The 2011 CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Grand Prix goes to Kuroneko Yamato [2011/12/02]
The 2011 CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Grand Prix goes to Kuroneko Yamato
The 5th CSR Citizen-selected Grand Prix Award Ceremony was held on November 11th at the Nippon Foundation. The Grand Prix went to Kuroneko Yamato (transportation business). Below is the list of all the recipients with reasons for their selection.
Summary of the Speech of Yohei Sasakawa at the CSR Grand Prix Awarding Ceremony
November 11, 2011 at the Nippon Foundation
The CSR Grand Prix is already in its 5th year. There is a vast difference in the interest shown by many citizens towards corporate social responsibility now as compared to the time that the Nippon Foundation started to advocate the importance of this corporate action. While acknowledging that you are all specialists in this area, allow me to explain the reason why we have created this mechanism.
As you are already aware, Japan currently has an astronomical fiscal deficit in the order of \1000 trillion. What it means is that we are on the par with such countries as Greece and Italy. There are several reasons why Japan has been able to hold out, but I shall not go into the technical reasons at this time.
With such a huge debt, there are many areas of our society where the government and administrative organs cannot reach out in terms of budget allocation. During sixty some years since the end of World War II, we have enjoyed a period where the government could be left to run the country as long as the citizens paid taxes. Yet those times are over and we are currently facing an era where there needs support, or actors to shoulder the work and fill the gap where the administration cannot reach out to. One such support was provided by the NPOs who worked energetically to aid the disaster area during the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake. But there is yet one more player that is even more important.
When we think of the raison d’être of companies in the days gone by, it was to manufacture good quality products to make citizens’ lives richer, or it was to promote employment. Half of the profit would then be paid to the government as tax, and they were able to separate dividends from directors’ bonus. These were the corporate activities that exhibited the value of their existence. But in the globalized world, it has become a matter of course to make good quality products. In addition to good quality products, it was required of the companies to have corporate personality with corporate magnetism to be called an excellent company, an exceptional company. Globalism brought upon them a mandate to develop into, and be evaluated by the civil society, as a superb company by extending their kind hands to society that seemingly might not have any relationship with their business.
We, the Nippon Foundation would like to play a role as a detonator to change society. For that we publish the CSR ranking of top 1700 Tokyo Stock Exchange Section 1 listed companies. Bloomberg, a world premier site for business and financial information has immediately picked up the Nippon Foundation CSR ranking list. They are applying it in their business knowing very well that this is useful investment information to be provided to overseas investors and companies. Recently the Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Japan’s economic newspaper) has asked us to share the information with them as well.
Our program is in no way sufficient as it is still in its early stage. We must still develop it with stricter criteria that are required in the analysis of CSR activities.
The young generation today visits the internet site to collect industry information, but in doing so they are already starting to show preference to work in a company that is actively contributing to society. As a result, companies have no other choice but to be aggressively involved with society if they are to hire excellent human resources. We would like to turn also to the consumers and create a mechanism whereby consumers will be able to select products from CSR active companies. For example, if there were to be a selection made for a laundry detergent, the choice would be to buy the product of an environmentally-friendly company.
We can also go further and include companies that are supporting NPOs through their active CSR or companies themselves that are working in the capacity of NPOs. It is one of our major goals that by doing so, the corporate sector, like yourselves, would be able to turn your attention to, and come in to help, those individuals and companies that are not being sufficiently served by the government.
Since the Great East Japan Earthquake, we have been visited by many companies at the Nippon Foundation, saying that they have the financial resources but do not know how or where to use the money. We believe that we, at the Nippon Foundation, can play the role of assisting companies by suggesting customized CSR program for each company and for them to contribute their social services in a way that their names are visible. Another way is for us to act as catalyst between companies and NPOs. It is the wish of the Nippon Foundation to become a catalyst to bring about a richer life for the citizens of our country.
These are the reasons for which we have asked 20,000 citizens to select the recipients of our CSR awards. Your companies are all involved in the most advanced, pioneering work. We would like you to take this as an opportunity to take further strides so that all the companies in Japan would help those in need of help, and become a major factor for creating a better society through your collaboration with NPOs.
I would like to express my sincere felicitations and joy to the recipient companies as your daily efforts have been justly evaluated to have given you your respective awards today.
Congratulations and thank you for your attention.