Nippon Soda will commemorate the 100th anniversary of its foundation in 2020. We are ready to promote CSR activities so that the Nippon Soda Group continues to grow and flourish as a group that contributes to society over the next 100 years as well.
We have been involved in RC activities since October 1998 and CSR activities since fiscal 2013. In fiscal 2016, we identified important CSR activities as solutions to social problems, which we expect will improve the corporate value, and made further efforts to contribute to society through our products.
We pledge to promote the further development of our CSR activities through stakeholder engagement and various other efforts from an even more global perspective, paying even closer attention to social conditions and fulfilling our duties related to transparency and accountability.
CSR Promotion System
Chaired by the President, the CSR Administration Meeting serves as a company-wide decisionmaking body to promote CSR activities, including RC. It sets annual targets to help the PDCA cycle “spiral up” and provides a management-level review of CSR activities. Held twice a year, the CSR Administration Meeting is attended by all directors, executive officers and worksite managers.
CSR Activity Policies
Organizational Governance and Management System
The Nippon Soda Group has an established management and organizational governance system to effectively promote CSR and RC activities.
The Nippon Soda Group’s CSR management system, which integrates CSR organizational governance and the responsible care management system, is based on the PDCA cycle. In order to ensure continuous improvement, worksites are required to implement and practice the PDCA cycle as follows: develop a CSR improvement plan (Plan), implement the developed plan (Do), make quantitative evaluations of both the plan and its implementation (Check), and implement measures based on quantitative evaluation results (Act).
Nippon Soda Group’s corporate governance
Nippon Soda places primary importance on sound and transparent business management in compliance with law. Its management philosophy is to contribute to social development through chemistry, to meet expectations from stakeholders, including shareholders, business partners, employees and local communities, and to promote environmentally conscious business practices and activities. Under this philosophy, Nippon Soda is committed to growing into a technology-oriented group that develops high value-added products by making best use of its proprietary technologies and expands its business internationally with focus on chemistry. We recognize the importance of good corporate governance in order to achieve our philosophy and respond promptly and accurately to a sudden change in the business environment.
Basic principles of corporate governance
Nippon Soda is fully aware of its fiduciary duty and is committed to improving its corporate governance system to meet this fiduciary duty in line with corporate governance codes and according to the following five basic principles:
- Ensure equality among shareholders and provide an environment for the appropriate exercising of rights
- Ensure appropriate collaboration with stakeholders (customers, business partners, employees, local communities, etc.) other than shareholders
- Ensure appropriate disclosure of information as required by law and ensure transparency through proactive disclosure of information that is not required by law
- Fulfill the responsibilities and roles of the Board of Directors to make decisions in a transparent, fair and prompt manner, based on our fiduciary duty
- Help shareholders understand our management policy and promote constructive dialogue to achieve sustainable growth For details of the state of the governance system, please refer to the securities report.
Corporate governance system
Outline of the corporate governance system
Nippon Soda has a Board of Corporate Auditors. Our corporate governance system comprises the Board of Directors consisting of six directors and two outside directors, and the Board of Auditors consisting of four auditors, three of which are outside auditors. Basic decision-making on business management and supervision of business execution are discussed intensively at the Board of Directors Meeting, generally held once a month, with the aim of promoting agile and efficient management. The tenure of directors is one year so as to ensure a prompt response to any change in the external environment and to clarify managerial responsibility. The position of executive officer has been introduced to improve decision-making on and supervision of business management and to enhance business execution performance. In adopting this system, we revised our bylaws to decrease the maximum number of directors from 15 to 10 or less. Of 17 executive officers, six who concurrently hold the position of director hold a Management Council meeting generally once a week (also attended by auditors) to discuss important issues involving business execution that need to be addressed quickly. In addition, an executive officer meeting attended mainly by executive officers is held once a month to share information on the current state of business execution performance and other issues.
Outline of the corporate governance system
- Our Compliance Committee ensures corporate activities are undertaken in compliance with laws, regulations and corporate ethics by ensuring all employees are fully informed of the Nippon Soda Group Code of Conduct. We also use the internal reporting system appropriately.
- We promote CSR (corporate social responsibility) practices in order to maintain the trust of society needed to continue our business activities ■Regulations on the risk management of losses and other systems
Regulations on the risk management of losses and other systems
- We ensure corporate activities in compliance with laws, regulations and corporate ethics by ensuring all employees are fully informed of the Nippon Soda Group Code of Conduct.
- Under the Corporate Social Responsibility Administration Meeting chaired by the President, we promote business activities taking into account environmental protection, occupational safety, product safety and human rights, as well as implement risk management according to corporate rules such as environmental management rules and security management rules, to prevent accidents from occurring.
- Should a serious accident occur, an accident response headquarters is established in accordance with corporate rules, including the security management rules, to address the accident in a cross-sectional and systematic way.
