We have edited CSR Report 2016 to serve as an easily understood and trustworthy report, on the basis of information disclosure policies. So that we may hear objective opinions with the aim of creating a better report, we requested a third-party review from Mr. Tomohiro Tokura of SGS Japan Inc.
Third-Party Review of CSR Report 2016
CSR Report 2016 reports on the establishment of a structure with three outside directors as a way to strengthen governance. In interviews, I was told about the aims of the organization in constructing this structure, and how the competencies of the outside directors are well matched. The reasons for the selection of each are reported on the website as well, within the Corporate Governance Report. In addition, while not mentioned in the report, the Vice Chairman's inclusion in the Board of Directors as the Representative Director, while remaining separate from corporate officers, can be considered as a strengthening of governance. These initiatives can be viewed as a strengthening of structures for the assurance of organizational transparency and the continuation of sound management, and also as leading to the earning of stakeholder trust, through the construction of solid governance to which the Message from the President is also committed.
With regard to initiatives aimed at preventing the recurrence of violations of anti-trust law overseas, which were discussed in last year's report, CSR Report 2016 notes that seminars on awareness of competition law and audits of overseas subsidiaries have been conducted. The Message from the President emphasizes that the awareness of each and every employee is important, and reports on the continuing implementation of training to strengthen compliance.
The greeting campaign, considered a basic of communication, is being conducted this year as well. Communication with all stakeholders is required for social responsibility, and beneficial mutual relationships also lead to compliance. I believe they are also a fundamental for strengthening the organization. I hope that the company will continue the greeting campaign as well as the creation of an open and positive corporate culture.
The report notes that the company also provides support for the construction of environmental management systems (EMSs) by suppliers. In addition to these, the company conducts support activities such as holding seminars on occupational health and safety management and quality control techniques, and demonstrates an attitude that places importance on mutually beneficial relationships with suppliers. I believe that these activities lead to improvements in quality, and, like the greeting campaign, lead to the strengthening of governance and compliance through the construction of beneficial relationships. I hope to see these, too, carried out on a continuing basis.
The reporting on environmental aspects is very thorough every year. I find that its content, which includes information in figures and graphs, targets and results, and past background information, facilitates understanding the state of changes in the organization and making comparisons. At the same time, the report contains little detailed data or information on initiatives concerning issues other than the environment, an area lacking in ease of understanding for stakeholders. The competencies of outside directors, which I mentioned earlier as an example, is expressed in abstract terms in the report; accordingly, I had to find additional information on the website. I understand that the report is limited in space and further risks losing focus if it offers too much information, and that these considerations influence the existing content. However, the completeness of information other than that concerning the environment, such as the provision of links to related information on the website, remains as an issue.
In recent years, many items contained in questionnaires, such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI), request verification of environmental data. This means that many investors are seeking third-party verification of the accuracy of report data. Given the strengthening of such demands toward globally active corporations like NGK SPARK PLUG Group, especially from investors, I hope to see data communicated after undergoing third-party verification in the future.
* This comment renders no judgment on whether the data presented in the report is accurately measured and calculated and is free from omissions, in accordance with standards for the preparation of environmental and other reports generally deemed to be fair and reasonable.
On Receiving the Third-Party Review
I would like to express my gratitude to Mr. Tokura for his valuable advice concerning our CSR Report 2016. We have requested the opinion of Mr. Tokura for four consecutive years now, and feel weight in his comments that draw on observation of changes in our company over that time.
Again this year, we have compiled our CSR Report with the desire to show our company without embellishment to all of the varied stakeholders who hold expectations for us.
The demands placed on companies by society are growing year by year, including demands for corporate governance. I believe we must avoid an attitude that sees the creation of mechanisms and structures as the finish, and must rather display a stance accompanied by effectiveness.
I ask for frank comments on whether we have succeeded with this report in communicating information that meets stakeholders' expectations.
This year, 2016, marks the 80th year since our founding. We will strive to continue as a company that earns people's trust even further into the future, through CSR activities conducted in line with your comments and expectations.
General Manager, Risk Management Department, Corporate Strategy Group
NGK SPARK PLUG CO., LTD.