some advice for Mazda to further enhance its presence as a global company and hold a prestigious position on the global stage.

  • The Mazda Sustainability Report 2014 carries detailed and comprehensive information on the Company's CSR activities in Japan. It is recommended that the Company place more emphasis on reporting its CSR activities in overseas countries. For example, it has held various education and training programs for its employees in Japan to enhance their awareness of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility. However, there is little information on what kind of CSR-related training has been provided for its employees abroad. The U.S. is the largest market for Mazda in terms of vehicle sales. Detailed descriptions of the kinds of efforts Mazda has been making to enhance local customer satisfaction and what results have been obtained thus far would make the Report more appealing to readers abroad. I think effective communication of both strategic business activities and CSR activities would help enhance Mazda's presence as a global player.
  • Mazda's new plant MMVO (Mazda de Mexico Vehicle Operation) in Mexico commenced operations in January 2014. It is worthy to note that MMVO is Mexico's first automotive plant to obtain an environmental license from the Mexican government before the start of production. In other words, it means that since the early days of construction of the plant, Mazda has paid special attention to environmental protection through repeated dialogues with local residents. Mazda's other efforts in Mexico include the protection of habitats of migratory birds and active involvement in the maintenance and management of rainwater drainage systems in the area surrounding the new plant. It can be said that these activities are model cases of stakeholder engagement. However, it is regrettable that in the Report there is no mention of Mazda's efforts abroad to protect the environment, including air and water pollution control, in areas surrounding the Company's plants abroad other than MMVO. Environmental pollution is usually a matter of serious concern for people living in the neighborhood of manufacturing plants. It is hoped that data on air and water pollution statuses in areas around the Company's plants abroad will be publicly disclosed in the same way as in Japan.
  • Mazda, which operates in many parts of the world, has been committed to promoting communications with local communities by creating a position responsible for social contribution activities at major production sites and regional operation companies abroad, conducting diverse activities that meet local needs, and proactively disclosing information on such activities. Mazda's social contribution activities are underpinned by the three pillars of environment and safety performance, human resources development, and community contributions. However, Mazda has adopted less restrictive rules in foreign countries and regions where the Company operates so that it can meet local needs more flexibly. Now, a general trend of social contribution activities among global businesses is to identify global issues to be resolved with the power and capability of a global company and to tackle such issues on a global level. I hope that as a global company, Mazda will also identify global issues the Company can help resolve and tackle such issues with Group-wide efforts around the world.

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