Yamaha is focused on ensuring better communication with all stakeholders in order to respond to various CSR-related issues in Japan and overseas.
This year, Makiko Akabane shares her opinion on Yamaha's CSR activities and the Yamaha CSR Report 2013 in order to make improvements going forward.
CSR Asia Tokyo Office
This CSR Report provides ample evidence of Yamaha's awareness as a global manufacturer engaged in sound and music that has been in business for 125 years. Yamaha's CSR activities are being conducted broadly and with sincerity to a level that is almost incomparable with other producers of musical instruments around the world. It is clear that Yamaha takes a positive stance to driving advanced CSR initiatives in the market for sound and music as a global enterprise. This also includes reporting on negative information without trying to conceal anything in such areas as the environment, products and workplace safety.
Yamaha aims to accelerate growth in China and emerging markets under the new medium-term management plan that started in April 2013, demonstrating a particular attention to global business development. The CSR Report is a good tool to convey the effects of CSR activities being undertaken in an earnest and careful manner throughout the Group, but there is one thing I would like Yamaha to make a more conscious effort with based on the Company's high aspirations of having its CSR recognized on the global stage. The methodology I am referring to is stakeholder engagement, or the relationship Yamaha has with its stakeholders.
Yamaha has a large number of stakeholders, and as such, it is important to identify those stakeholders that are important to the Company and increase efforts to engage with them more fully. In particular, if Yamaha endeavors to expand business in overseas markets, stakeholder engagement at the local level will become vital to understand what stakeholders in that region perceive the social problems to be and what they would like Yamaha to do in response to these problems.
The global trend in CSR requires companies to focus on initiatives to resolve key issues uncovered from stakeholder demands rather than take a wide, shallow approach to issues that are related to that company's operations. The Yamaha CSR Report does not clearly state the process of identifying which stakeholders are important to the Company or the relationship to those stakeholders that are deemed to be important. Consequently, I recommend incorporating stakeholder engagement going forward and reporting on the process of identifying key stakeholders. Since stakeholders differ depending on region and time period, it is necessary to stay involved with them in a strategic and ongoing manner rather than take a one-off, one-directional stance.
Overseas readers might point out that this report has less information on effects and impacts from Yamaha's CSR activities. For example, the report includes detailed information on the frameworks created in relation to governance, quality assurance, human resource development and social contribution as well as the programs being implemented that are based on these frameworks. However, the report doesn't clearly mention the effects and impacts that Yamaha's activities have brought to society. The existence of frameworks and programs is indeed critical, but readers around the world also expect to hear what kind of effects or impacts these frameworks and programs had. Although it probably isn't that simple to measure the effects and impacts of CSR initiatives in practical terms, I would like Yamaha to make a conscious effort in this regard going forward.
Response to Third-Party Opinion
Senior Executive Officer in charge of the Corporate Administration Group
This year we received feedback from Makiko Akabane, Director, Japan CSR Asia Tokyo Office, a think tank with the largest network in Asia specializing in CSR and sustainability, on our CSR initiatives and CSR Report. We are indeed grateful to Ms. Akabane for her opinion.
Ms. Akabane gave us high marks for our stance toward CSR activities while also pointing out the importance of stakeholder engagement in promoting global business development and recommending that we place more emphasis on this area. As directed, it is vital that Yamaha accurately identifies expectations and needs through dialog with stakeholders in each region and reflects these in unique CSR initiatives. The “TOGETHER” part of our corporate objective “CREATING KANDO* TOGETHER” refers to connections with stakeholders, and we believe that our corporate objective will carry increasing significance in our business activities going forward.
Together with the aforementioned, it was also pointed out that Yamaha does not provide sufficient information on the effects and impacts of our CSR activities. Although it is difficult to measure effects and impacts, as alluded to by Ms. Akabane, we will work to quantify each item and disclose the relevant information to the extent possible going forward.
* KANDO is a Japanese word that signifies an inspired state of mind.