Third-Party Opinion

Third-Party Opinion on Marubeni’s CSR Activities in the Year ended March 31, 2014

  • Junichi Mizuo Ph.D.

Junichi Mizuo Ph.D. (Business Administration)
Professor, Faculty of Economics and Management, Surugadai University
Deputy Chairman, Japan Society of Business Ethics Study

Deputy Chairman, Japan Association for Performance Excellence; Visiting Lecturer, Faculty of Business Administration, Toyo University; Senior Researcher, Business Ethics Research Center

Books: The Company Which is Kind to a Person - Management of Security, Relief and the Bond (published by Hakuto Shobo), Improving Management through CSR (published by Toyo Keizai), and others

Positive Findings

1. Marubeni has fully disclosed activities which create value for society and the company by utilizing the characteristics of sogo shosha.

Marubeni has fully disclosed its use of core competency in displaying the company’s competitive advantage in its feature articles on LNG and other energy and infrastructure for power and water businesses for the current fiscal year. Readers can learn that Marubeni utilizes the characteristics of sogo shosha (general trading companies,) such as foodstuffs, chemicals, metals and mineral resources, transportation machinery, lifestyle, and other industries, in solving social problems, and the company’s stance in unifying economic value. Marubeni's global business is conducted with the motto 'Sanpo yoshi' (benefit for all three sides), which teaches that business should benefit the customer, society, and the vendor at the same time. This embodies the spirit of merchants in Omi region, the company’s birthplace. Marubeni’s activities will earn the understanding and empathy of the company’s diverse stakeholders, which include stockholders and analysts, thus leading to a higher corporate reputation of the company.

2. Greater transparency has been achieved regarding Marubeni’s efforts based on international CSR trends.

The G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines (*1) of the GRI Guidelines that were issued in the GRI (*2) international forum in May 2013 call for the disclosure of themes that are important to the company and its major stakeholders. Marubeni’s report has achieved greater transparency in disclosing its processes which involve holding discussions with stakeholders and confirms the expectations from society, selecting social and environmental issues while analyzing and considering their effects, etc. on the company, and determining and reassessing issues of high materiality. Combined with the company’s participation in the UN Global Compact, Marubeni’s efforts based on international initiatives can be highly evaluated.

Points for Improvement

Further efforts from Marubeni toward strengthening the scope of its CSR management are expected.

Based on my experience writing from the viewpoint of CSR ethics and the promotion of their application, I would like to express my expectations toward Marubeni’s future CSR activities. When I was working in a private company in 1997, the first corporate ethics committee in a Japanese company was established and I was appointed as its first generation leader. Since corporate ethics was completely unchartered territory in Japanese corporations at the time, I conducted interviews at leading American companies and deepened my knowledge. Upon conducting hearings at numerous American companies, I discovered that in addition to a top-down approach, bottom-up activities in which employees were making efforts with their on-site colleagues were effective. In 1999 I retired from the company and became a researcher at a university. Today, I am engaged in researching CSR and Brand Management, but the experience I gained during my time working for a company is being utilized in my current research as CSR knowledge.

In terms of CSR, effective measures are those which are integrated with the local business site, and I also believe that it is crucial to utilize the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) management cycle while looking at society from the perspective of employees. I would like to ask Marubeni to use this management cycle and be aware of the importance of the bottom-up approach gained from my experience in its future broadening and strengthening of CSR management. It is my sincere hope that Marubeni will undertake its CSR efforts toward the management philosophy of “economic and social development through just and upright business activities.”

  • *1G4 is the fourth edition of the GRI Guidelines announced in May 2013.
  • *2GRI stands for Global Reporting Initiative. This is a NPO headquartered in the Netherlands which promotes the use of sustainability reporting as a way for organizations to become more sustainable and contribute to sustainable development.

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