Mr. Kokubu is Professor of the Graduate School of Business Administration, Kobe University. He completed his PhD in Business Administration from Osaka City University. He was Dean of the Graduate School of Business Administration, Kobe University from 2014 to 2016 and has been Vice President of Kobe University since 2019 and the director of V.School, Kobe University since 2020. Mr. Kokubu is Chairman of MFCA Forum Japan and Chair of ISO/TC207/WG8. He has published many books and articles including Beyond Accountability toward Management Ethics (Yuhikaku Publishing Co., Ltd.), and Emergent-type Responsibility Management (Nikkei Publishing, Inc.).
As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread around the world, social priorities, values, and ways of life have been forced to change. It seems that a reformation has begun to sort out what is truly necessary and essential in society. The Kurita Group, which is engaged in the water business, is becoming increasingly important as a company that underpins social infrastructure. As such, society looks to the Kurita Group to remain a viable business. Even in the midst of the pandemic, the Group was able to continue supplying customers with the water treatment solutions they rely on without shutting down its business. The Group is currently undergoing major changes, reassessing the management resources at its disposal and the value it can provide to society. As the COVID-19 crisis has further driven the use of digital technology in the workplace and the shift to remote work, I believe the Group is transforming itself into a company that can flourish in a new era.
The Kurita Group has realigned its organization and revised its performance evaluation standards, positioning the value it provides to society through its customers as its top priority. What the Group provides to society is not only products such as water treatment chemicals and facilities. What is more important is the value that customers derive from using these products, which is provided to society through co-creation with customers. This way of thinking, which is also a special characteristic of its business, is well-suited to pursuing the mission of the SDGs and realizing a sustainable society. The Group has created a system to translate its inherent value into concrete outcomes, which has been widely recognized as its efforts to put such thinking into practice.
Fiscal 2020 marks the second year of the MVP-22 medium-term management plan. The Group has put a framework in place for the business processes needed to realize the Value Creation model to guide the Group toward its vision for the future. The Group is also making steady progress toward achieving its targets for the seven material issues in the plan for fiscal 2023. In particular, with regard to the themes for growth opportunities, the Group is aiming to reduce water, energy, and waste by linking these targets to its core businesses and has achieved its fiscal 2023 targets ahead of schedule. New, higher targets have now been set. The Group is also promoting internal activities, such as conducting Scope 3 initiatives and considering measures to reduce them. Kurita’s CSV business, which is defined as creating and evaluating shared value in partnership with customers, has been positioned as a key measure under MVP-22, and is expected to expand in the future.
The Group’s Sustainability Report contains a wealth of information on systems for promoting CSR management, operational status, and outcomes. It also introduces case studies of co-creating value with customers, which will help readers understand the report. In the future, I think the report will be even easier to understand if it can show how employees, who are the Group’s most important stakeholders, perceive and act on the philosophy and values of the Group. I also look forward to being provided with information on interactions with employees and other stakeholders.
We have conducted a basic check of the collection of environmental performance data, and found it to be free of material errors.
Response to Third-Party Opinion
Executive Senior Managing
Director and Representative Director
Executive General Manager of Corporate
Planning and Control Division
Chairperson of the E&S Committee
I would like to thank Professor Kokubu for sharing his valuable opinion.
Fiscal 2020, the second year of the MVP-22 medium-term management plan, was a year in which the Kurita Group moved forward with CSR-centered management. By reinforcing the CSV business initiatives that contribute significantly to the achievement of the targets and goals identified in SDGs agenda, we were able to meet some of our targets in our CSR Policy for fiscal 2023 ahead of schedule. In addition to setting higher targets, we also revised other targets, aiming for even greater effectiveness. Also, from the perspective of enhancing Group sustainability, we have newly ascertained Scope 3 emissions, which is a basis for tackling climate change issues, and have begun to consider value creation processes based on integrated thinking.
On the other hand, as Professor Kokubu pointed out, we have recognized the need to further enhance dialogue with stakeholders. The Kurita Group has positioned information obtained through stakeholder engagement as an important reference point for rethinking our CSR initiatives. In fiscal 2020, we revamped our customer satisfaction survey and conducted an employee happiness and well-being survey for the first time. Based on these initiatives, we will further deepen engagement with the customers who are our CSV partners, as well as employees who are the foundation of our value creation, with the aim of deepening and evolving our CSR initiatives.
The COVID-19 crisis reminded both officers and employees of the Kurita Group that the products, technologies, and services the Group provides to its customers are essential for them to continue their business, and that customers expect the Group to create even greater value. We will continue to expand the CSR initiatives that form the basis of our value creation, as we strive to realize our corporate philosophy.