Our Approach to Sustainability
Policies and Basic Approach
Sustainability has always been an integral part of Mitsui & Co.'s basic philosophy and today, it is clearly defined in our Mission, Vision, Values ("MVV"), adopted in May 2020. Our corporate mission is to "build brighter futures, everywhere". Toward the realization of a brighter tomorrow for earth and for people around the world, we, as challengers and innovators, aim to be a corporate group that creates and grows business while addressing material issues for sustainable development.
To attain this goal, we have adopted clearly defined values to be shared across the entire Mitsui & Co. group. To help individual group employees put these values into practice, we have formulated the Mitsui & Co. Group Conduct Guidelines—With Integrity, which define not only integrity and compliance but also our basic stance on key sustainability themes, including respect for human rights, environmental preservation, social contribution, and the development of trust with stakeholders. In addition, we also define our specific stance as a company in individual policies on the environment, human rights, and supply chains.
Toward the achievement of our corporate mission to "build brighter futures, everywhere", we have identified five material issues in Mitsui & Co.'s Materiality. In addition to their importance to our stakeholders, these material issues also have major potential impact on Mitsui's business management. For Mitsui to realize sustainable growth together with society, each of these material issues has the potential to be a significant source of both risks and opportunities in the medium- to long-term perspective. By regarding them as fundamental elements, we formulate business strategies, including the medium-term management plans and business plans.
In the Medium-term Management Plan 2023, we have identified "sustainability management and evolution of ESG" as one of the six corporate strategies, in order to bring forward "transform and grow". We have further strengthened our commitment to sustainability management by identifying climate change, circular economy, and business and human rights, as priority issues. We will also continue our efforts to strengthen corporate governance.
In accordance with our management philosophy and these policies and guidelines, we will continue to respond seriously and sincerely to the trust and expectations of our stakeholders, and to contribute through our wide-ranging business activities both to sustainable global economic and social development, and to the solution of global-scale issues.
Relationship of corporate policies
Medium-term Management Plan 2023 —Transform and Grow: Six Corporate Strategies
- Strengthen business management capabilities
- Evolve financial strategy and portfolio management
- Personnel strategy
- Strategic Focus
- Strengthen profitability of core businesses and take on challenges in new businesses
- Sustainability management; Evolution of ESG
Mitsui & Co.'s Core Values
The former Mitsui & Co.* which was established in 1876, was disbanded as part of the dissolution of Japan's zaibatsu (industrial conglomerates) shortly after the end of World War II. The current Mitsui was founded by employees of the former Mitsui that shared the values of the original company: "Challenge and Innovation," "Open-Mindedness," and "Focus on Human Resources." The Mitsui of today continues to contribute to the creation of new value for society. The way we work and the way we think are still very much based on the values espoused by Takashi Masuda, the first president of the former Mitsui, and are reflected in our stance toward our work. The principles of Mitsui's approach to sustainability as social responsibility have always reflected its founder's values, a way of thinking unchanged to this day.
* Legally speaking, there has been no continuation between the former Mitsui & Co. and the current Mitsui & Co.
"Let not short term gains tempt your mind, seek only enduring prosperity by embracing grand aspirations."
"I started Mitsui with the goal of realizing trade on a large scale, not in pursuit of money, but from the desire to work."
"Mitsui has a pool of very talented individuals. This is Mitsui's most important asset."
Takashi Masuda, the first president of the former Mitsui
Sustainability Governance and Oversight
In the fiscal year ended March 2005, Mitsui & Co. established the CSR Promotion Committee (currently the Sustainability Committee) under the Corporate Management Committee to develop Mitsui's internal framework with respect to sustainability, and to work to raise sustainability awareness among employees. Reflecting the growing interest in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ESG in recent years, we established the Sustainability Committee on May 1, 2017, in order to further clarify our unchanging stance toward creating new value for society through business activities and to pursue further mutual sustainability between society and the company. In May 2017, we established the Sustainability Committee in order to further clarify our unchanging stance toward creating new value for society through business activities and to pursue further mutual sustainability between society and the company. With the Sustainability Committee playing a central role, Mitsui promotes sustainability-related activities based on cross-organizational collaboration to meet the needs and expectations of society in relation to companies' social values and initiatives.
