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Stakeholder Dialogue 2007
At ITOCHU Corporation, continuing from the last year, we staged the 2nd Stakeholder Dialogue on June 6, 2007. We invited five eminent panelists representing various groups of stakeholders to come together for dialogue with President Kobayashi and other members of our management on global issues and ITOCHU's social role.
This year's dialogue consists of two parts for three-hour discussion.
At the 1st part of dialogue, “ITOCHU's method and substance of CSR Promotion initiatives” was the theme, and the representatives from 7 division companies and Administrative Headquarter made brief presentations, and asked the panelists for their opinions regarding this matter.
For the 2nd part of dialogue, we had lively discussions about a variety of global issues, themed on “Global Issues and Role of ITOCHU Group.”
|June 6, 2007 13:00~16:00|
|ITOCHU Corporation Tokyo Headquarters|
Insights and Proposals from Panelists
The crisis of global warming
- The risks of climate change are now business risks, and it is crucial for companies to figure out how to turn what are risks for them into opportunities, and link this to solution of global warming
- Trading firms will be asked to continue having the same enriching effect as ever without moving merchandise as far as possible.
- Environmental problems are directly connected to the question of how to fulfill our responsibility to future generations.
Higher awareness of social issues
- The global issues include not just environmental problems but also social issues such as poverty, healthcare, education and human rights.
- When undertaking development, it is important to ascertain the extent to which checks and evaluations have been made of impacts on the environment and human beings.
- In undertaking development projects, it will become part of the social need to listen from various perspectives to the opinions of stakeholders with diverse interests, to be checked by third parties, and to give due consideration for the environment and society.
CSR supply chain management in “sogo shosha”
- Trading firms have the ability to get a firm grasp of the entire spectrum in the supply chain. Therefore, they need to disclose information on the environmental impact, human rights violation (because of labor conditions), and other problems occurring in the process of production, and bridge the upstream and downstream ends of the supply chain
- One of the core functions of trading firms is trading. After all, trading amounts to a supply chain. Division Companies have a priority to work on the supply chain management.
Diversity of CSR perspectives
- Overseas, CSR is viewed in terms of a way of working. People would look at the procedure, such as human resource utilization and material procurement, and focus on the methodology of how such arrangements should be changed.
- Trading firms do their business globally, coming into contact with all sorts of sense of values; therefore, it is needed for them to consider how trading firms should operate under such different values.
Food, water, and energy issues in Japan
- Global trading firms based in Japan have a vital role to play in addressing matters concerning security in Japanese society, such as the country's supply of food, water, and energy. They need to regard the issue as their own key tasks.
ITOCHU's CSR action plans
- The policy of having each Division Company set targets and go through the PDCA cycle is a very good one. In the PDCA reports, there must be clearer statements of the problems resulting from the execution, the tasks for the future, and the reasons why efforts cannot be continued if that is the case.
- ITOCHU's methodology for CSR promotion activities makes an excellent model of CSR management to be applied to the Division Company System. The resolve to take sure action on environmental problems was expressed, but it seemed that social issues were not recognized enough as tasks to be addressed.
- New standards of value should be incorporated into the CSR activities. As social requirements are changing, these changes should be recognized and reflected in the action plans.
- The CSR Report appears to be composed of bits and pieces of what is common knowledge among Japanese consumers. Since trading companies have detailed information on many parts of the world, it would be better to furnish information unavailable in Japan.
- Given its character as a trading firm, which is a global company essentially, it is vital for trading companies to bear in mind that, once it steps outside Japan, it is liable to encounter CSR perspectives profoundly different from those in Japanese society.
Reflections on the Dialogue
Senior managing Director and Chief Administrative Officer
This year, we engaged in dialogue with authorities active in various fields on the subject of global issues and the role of the ITOCHU Group. I think it served to shed more light on what we must do as a “sogo shosha” in the context of our global corporate activities.
In our supply chain, we are going to steadily implement organized and systematic initiatives on the human rights and labor problems pointed out by the participants.
Bearing fully in mind the multifaceted nature of CSR, including the different perceptions between Japan and other countries, in our CSR promotion activities, we intend to continue deepening communication with our diverse stakeholders and practicing management that demonstrates concern for their interests.
Because the panelists gave us precious advice on the substance of the CSR action plans prepared by our organization units, we will take a very close look at their observations and hope to heighten the level of the plans themselves in the future.
For the detailed discussions in the dialogue, please refer to the pages of Stakeholder Dialogue in CSR Report 2007.