Special Feature: Place ESG at the Core of Management

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Special Feature: Place ESG at the Core of Management

Around the world, initiatives to find solutions to social challenges including sustainable development goals (SDGs) are picking up pace. In line with this, expectations are rising for corporations. For the creation of a sustainable society, it is critical to continuously build social value while companies themselves grow by offering such solutions. For companies, this is why it is of ever-greater importance to gain a precise grasp of opportunities and risks that take into consideration ESG concerns, and to reflect such insights into management initiatives.
In April 2018, the Mitsui Chemicals Group newly established the Corporate Sustainability Division as an expression of our commitment to advance triple bottom line (economic, environmental, and social) management, and position ESG concerns at the heart of our sustainability management efforts. The objective of this division is to integrate the elements of ESG into management and business strategies, while strengthening the disclosure of ESG-related information to all of our stakeholders.

Sustainability in the Mitsui Chemicals Group

With sights fixed on the global ESG issues set forth in SDGs and other initiatives, the Mitsui Chemicals Group aims to achieve sustainable development for itself and society through the following efforts.

  • Work to discover business opportunities, and to find solutions to problems through our business activities
  • Recognize future risks while fulfilling its social responsibility as a corporate group

Issues to Address

Incorporate ESG elements in the Group’s management and strategies

  • Reflect ESG elements in strategic discussions and management at Board of Directors’ and Group-wide Strategy Committee meetings
  • Generate opportunities and advance innovation that involve business as well as R&D operations

Improve the disclosure of ESG information

  • Increase appeal to customers as well as investment and corporate sustainability rating agencies
  • Deepen ESG dialogue

Incorporate ESG elements in the Group’s management and strategies

Undertaking sustainable management requires the promotion of innovation with an understanding that SDGs and other long-term social challenges are to be approached as business opportunities. Together with this, it is important to mitigate future risks and to heighten management resilience.
Positioning ESG as a core theme of our sustainability management issues, we will deliberate the direction to take at Board of Directors’ meetings, Corporate Sustainability Committee and other venues, and move forward on applying this to strategies at each division. Within this, we will deepen deliberations with business and R&D departments so as to actively expand Blue Value and Rose Value products that contribute to the environment and society, as is defined as key performance indicators (KPIs) in our 2025 Long-term Business Plan.
In addition, in order to link ESG initiatives to the specific activities of each and every employee, it is essential that all of us become aware of just how important ESG is and transform our consciousness so as to think from the perspective of social challenges. To this end we are promoting discussions about ESG at each division, as well as activities such as social challenge workshops, laterally throughout our organization.

Improve the disclosure of ESG information

Amidst the rising importance of non-financial including ESG information, we strive to disclose useful information for our stakeholders, namely shareholders and investors, customers and others. We disclose information from both the risk and opportunity perspectives. This includes, for example, consideration of the impact our business activities have on the environment and society, initiatives aimed at solving social challenges, and the development of human resources who form the well-spring of sustainable value creation.
In addition, as an opportunity for dialogue, we hold IR meetings with regard to ESG for institutional investors and analysts. At the same time as briefing them on our initiatives, we seriously listen to their opinions, and work to improve how we reflect them to management and our disclosure of information.

Dialogue: Yukiko Kuroda, Outside Director ×Corporate Sustainability Division

Outside Director

Yukiko Kuroda
Outside Director
Director and Founder of People Focus Consulting Co., Ltd.

The Mitsui Chemicals Group set up the Corporate Sustainability Division and will strengthen sustainability management from an ESG perspective. With this in mind, we asked outside director, Yukiko Kuroda, for her thoughts on how the Group should go about targeting sustainable growth.

Corporate Sustainability Division

What are your thoughts on the Group’s initiatives?

Yukiko Kuroda

The concept of sustainability that also encompass ESG concerns has already been thoroughly incorporated into Mitsui Chemicals’ Corporate Mission and triple bottom line management approach as well as its 2025 Long-term Business Plan. I very much hope that the Corporate Sustainability Division will function in a way that substantively advances sustainability management while increasing the effectiveness of the Group’s efforts to address ESG concerns.

While it may take some time to increase awareness and incorporate ESG concerns into the Group’s business activities, I would like to see the Division proceed as quickly as possible. As the concept is understood by each organization within the Group, incorporated into targets and evaluations, and promoted through specific measures, I am confident that sustainability management will gather momentum.

Corporate Sustainability Division

We are looking to promote various measures in a bid to increase awareness. This includes lectures by experts and workshops. Our goal is for the Mitsui Chemical Group to adopt a concept that is based on social challenges.

Yukiko Kuroda

Incorporating an approach that draws on ideas that spring from social challenges for creating new products in conjunction with the R&D Division is in my opinion extremely effective. In order to promote this approach, one method is to logically break down social challenges from an SDG perspective, and to determine what the Group can do to assist in resolving each challenge. I believe that one further method is to move closer to frontline social challenges as well as the needs of each individual within society and to link the affinities that emerge to new ideas.

Numerous products that contribute to society already exist. From the outside world, however, it is difficult to ascertain exactly what the chemical industry is doing to address social challenges. With this in mind, it is important for the Group to better visualize its contributions to society, and to present its initiatives in an easy to understand manner both internally and externally.

Corporate Sustainability Division

Blue Value and Rose Value have been created based on this concept. We plan to ramp up efforts aimed at distributing information and increasing awareness.

Yukiko Kuroda

Rather than settle for a sales ratio target of 30%, I would like the Group to raise the bar even higher for Blue Value and Rose Value products.

Despite the difficulties involved, I think it is also important to somehow numerically visualize the impact on society in a manner other than sales. For example, it would be good if through the use of Blue Value products, reductions achieved and improvements made were identified.

Corporate Sustainability Division

In closing, what are your expectations of the Group?

Yukiko Kuroda

Corporate sustainability that incorporates ESG concerns differs from the conventional notion of corporate social responsibility. Looking beyond simply contributing to society, it entails the injection of management resources that will also lead to corporate sustainable growth in concert with society. For this reason, it does not mean that anything is acceptable so long as it benefits society.

In order for the Mitsui Chemicals Group to continue as a going concern to 2025 and beyond, it is important to question what investments need to be made, what goals should be pursued, and what direction the Group should take. I would hope that each and every employee would see this as an opportunity and think seriously about the path they need to follow.

The very fact that these discussions are taking place is in my opinion a step in the right direction. Moving forward, I would like to promote discussions regarding sustainability in the Mitsui Chemicals Group by raising ESG themes at outside director study groups.

Corporate Sustainability Division

We would very much like to receive comments and opinions from a wide variety of angles and to increase the effectiveness of Group’s sustainability management, which include ESG initiatives. Our goal is to secure sustainable growth in both social and corporate value.

Yukiko Kuroda, Outside director and members of the Corporate Sustainability Division
(From left: Yoshiyuki Itoh; Ken Migita, General Manager; Yukiko Kuroda, outside director; and Reiko Abe)
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