The following "New Year Message 2021" was addressed to all officers and employees by President Tatsuo Yasunaga.
I want to wish a Happy New Year to everyone in the Mitsui & Co. group around the world. It is my pleasure once again to bring you my message as we turn to the year ahead.
The business environment
Almost a year after the outbreak of COVID-19, the situation has not been fully contained and we still have to pay the utmost attention to ensuring health and safety in the community and at work. Although vaccine development is advancing with remarkable speed, until the systems are in place to distribute and administer the vaccines, we will need to continue steering a difficult course that balances controlling infection with maintaining economic activity.
Meanwhile, amid increasing geopolitical uncertainty, there have been some noteworthy developments, including the new Prime Minister in Japan and a new administration in the United States. Moreover, a number of factors mean that we can expect a further acceleration of global efforts to decarbonize. These factors include the incoming US administration's stated intention to return to the Paris Climate Agreement, the overall impact of the EU's Green Deal, and the announcement of a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by the Japanese cabinet. These changes all bring important opportunities, and we must use our knowledge and network and further accelerate collaborative efforts across business divisions, in order to develop renewable energy and new businesses in hydrogen, battery technology, CCUS and other areas that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, we need to focus on new business opportunities in data driven logistics optimization and people-flow analytics as well as digital infrastructure.
Continuing our drive to increase corporate value by pursuing "Transform and Grow" even amid these dramatic changes in the business environment, I am delighted to report the December announcement that the board has nominated Mr. Kenichi Hori as Mitsui's next CEO, effective April 1, 2021. I will continue working in my current role until passing the baton to Mr. Hori, after which I look forward to my new position as Chairman.
In recent years, spurred by reflections on excessive shareholder capitalism in the US and Europe, the market has become increasingly concerned with "social responsibility" in the sense that a company's economic activities themselves should respond to the demands of society. We have to always ask ourselves some fundamental questions about what it means to be a company or an organization.
Since last year, I have increasingly been asked by our various stakeholders to clarify the purpose and meaning of Mitsui's existence. As you know, we announced our revised MVV last May, and I think if we define "purpose" as "why we exist" and "what we want to do for society", then all those meanings are embedded in our mission and vision, so we don't need to invent new ways to describe this.
Nonetheless, if I were to describe Mitsui & Co.'s purpose in my own words, I would say that we exist to create and nurture new businesses and industries that help develop the global economy and address societal issues around the world. I'm sure that many of you have had the experience, when you step outside of our offices, of stakeholders wanting to know what makes Mitsui different from other companies. In a world where increased uncertainty makes the future so difficult to predict, I want you to think of these stakeholder interactions as important opportunities to express our mission, our values, and our aspirations in the context of your work.
Toward true transformation and growth
Mitsui has always been a company that reflects the needs of each era, continually transforming ourselves and our business model to create new value. For us to sustainably 'Transform and Grow' in line with the theme of our Medium-term Management Plan, we need to comprehensively reconsider our conventional wisdom and practices. COVID-19 has exposed a lot of issues with existing ways of doing things in Japan, and we have to give our full attention to the various issues in front of us with trying to stay one step ahead. Preparing for change can be painful at times, but I am confident that we can grow as a company by using our diversity as a strength, learning continuously, and translating our convictions into decisive action.
As I mentioned earlier, the future has become even harder to predict, but one of our great strengths at Mitsui is a spirit of challenge and innovation that drives us to constantly transform and evolve with the times. Further, I firmly believe that Mitsui has a proven track record of continuously evolving and succeeding from generation to generation and from leader to leader. To maintain prosperity, we must remember "No Challenge, No Change", since change is essential to life and changes are always accompanied by challenges. Our mission together for 2021 is to make the changes that allow us to move Mitsui & Co. Group forward. Forward toward 2030, and forward to a new stage of development.
I wish you and your family good health and happiness in the year ahead.