The Sustainability Committee is structured so that its activities are appropriately supervised by the Board of Directors, and matters discussed by the Sustainability Committee are regularly discussed and reported to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors. The number of cases related to management strategy, sustainability, and governance that were discussed by or presented to the Board of Directors in the fiscal year ended March 2021 was 28 out of a total of 88. In addition to regular reports at meetings of the Board of Directors, in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, directors and corporate auditors, including external directors, held free discussions on the theme of "Sustainable revenue growth strategy considering ESG and our Materiality," which resulted in lively debate.
|Committee Chair||Shinichiro Omachi (Representative Director, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer)|
|Vice Chairs||Takakazu Uchida (Representative Director, Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer)
Yoshiaki Takemasu (Representative Director, Executive Managing Officer, Chief Human Resources Officer; Chief Compliance Officer)
|Members||Deputy CSO, and the GMs of the Corporate Sustainability Division, Corporate Planning & Strategy Division, Human Resources & General Affairs Division, Legal Division, Investment Administrative Division, Corporate Communication Division, Finance Division, and Investor Relations Division.|
The committee has the following duties:
- Develop basic policies on the company's sustainability management and fundamental plans for activities to promote sustainability.
- Review and make proposals on the company's management policies, business activities, as well as policies and strategies of corporate divisions from the perspective of sustainability.
- Present proposals on company-wide policies and actions related to environmental (climate change, circular economy, environmental pollution, biodiversity, etc.), social (human rights, supply chain management, social contribution activities, etc.) or governance issue.
- Make proposals on sustainability-focused business activities (understanding risks and opportunities involved in business).
- Deliberate and establish the basic policy of the effective disclosure of information to stakeholders.
- Consider and present proposals relating to progress reviews and monitoring required for management.
- Configure and establish the internal structure for promoting sustainability management of the company.
- Identify the material issues to focus on each year for promoting sustainability management of the company and ensure progress on these.
- Respond to issues related to sustainability management, both internal and external to the company.
- Approve important matters (basic policies, business plans, etc.) relating to the Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund stipulated in Basic Policy of the Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund.
- Select proposals from applicants for the Environment Fund grants.
- Decide and report whether to support an exceptional acquisition of forests or the disposal of company owned forests, which is out of the scope of the guidelines on the acquisition of a new forest and disposal of company owned forests, based on Rules on the Management of Company Owned Forests.
Main Discussions at Sustainability Committee Meetings in the fiscal year ended March 2021
1st Meeting (April 15, 2020)
- Deliberations on setting GHG-related targets
2nd Meeting (June 30, 2020)
- Deliberations on Formulation of Human Rights Policy and Review of Sustainability-related Policies
- Deliberations on The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund Activity Policy for FY Mar/2021
- Report on Volume of CO2 Absorption and Fixation by our Company-Owned Forests Mitsui's Forests, and Evaluation of Public Value
- Report on Sustainability Report 2020
3rd Meeting (August 27, 2020)
- Deliberations on the Statement under the UK Modern Slavery Act
4th Meeting (October 22, 2020)
- Report on IEA World Energy Outlook 2020 Outline
- Deliberations on Climate Change-related Scenario Analysis
5th Meeting (December 2, 2020)
- Deliberations on Circular Economy
- Report on Response to GHG Emissions Survey
- Deliberations on Climate Change PDCA
6th Meeting (December 25, 2020)
- Deliberations to define the Purpose of Social Contribution Activities
- Deliberations on Revision of Specially Designated Business Management System
- Deliberations on Sustainability Report Editing Policy for FY Mar/2022
7th Meeting (February 25, 2021)
- Deliberations to define the Purpose of Social Contribution Activities
- Deliberations on Current Status of, and Policy Responses to Climate Change-Related Matters
8th Meeting (March 3, 2021)
- Report on Human Rights & Supply Chain Activities
- Report on Activities to Promote Sustainability Management (Activity Report for FY Mar/2021 and Action Plan for FY Mar/2022)
- Deliberations on Action Policy for Improvement of ESG Ratings/Clarifying the Relationship between Materiality and Report on the SDGs
Environmental and Societal Advisory Committee
The Environmental & Societal Advisory Committee has been established as the advisory body to the Sustainability Committee. The committee members are selected mainly from among external experts who are familiar with a broad range of fields, including climate change, environmental policy with respect to water and energy, etc., technology trends, human rights and other matters. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, 10 consultations and exchanges of opinions were conducted on important themes in sustainability management.
Main content of consultations and exchanges of opinions with the Environmental and Societal Advisory Committee and the number of times they were conducted in the fiscal year ended March 2021
|External disclosure||Disclosure of sustainability information||2|
|Climate Change||Climate change initiatives||1|
|Circular Economy||Circular economy-related business||1|
|Human Rights||Formulation of Human Rights Policy||1|
|Social Contribution Activities||The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund Activity Policy||2|
|Social Contribution Activities Policy||2|
|Mitsui's Forests||Mitsui's Forests||1|
Corporate Sustainability Div.
