CSR Basic Policy
Sumitomo Electric Group CSR Basic Policy
The Sumitomo Spirit, which gives top priority to social credibility and corporate ethics, is deeply instilled into the Sumitomo Electric Group. With the Sumitomo Spirit and the Sumitomo Electric Group Corporate Principles serving as the basic value standards that guide us, “Multi-Stakeholder Capitalism” serving as the basic concept and governance, risk management and compliance serving as the foundations, we will perform business activities based on them to create social values and contribute to a better society and environment.
In conjunction with the formulation of the new “Mid-term Management Plan 2025” in fiscal 2023, we revised some of our CSR core categories. With environmental preservation, human rights, human resources, social contribution, quality and supply chain as the new CSR core categories, we set major targets, including KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for fiscal 2025 and will work to achieve them.
We will engage in steady CSR activities while continuing to fulfill social responsibilities and building good relationships with stakeholders, as we aim to achieve our vision of becoming a “Glorious Excellent Company.”
The Origin of CSR
The Sumitomo Spirit encompasses the concept of corporate social responsibility.
The origin of Sumitomo dates back more than 400 years, with the Sumitomo Spirit serving as the underlying philosophy of its business operations. This corporate spirit advocates two business principles stated in the Rules Governing the House of Sumitomo established in 1882: “placing prime importance on integrity and sound management” and “pursuing profits by coping efficiently with changing times, while refraining from acting rashly and carelessly in pursuit of immediate temporary profits.” This spirit also embraces other traditional principles that have been passed down over generations, such as “attaching importance to technology,” “respect for human resources,” “long-range planning,” and “mutual prosperity, respect for the public good.”
Approximately one hundred years ago, Teigo Iba, the second Director General of Sumitomo, decided to relocate a copper smelting works in Besshi copper mine to an uninhabited island in the Seto Inland Sea, as a drastic solution to air pollution caused by sulfur dioxide gas generated from the refinery. A huge sum of money was invested in the relocation. Moreover, Iba started a reforestation project in the mountains of Besshi, which had been devastated by years of mining operations. To restore the natural environment, one million trees were planted every year. The third Sumitomo Director General, Masaya Suzuki, and his successors followed in Iba’s footsteps. Tree-planting activities became nationwide efforts. In 1939, a desulfurization and neutralization plant was constructed to offer an ultimate solution to cut smoke pollution.
The Sumitomo Spirit, which underlies these actions by successive directors, has been passed down from generation to generation as a common property of the Sumitomo Group, and shares common traits with the concept of CSR, which is today’s corporate buzzword.
Since its founding, Sumitomo Electric has consistently pursued business activities in harmony with society.
We at Sumitomo Electric have also upheld the Sumitomo Spirit as a basis of management. Since its founding in 1897, the Company has pursued harmony with society at all times and has carried out responsible business activities.
For instance, Sumitomo Electric fulfilled its corporate responsibility when the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Tokyo in 1923. Plants of electric wire manufacturers based in the Kanto region were devastated because of the earthquake, and prices of industrial materials such as copper increased sharply. As a key manufacturer capable of supplying electrical wires and cables, materials indispensable to post-quake reconstruction, we fulfilled our responsibility by offering these products at the same prices as before the disaster.
Even in labor-management relations, the Company maintains these corporate principles of attaching importance to trust above all things and contributing to society in all circumstances. Learning lessons from the 1921 labor dispute, we decided to hold in-depth discussions between management and the union on any issue. By keeping subsequent agreements by all means, we have built a solid relationship of mutual confidence. As a result, we have never experienced another labor dispute up to today. To ensure sound corporate management, we make it a rule not to engage in speculative investments, such as the acquisition of real estates unrelated to our business operations. This policy has never been shaken even during the period of the Japanese economic bubble in the late 1980s.
Sumitomo Electric Group CSR Promotion System
Based on our Basic Policy on Sustainability Management, the Group has established the Sustainability Management Promotion Committee, chaired by the president. It receives reports from each committee on related initiatives, discusses policies, and offers advice so that the initiatives will be carried out in a consistent manner.
The CSR Promotion Committee is chaired by the officer in charge of CSR and consists of members elected from divisions in charge of CSR-related areas. As the Group’s main body of CSR promotion, it cooperates with the Environment Management Promotion Council and the Human Resources and D&I Promotion Council to implement company-wide activities by reflecting our management policy more strongly than before.
Relationships with Stakeholders
The unchanging basic policy of the Sumitomo Electric Group is to contribute to society through fair business activities based on “the Sumitomo Spirit” and “the Sumitomo Electric Group Corporate Principles.”
Adhering to this basic philosophy, we aim to achieve sustainable growth and enhance corporate value of the Group over the medium to long term as well as to steadily return the results to all of its stakeholders as a going concern based on the concept of “Multistakeholder Capitalism” which focusing on contributing to the public benefit and mutual prosperity with all of our stakeholders. We thus work to ensure and enhance the transparency and fairness of management based on proper corporate governance.
Overview of Key Tools and Activities for Engaging with our Stakeholders
The Sumitomo Electric Group recognizes that our operations are supported by a range of stakeholders including “customers,” “employees,” “suppliers,” “regional communities,” and “shareholders/investors,” and that it is mandatory to strive to build appropriate cooperative relationships with stakeholders while taking their interests into consideration in order to achieve sustainable growth and enhance corporate value of the Group over the medium to long term as well as to steadily return the results to all of our stakeholders as a going concern.