* All affiliations and titles are of those at the time of publishing the CSR Report 2010.
Mr. Susumu Akiyama
Principle Consulting Inc.
I believe that global companies need to meet the following three requirements if they really want to foster their compliance management:
(1)Clarify the values to be shared beyond national boundaries and localize these values in consideration of the specific features of each local area and business operation.
(2)Ensure that employees understand and always behave in line with the values at their workplaces.
(3)Review the values on a regular basis and make improvements.
AGC Group seems to already meet these three formal requirements for global compliance management, because (1) it has a code of conduct that is applied on a global scale; (2) it provides employees in various regions with many learning opportunities in consideration of local circumstances; and (3) it is working to improve its reporting flows and to enhance its internal audit system.
I, however, can not see whether the Group is committed to global compliance management in a true sense. I do not either know whether their human resources really behave in line with the corporate code of conduct or whether the Group has enough ability to deal with problems such as quality-related problems through group-wide cooperation beyond national and organizational boundaries. Although I admit that AGC Group seems to be on an advanced level with regard to compliance management, I still hold the abovementioned concerns. If, however, the Group is prepared and ready to address these concerns appropriately, I will admit that it is indeed an excellent corporate group both in name and reality. With great expectations, I look forward to seeing how AGC Group will develop itself in the future.
The AGC Group has been continuously implementing compliance measures. In this report, we have introduced the specific details of our compliance awareness activities/education implemented globally and also in each country and region.
Graduate School of Business
Administration, Kobe University
The most striking feature of AGC Group's environmental management is that the Group shows how it approaches environmental management in its “Aspirations for 2020,” which represent our top commitment, and the Group is implementing specific measures to fulfill the aspirations. AGC Group defines environmental management not simply as implementing environmental conservation activities but as an essential part of its business management. In light of this, we can expect that AGC Group will conduct environmental management in a steadier and more substantial manner in the future.
In particular, it should be highly evaluated that the Group is implementing a range of initiatives to “Deliver technology solutions for climate change.” It is especially important that they are working to improve the energy efficiency of their own manufacturing processes and transportation activities in addition to providing society with environmentally friendly products. Companies can succeed in environmental management only when they implement measures for both their products and processes. People tend to pay attention only to ecofriendly products but if a company really wants to reduce its environmental impact, it needs to implement comprehensive measures not only for its products but also for processes. AGC Group's activities are indeed appreciable in this point, too. It also merits noting that the Group promises to continue making investments in environmental R&D on the page of environmental accounting in this report. Such R&D would indeed contribute to the fulfillment of the Group's social responsibilities.
AGC Group has also made improvements in environmental management using the AGC Environmental Indicator and Asahi Glass has achieved zero emissions on an unconsolidated basis. In the future, I suggest that AGC Group could focus more on improvements made through the innovations of its manufacturing processes. I expect that the Group will increase its resource productivity as a whole and build and show a corporate model for the solution for climate change instead of simply showing end-of-pipe-style information.
The AGC Group has been continuing the activities to conserve energy in its manufacturing processes. In this report, we have introduced the activities we are conducting to contribute to solving climate change issues at our plants in each country and region.
Department of Computer
Science, Meiji University
For companies to foster their occupational health and safety activities, it is essential that they improve the effectiveness of risk assessment (RA) in implementing their occupational health and safety management systems (OHSMS). RA should be carried out in each of the design, installation, and use phases of mechanical equipment and it is especially important to conduct RA in the design and installation phases. In the past, RA was mainly carried out in the use phase, but in fact RA should be performed without fail in the design and installation phases as well, and the information obtained in these phases should be communicated to the next phase.
AGC Group attributes importance to RA in the implementation of its OHSMS and promotes RA not only in the use phase but also in the design and installation phases. This is indeed a pioneering approach. Moreover, starting in fiscal 2010, the Group will mandate RA in the design phase of equipment to be delivered to the Group by external companies, which is a noteworthy approach that will bear a great impact on mechanical safety in Japan. I expect that the Group will “visualize” the information obtained from RA in the design, installation, and use phases of equipment and appropriately communicate the visualized information to build a safety culture and provide safer workplaces as a manufacturing company that leads others in terms of mechanical safety.
In order to ensure the effectiveness of RA conducted in the design, installation, and use phases, it is also important to provide enough training to those in charge of RA. In particular, for a global company like AGC, it would be necessary to establish a common training system for all employees working in different countries and regions, who have different ideas and awareness levels about safety. It is great that AGC Group has adopted a qualified safety assessor system and will expand it to include cooperating companies in Japan and Group companies in Asia in the targets of the system. I hope that the Group will continue to make concerted efforts toward building an ever greater level of safety on a continual basis.
In regard to machinery safety, which the AGC Group has been promoting, we obtain information through the RA in the design of equipments, visualize this information and communicate it to the next process. In fiscal 2010, we began to impose mandatory machinery safety at the newly introduced equipments and expand machinery safety activities to Asia.
