Third-Party Opinion

As she did last year, Makiko Akabane again shares her opinion on the CSR activities of Mazda Motor Corporation and its Group companies in Japan and other countries, as well as information disclosure regarding their CSR activities, in view of the Mazda Sustainability Report 2015 and the exchange of opinions at the Head Office.

Makiko Akabane
CSR Asia Japan Office

Since 2013, Mazda has been fully promoting efforts toward brand value-focused business management. In April 2015, the Company evolved its “Brand Philosophy,” which all Mazda Group employees should follow, into a “Corporate Vision.” This makes me feel Mazda’s determination to penetrate the following idea among employees: “We envision cars existing sustainably with the earth and society, and we will continue to tackle challenges with creative ideas.” The aim is that they will reflect this idea into their daily business activities, as well as to further enhance Mazda’s brand value through its relationships with stakeholders, and to have Mazda transform itself.

This determination of Mazda is well reflected in its CSR efforts. First, the Company began to carry out a stakeholder survey in FY March 2014. This is an effort to interview stakeholders outside the Company, especially business partners, about how employees of the Company act and work, with the hope that this will lead to continuous improvements. In addition, as for what should be improved based on my previous year’s “Third-Party Opinion” and the comments from CSR experts both at home and abroad, the Company has accepted them with sincerity, has begun with what they can improve, and has continued its steady efforts. I feel that this clearly indicates Mazda’s sincere attitude in that the Company accepts opinions from its stakeholders with good grace and always aims to transform itself, rather than compromising its present status.

Moreover, Mazda is brave enough to disclose information on certain activities, even though these activities have not yet generated sufficient results. I feel that this approach well represents the Company’s spirit of “We will continue to tackle challenges.” A good example of this is the disclosure of a specific process regarding materiality. The Company presented information on four steps, including steps that had already been taken, as well as on the future course of action. Furthermore, the industry-academia-government cooperation initiative in Hiroshima, which is described in the new chapter “Innovation,” has been launched only recently and has not yet generated sufficient achievements. Nevertheless, the Company has disclosed information on the launch of the cooperation. Compared with foreign companies, Japanese companies in general are too cautious about disclosing information, based on a corporate culture in which they believe that they should disclose information only after generating sufficient outcomes. As a result, the advantages of being a first-mover are unlikely to be generated. However, Mazda tries to disclose that the Company is now working on certain efforts, as long as the efforts are advanced and positive.

Mazda, which continues to strive to evolve itself even after 95 years since its foundation, tries to increase its overseas production ratio, and to ensure growth together with local communities in the countries and regions where the Company operates. To do so, it is necessary to ensure that Mazda CSR is even more highly valued in foreign countries as well. I would like to recommend one thing to help realize this. It is to change communication methods so that readers around the world can understand Mazda CSR even more easily.

Presently, Mazda provides details on programs that the Company has implemented, However, readers all over the world would like to know not only what the Company has done, but also the problems that the Company is conscious of and that they still need to work on by implementing programs, as well as the value that has been generated as a result of the programs. In addition, the readers would also like to know what difficulties Mazda is facing now, and how the Company is trying to overcome them, because people will surely face difficulties whenever they try to work on something very serious. It is not necessary for a company to limit the contents of its sustainability report to simply introduce the programs that it has implemented. A sustainability report also serves as a good opportunity for a company to announce, for instance, that it is generating high value for society or that it is working on problems seriously, facing certain difficulties, or working even harder to generate wisdom. Mazda implements all its CSR programs in a down-to-earth style and in good faith. If the Company changes its communication methods so that it will live up to expectations from around the world, I am convinced that the Company will achieve further evolution.