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Reader Responses

Here at the Kobe Steel Group, we carry out environmental and social contribution activities based on a dialogue with stakeholders. As part of that dialogue, we received direct feedback and impressions from readers regarding our Sustainability Report 2013. A portion of that feedback is included below. We will continue to make use of readers’ opinions in our future reports, in an effort to create a more interactive Sustainability Report.

1. Regarding Basic Environmental Management Policies

  • With the six initiatives for implementation of environmental measures, I look forward to seeing whether future activities are rolled out in line with these underlying policies.
  • Since long-term and medium-term policies were set with adequate consideration of their effect on potential environmental impact, and because that effect was given due importance in identifying issues, I think the company will be able to respond appropriately should any problems arise.

2. Regarding Environmental Management Systems

  • Reading the report, it seems that awareness of environmental management at the company is high, with all production locations acquiring EMS certification as well as implementing independent management activities.
  • According to the report, establishing initiatives by each business unit allows information and policies to be communicated to individual sites more quickly and makes appropriate management easier to achieve.

3. Regarding Reductions to Environmental Impact throughout Value Chain

  • Arranging them in order from procurement of raw materials to customer delivery made initiatives throughout the value chain easy to understand.
  • I was deeply impressed by the services offered customers, which combine high-quality products with the added value of reduced environmental impact.

4. Regarding Global-Warming Countermeasures

  • Displaying trends in total energy consumption and CO2 output in graph form made them easy to understand. I also think dividing them further by business unit was very effective and a good choice.
  • With the modal shift from truck to ship and train, the company appears to be taking particular care in the way it transports products. Going forward, I think it will be necessary to continue refining that approach.
  • The report showed that CO2 emissions were reduced by 2.3% over the previous year, but I would have liked the specific measures taken to be included as well.

5. Regarding Promotion of Resource Recycling

  • The company seems to be doing a good job of considering the environment, with recycling of waste materials steadily increasing.
  • In the Iron & Steel Business, in particular, the company appears to be working hard to care for the environment and implement and manage targets, for instance through the recycling of steel slag. However, I am curious as to whether the same level of care is in place for other business units.

6. Regarding Appropriate Management of Chemical Substances

  • Since the company has defined policies on controlling hazardous chemical substances and operates according to those policies, there probably aren’t any problems. However, I think it would be clearer if there was a year-to-year comparison of chemical substance emissions.

7. Regarding Reductions to Environmental Impact

  • SOx emissions dropped drastically from 1975 to 1980. NOx emissions, however, while small, continue to rise and fall year by year. With the right measures taken in the future, I believe this could change.

8. Regarding Contributions to the Environment via Products, Technologies and Services

  • Displaying total energy usage and CO2 emissions as graphs made them easy to understand. I felt separating amounts further by business unit was extremely effective and a good choice.
  • I also liked that medium-term and long-term technical goals, including costs, were set for research and development of environmental technologies. However, I think costs could have been quantified.

9. Regarding Disclosure of Environmental Information

  • I think the sustainability reports provide a systematic examination of the Kobe Steel Group’s role in relation to the environment and the results it achieves.
  • The third-party comments are a good way of ascertaining the fairness and validity of the reports. I hope you recognize the importance of these opinions, and that you incorporate them into management.

10. Regarding Initiatives with Full Employee Participation

  • Reading the report, I learned that the company uses very unique tools, such as KOBELCO Eco Life Note, to help educate employees.
  • I was very interested in individual employee involvement in environmental management, especially the "household environmental accounting booklets." Have you considered spreading these initiatives outside of the company as well?

11. Regarding Environmental Risk Management

  • It’s reassuring to see that environmental inspections are carried out both in Japan and overseas. However, I think it would be better if the report also included how frequent these inspections are.
  • I think the fact that you carried out an environmental inspection at an overseas site in India, identified problems and worked out solutions shows that the company is adequately assessing the situation not only in Japan but overseas as well.

12. Regarding Social Contributions

  • I was very impressed that the company not only pursues its own environmental preservation activities, but also carries out environmental education for local children, such as with its environmental education outreach program.
  • Regarding the social contributions made through sports, I also think the rugby club’s traveling to disaster affected areas to offer support encourages not only children, but people living in the area to not give up. I hope this activity will continue in the future.

13. Regarding Preservation of Biodiversity

The Kobe Steel Group Sustainability Report 2013

The Kobe Steel Group Sustainability
Report 2013
  • With activities such as forest maintenance and its use in training new employees, there seems to be a high level of concern for the environment companywide.

Editorial Postscript

CSR Committee, Kobe Steel, Ltd.

In creating this report, we strove to convey to our wide range of stakeholders the ways in which the Kobe Steel Group contributes to the environment and society through monozukuri (or manufacturing). In the "KOBELCO in Everyday Life" special feature section at the beginning of the report we covered ways in which the Group’s products and technologies affect everyday aspects of life, helping to create better living and contribute to society. In the environmental report, we included a special Aluminum Value Chain feature that covered ways in which we reduce environmental impact through stages ranging from aluminum procurement to product use. In the social report, meanwhile, we included spotlights on the First KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize and "Contributing to Society through Sports." We will continue to make every effort to use the frank and honest opinions of our readers to better improve our reports.