Ms. Kimiko Horii
President, NPO GEWEL
It is highly appreciable that AGC Group has a strong vision as a corporate group and clearly includes Diversity in its Our Shared Values. I strongly expect that the Group will show best practices to Japanese companies with regard to diversity. In fiscal 2009, the Group implemented measures to improve its work environment to enable all the employees to work with satisfaction and pride in their daily operations and to share mutual respect based on the value of diversity. I am pleased to know that to meet the aforementioned objective, the Group conducted activities from a global viewpoint such as by the utilization of employee satisfaction (ES) surveys and the advancement of its human resource development programs, as model cases that can be used by other Japanese companies. In my opinion, the Group has already reached a level of “inclusion (paying mutual respect and accepting their mutual differences)” beyond the level of “diversity (recognizing mutual differences)”.
AGC Group is now required to motivate individual employees to make further contributions to their company by paying more attention to intangible elements of diversity, such as differences in values, in addition to the tangible elements of diversity (nationality, gender, and handicaps). In this CSR report, the employment of retirees and people with disabilities, the employment and promotion of female employees, work-life balance, and support offered for balancing work and childcare/family care are covered. I expect that the Group will continue the activities which are prioritized from the viewpoints of improving diversity and inclusion and also in line with its management in 2010.
The AGC Group has been continuing its ES improvement activities making use of the ES survey. Also based on the Our People are Our Strength upheld in our management policy, we are promoting the utilization and development of global human resources.
Department of International Culture, Faculty of Cultural Policy and Management, Shizuoka University of Art and Culture
In the progress of globalization, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find Japanese companies that do not rely on the markets and labor forces of developing countries. Amid this trend, Japanese companies are now required to conduct CSR activities not only in Japan but also in developing countries and the activities need to be recognized by local people in a visible manner. Unfortunately, however, many Japanese companies tend to conduct CSR activities only in Japan, perhaps because they have faced difficulties in providing specific support to developing countries or in finding reliable NGOs to work with.
Companies with factories and offices in developing countries have more decisive reasons and also more possibilities to conduct CSR activities in those countries. In fact, AGC Group has already begun doing this ahead of others, and I would like the Group to continue to be a leader of Japanese companies in terms of CSR activities in developing countries.
The AGC Group has been conducting CSR activities including social contribution activities in cooperation with members of local communities, including NGOs. In this report, we have introduced a site dialogue held at our factory in Thailand as a specific example of such activities.
Mr. Eiichiro Adachi
Head of ESG Research Center
The Japan Research Institute, Ltd.
This CSR report is all-encompassing and appropriately communicates AGC Group's commitment to fulfilling its CSR through a PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, and Act) cycle and contributing to the global environment by the use of innovative technologies and products. I also highly appreciate that the Group has shown its future vision in its “Aspirations for 2020.”
The report, however, also clearly shows the challenges that AGC Group must meet to accomplish more in its CSR activities. AGC Group is a global corporate entity; on a consolidated basis, 73% of its employees work outside Japan and 53% of its sales are obtained outside the country. Moreover, it is reported that 29% of its outstanding shares are owned by non-Japanese entities such as foreign corporations. The Group therefore cannot show the whole picture of its activities or communicate all necessary information by only introducing its activities in Japan.
For example, with regard to AGC Group's greenhouse gas emissions, emissions in Japan account for only 27% of the total. Regarding the related environmental indicators, however, this report shows only unconsolidated data for Asahi Glass. The Group's greenhouse gas emissions per unit of sales in each of the regions outside Japan are double the amount in Japan, and I want to know what efforts the Group is making to reduce its emissions overseas as well as actual achievements. There are no comments about the Group's management of chemical substances in foreign countries in this report. Also for information about occupational accidents, the report says the Group has been tabulating data for the entire Group since 2007, but contains no information about the tabulation results. AGC Group has set the target of lowering its environmental indicator for greenhouse gases to below 1.3 after fiscal 2010, and I expect that it will build a globally integrated environmental management system to attain this target.
In the “Respect for People” chapter as well, the report seems to focus a bit too much on topics in Japan. It is true that human resource exchanges can provide a good starting point to increase diversity, but I think it is necessary for the Group to go as far as appointing the right person for the right job on a global scale if it wants to achieve diversity in a true sense. In the “Compliance” section, the report says that the Group received 404 inquiries and questions through its Help Lines and I am interested to know how many of them have led to actual improvements. The report also says the Group will implement measures to increase the awareness of “AGC Group Purchasing Policy” across the globe and I will monitor the progress regarding this matter. In the feature articles, green procurement efforts made by the In-house Companies are described. It is indeed important for these companies to foster green procurement across their supply chains, in view of the fact that the natural environment tends to be destroyed and human rights tend to be violated in a more conspicuous manner in the most upstream portion of a supply chain, for example when resources are exploited.
I expect AGC Group, which aspires to become an excellent global corporation entity that contributes to the growth of newly developing regions and also advocates diversity among its 50,000 employees as a core strength, to advance to the next stage in its CSR activities.
* In this third-party opinion, I have made comments about AGC Group's social and environmental activities and the disclosure of related information based on my understanding of this CSR report as a researcher who provides financial institutions with corporate information necessary for making socially responsible investments. Please note that the comments do not constitute a judgment about whether the data contained in this report was measured and calculated according to the criteria for environmental and other reports that are publicly approved to be fair and appropriate and whether the report contains all necessary information.
In this report, we have been promoting information disclosure on the AGC Group's CSR activities on a global scale, beginning with Special Features.