In April 2019, we established the Corporate Sustainability Division, whose role is to promote and drive company-wide sustainability management and to accelerate various initiatives on a global group basis. The Corporate Sustainability Division strives to raise sustainability awareness and share values at the Mitsui & Co. global group level, with the aim of contributing to the achievement of sustainable social and economic development in various countries and regions around the world, while also contributing to solving global environmental problems such as climate change.
Sustainability Promotion Officers
The Sustainability Promotion Officers have taken the initiative in organizing various sustainability awareness-raising programs, such as in-house sustainability seminars and lectures by speakers from partner companies and external experts, as well as workshops regarding sustainability within the actual business. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, we held a Sustainability Promotion Officers meeting on a quarterly basis, where we shared the policies and important matters related to new sustainability initiatives discussed and formulated by the Sustainability Committee. In addition, utilizing online-based meeting opportunities during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with a greater number of participants from Japan branches than previous years, we conducted a workshop-style exchange of opinions on the progress and challenges of promoting sustainability management in their respective organizations.
Materiality Action Plans
Each Business Unit has a Materiality Action Plan that outlines specific initiatives to address the Materiality identified by the company and manages the progress of these initiatives. The Materiality Action Plan defines the content of each Business Unit's response plans, targets, and status of initiatives based on the recognition of issues and major risks and opportunities for each Materiality. It also shows how our business activities contribute to the SDGs, and identifies the SDGs that are highly relevant to each Materiality.
By regularly managing the progress of this Materiality Action Plan, we will implement the PDCA cycle to promote our Materiality initiatives and our efforts to achieve the SDGs.
Raising Awareness on Sustainability Management
Survey of employees
To help our employees work together to achieve our Materiality, we conduct an annual survey on Mitsui's Materiality with our executives and employees worldwide. 4,123 responses were received for the year ended March 31, 2021.
We have designated June as Sustainability Month, and through several employee programs, we provide opportunities for employees to consider what initiatives they can and should implement in order to address societal issues, and how they can put them into practice to achieve sustainability for society and the company. In the fiscal year ended March 2021, we held an online lecture by Takeshi Okada, former coach of the Japanese national soccer team, a sustainability roundtable discussion with the communications manager of leading sustainability company LUSH, and "FoodSkole", a course on addressing food loss in a delicious and fun way at home. We also held a Materiality quiz and initiative declaration event in which anyone could participate during the month-long period. A total of 1,800 employees from Japan and other parts of the world took part.
Sustainability Promotion Officers play a central role in organizing other internal sustainability-related seminars and other events.
Lectures on the company's sustainability management is conducted as part of introductory training for new employees, and briefing sessions on sustainability management are held for corporate departments, headquarter business units, regional business units and affiliates about 40 times a year for more than 1,800 employees. In this way, we have created opportunities for every employee to think about sustainability in their daily work and spread awareness.
Sustainability Month Program — Lecture by Takeshi Okada
On June 15, 2020, a lecture entitled "The Challenge in Imabari to Create New Value," presented by Takeshi Okada, former coach of the Japanese national soccer team and current chairman of Imabari Dream Sports Co., was held with approximately 500 executives and employees in attendance. Mr. Okada talked about FC Imabari's specific initiatives supporting the corporate philosophy of "contributing to the creation of a society that values spiritual richness over material richness for the next generation" and the importance of intangible value. One of the attendees commented, "In an era where the importance of intangible assets and intangible value is growing, the idea of "talking about dreams and visions" to direct assets into that direction was clear and convincing. As sustainability is also intangible value, I realized that I need to be able to better understand and communicate our commitment and what specific values we want to achieve." "I was very impressed by the words of the Native Americans, 'The earth is borrowed from our descendants,' and it made me think about what I can do for sustainability in the future." In the post-lecture questionnaire, 97% of the respondents said that they found the lecture useful, as it gave them hints and insights for their own business activities.
Human Rights Training
At Mitsui & Co. we conduct various training programs on human rights to ensure that our own human rights policy is widely disseminated in the workplace and put into practice in our business. In the fiscal year ended March 2021, we continued to provide compliance training, including prevention of harassment and other infringements of human rights and personal rights, as well as briefings and workshops on important laws and regulations in Japan and overseas, to newly hired employees (including general contract employees and temporary employees), managers, and others at different levels, and prior to overseas assignments and transfers to group companies. We conducted a total of more than 50 compliance training sessions and workshops on important laws and regulations in Japan and overseas.