Graduate School of Economic Science
There are three points I would especially like to make in evaluating this year’s TDK CSR Report. First of all, the report looks at the problem of conflict minerals in depth. I particularly praise the fact that rather than simply pledging to comply with regulations, the report indicates TDK’s awareness of the problem of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, mentioning also its discussions with a nongovernmental organization, and outlines TDK’s policy on conflict minerals. This section clearly shows TDK’s leading position in tackling the question of how global businesses should take responsibility for human rights problems around the world. I hope as many readers as possible will look at this part.
The second point concerns TDK’s efforts to establish international standards for the quantitative assessment of the environmental contribution of electronic components. These efforts may appear modest in the eyes of some readers, but in fact they deserve much attention from the perspective of improving environmental sustainability. Electronic components exert an environmental load at the manufacturing stage, but at the same time they later reduce the environmental load by performing their functions. With a view towards achieving sustainable growth, we must measure their real quantitative environmental contribution by giving consideration to both aspects. The formulation of global rules relating to quantitative environmental contribution will also stimulate innovation by allowing proper environmental assessment of new technologies. This will of course boost TDK’s own research and development, but not only that, it will also contribute to the realization of sustainable growth on a broader global scale. Rules are an important public asset, and taking the initiative in making rules is an important social contribution.
The third point concerns TDK’s research and development on permanent magnets that do not use rare earth materials. Corporate social responsibility must be integrated into business operations, and the same goes for R&D. It is well known that rare earth mining can cause serious environmental damage in producing regions. Moreover, for geopolitical reasons ensuring a stable supply of rare earth materials is no easy matter. I very much look forward to seeing progress in such R&D efforts responding to environmental and social issues.
Next I would like to mention some points on which I think TDK should make further efforts in the future. My first point concerns the promotion of diversity. Guaranteeing equal opportunities to people of widely diverse backgrounds is a social demand. Furthermore, it is vital for the long-term competitiveness of companies. In order to accelerate specific efforts in this area, I suggest that TDK sets certain targets relating to diversity and announces the state of progress in achieving them.
Another point concerns CSR procurement. The global response rate to TDK’s CSR check sheets is 85%, indicating that progress has been made. The next step should probably be direct dialogue with suppliers through on-the-spot auditing. Earlier I praised TDK for its efforts on the problem of conflict minerals, but I hope that CSR procurement as a whole, including conflict minerals, will shift to the stage of systematic implementation, including auditing.
Finally, I would like to mention TDK’s dialogue with stakeholders. The dialogue with Amnesty International, an international human rights NGO, undoubtedly brought an extremely valuable perspective to the TDK Group. In this vein, I would like TDK to continue and positively promote dialogue with global NGOs. They will surely point the TDK Group in the direction of truly global CSR.