As part of its communication with stakeholders, the Kobe Steel Group gives a questionnaire to readers when it publishes its Sustainability Report every year. In response to our Sustainability Report 2016 we received a large amount of feedback and inquiries. Below we share a few of those comments and our respond to them.
From the perspective of reducing environmental impact, the need for lighter weight automobiles and aircraft continues to grow. We consider weight savings in transportation to be a growth field, and focus on providing lightweight and strong products such as ultra high-strength steel, aluminum and titanium. In the future we will continue to contribute to environmental conservation through technologies and products that facilitate such weight savings.
After the January 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, the Kobe Steel Group did all it could to help, including providing support for areas affected by the disaster and working to ensure an uninterrupted supply of wire rod for engine valve springs, which is a vital part for the global auto manufacturing industry. Making use of lessons we learned during that time, we now promote safety and disaster prevention for companies and communities, and formulation of BCP (Business Continuity Plans) to ensure that clients are not affected in the event of an earthquake. Additionally, we continue to engage in recovery efforts, spearheaded by our rugby club, for areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. As one of the companies directly affected by the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, we will continue to look for ways to contribute to society in relation to earthquakes and other natural disasters.
(Public service corporation employee, male)
The Kobe Steel Group considers energy and infrastructure to be a growth field, and focuses on hydrogen-related businesses. Last year we established a new Integrated Test Center for Hydrogen Stations and are pursuing development of units for hydrogen-fueling stations, in anticipation of increased demand for fuel cell vehicles in Japan and overseas. In the future, we will continue to promote development of technologies and products that contribute to the emergent hydrogen-based society.
(Association employee, male)
As part of the KOBELCO GREEN PROJECT, the Kobe Steel Group pursues a variety of activities, led by employees, to contribute to the environment. Forest development is one activity included in the project, and involves thinning and cutting of undergrowth for KOBELCO Green Forest (Miki City, Hyogo Prefecture), ECOWAY Green Forest (Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture) and other locations. To date, over 2,200 employees have participated in development activities. Additionally, in order to foster a respect for forests, we also sponsor the KOBELCO Forest Fairy Tale Prize, which collects forest-themed fairy tales from middle, elementary and high school students, with winning stories transformed into picture books. In fiscal 2016 we held the fourth such prize. In the future, the Kobe Steel Group will continue to engage in activities to preserve forests and other natural environments.
As the Japanese government promotes its action plan for work-style reform, the Kobe Steel Group is pursuing unique work style innovation for its staff. By reevaluating time unnecessarily wasted during work practices often taken for granted, such as meetings and email, we are striving to create time for employees and achieve more fulfilling work and private lives. We are also working company-wide to promote diversity, and have established a dedicated department to that end, with a focus on workplace advancement for women. We look forward to your interest in our future activities.
Thank you for your valuable feedback. We will use it to help create a better Sustainability Report.
CSR Committee, Kobe Steel, Ltd.
In creating this report, we made a conscious effort 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 message from the president, Chairman and President Hiroya Kawasaki introduced the Core Values of KOBELCO Next 100 Project, which comprises activities for the next 100 years of the Kobe Steel Group.
In the opening special feature, we introduce KOBELCO's unique work style innovations for staff. Additionally, in this year's environmental report we highlighted the welding business through the value chain. Throughout the report we strove to make Group initiatives as easy to understand as possible through ample use of photographs and graphs.
We will continue to make every effort to use the frank and honest opinions of our readers to better improve our report.