- If a natural disaster, such as a large earthquake, or any crisis that could have disastrous consequences occurs, we shall respond appropriately according to the business continuity plan (BCP).
- Other risks associated with business execution are appropriately addressed by responsible departments in accordance with relevant manuals and other documents.
- The Internal Control & Audit Department, independently from business departments, assesses the appropriateness and efficiency of business activities and the reliability of financial reports and promotes the appropriate functioning of the internal control system in business processes.
The risk management system
- Nippon Soda operates a Compliance Committee, which reports directly to the President, to ensure corporate activities in compliance with laws, regulations and corporate ethics throughout the Group.
- The Compliance Committee comprises executive officers as its members. At each department, branch, worksite and group company, a staff member in charge of compliance is appointed.
- The requirements that allow the Nisso Group to conduct sound business activities are specified in the Nippon Soda Group Code of Conduct, which are distributed to the management and all employees of Nippon Soda and its consolidated companies. In addition, training based on the Code of Conduct is regularly provided.
- A consultation office is available to employees of Nippon Soda and its group companies who have violated internal policies or have discovered violations by others to assist them in consulting directly with the Compliance Committee, a legal advisor or an auditor.
Nippon Soda’s basic policy is to contribute to society through its business activities by effectively using the technologies, knowledge and human resources accumulated since its foundation. Based on this basic policy, we engage in CSR practices in order to maintain the trust of society we need to continue our business activities. At every stage of the product life cycle, from manufacturing to disposal, we promote responsible care (RC) activities in order to conduct business activities that take into account environmental protection, occupational safety, and product safety.
CSR Management System
The management system that promotes the CSR activities of the Nippon Soda Group is designed to “spiral up” the PDCA cycle1 .
Each worksite is required to develop a CSR improvement plan (Plan), implement the developed plan (Do), make quantitative evaluations of both the plan and its implementation (Check), and implement measures based on quantitative evaluation results (Act) in order to ensure continuous improvement.
Material issues that should be addressed
by the Nippon Soda Group
The Nippon Soda Group focuses its business mainly on four areas essential for the sound development of society: agriculture, medicine, the environment and information. It contributes to the development of society by providing a constant stream of new and useful products and businesses.
We reviewed the CSR activities of the Nippon Soda Group from the following two aspects: CSR activities to protect the corporate value and CSR activities to increase the corporate value, with the aim of creating businesses that contribute to the development of a sustainable society. We have, through the review, identified the following three medium- and long-term material areas: agriculture, the environment and information.
•CSR activities to protect the corporate value, our efforts to minimize negative impacts
•CSR activities to improve the corporate value, our efforts to augment positive impacts
Materiality to the Nippon Soda Group
We assessed materiality to the Nippon Soda Group, based on the long-term management vision and the concept of materiality identification and by comprehensively taking into account priority activities, such as the expansion of growth drivers and the levels of sales ratios.
Materiality to stakeholders
1. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
In reference to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit held on September 25, 2015, we assessed their materiality to stakeholders in agriculture and the environment, two of the medium- and long-term material areas for the Nippon Soda Group.
- Goal 2： End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Related to agricultural and food issues
- Goal 6： Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Related to environmental issues (water)
- Goal 11： Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Related to environmental issues (waste)
- Goal 12： Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Related to environmental issues (water, waste)
2. Social issues faced by the information society
In the information area, one of the medium- and long-term material areas for the Nippon Soda Group, we assessed their materiality to stakeholders for the purpose of contributing to social issues faced by the information society.
•Information appliances that anybody can use
•User-friendly and environment-friendly (chemically and physically non-hazardous) information appliances
Materiality Identification Process
Step1 Identification and prioritization
As a chemicals manufacturer dealing with a wide variety, large amount of chemicals, we identified issues in our CSR activities to protect the corporate value with the aim of minimizing impact on people and the environment. In our CSR activities to increase the corporate value, we identified material issues in line with the GRI G4 guidelines, the ISO 26000 guidelines and SDGs.
We prioritized issues in the materiality assessment using a two-dimensional plane with materiality to stakeholders and materiality to the Nippon Soda Group.
Step2 Validation and identification through expert dialogue
The consistency between the medium- and long-term material issues and material issues that we should consider and recognize was verified at an expert meeting, based on which we identified material issues that the Nippon Soda Group should address.
Step3 Reporting to and approval from the Nippon Soda Group’s
Reporting to and approval from the Nippon Soda Group’s top management
Identified material issues were reported to the Corporate Social Responsibility Administration Meeting and approved by the Management Council and the Board of Directors.
Step4 Implementation of PDCA
The appropriateness of the identified material issues was verified using KPIs and it was determined to review them as necessary.
Material issues that should be addressed by the Nippon Soda Group
The materiality was determined as shown below through Steps 1 to 4 described above: