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CSR Report

Fujikura Group CSR Report 2013
Feature Article

Fujikura Group’s First Stakeholder Dialogue: Meeting Expectations for Environmental Management

In conducting business on a global scale, we are expected to address a range of environmental issues. The Fujikura Group held its first stakeholder dialogue meeting to receive opinions from its stakeholders about their expectations for the Group's environmental management and to incorporate these opinions into its future CSR activities.

Subthemes of the dialogue meeting

From left in the back row: Mr.Maeda, Mr.Miyata and Mr.Takahashi
From left in the front row: Mr.Sakurai, Ms.Murakami, Mr.Suematsu and Mr.Kato

[External participants]

[Internal participants]

Environmental management required by local communities

- Murakami (meeting facilitator)

Tomomi Murakami

I hear it has been more than two years since the Fujikura-Kiba Millennium Woods (the "Millennium Woods") was created to reproduce the ecosystems around the Arakawa River. The bio-garden is richer in nature than expected. The first subtheme of today's meeting is "Environmental management required by local communities," which is in fact related to the Millennium Woods project. I'd like to ask for your comments on this theme.

- Sakurai

The Fujikura Group and the NTT Group set their respective Global Environment Charters during the same period (1991), and in 2010, about 10 years after the establishment of the NTT Global Environment Charter, we added the conservation of biodiversity to the basic principles of the charter and formulated a new vision called "THE GREEN VISION 2020." Based on this vision, which we will achieve by the year ending March 31, 2021, we are committed to conducting environmental activities in a localized manner so that local residents may understand what we do. For example, NTT FACILITIES, an NTT Group company, has been planting sweet potatoes on the rooftops of buildings and other vacant spaces by making use of information and communication technology (ICT), as a means to prevent the so-called heat island phenomenon caused by urbanization. In starting this activity, NTT FACILITIES selected sweet potatoes as the first plant to be grown from among 20 to 30 species. They chose this because sweet potatoes provide an excellent transpiration effect and are resistant to insects. The company began to grow sweet potatoes using by aero-hydroponics and named this rooftop greening method "Green Potato." Now the entire NTT Group is fostering the use of the method, by which we are now cultivating bitter gourds and pumpkins in addition to sweet potatoes. We hold events to harvest the vegetables and foster communication with tenants of the buildings.

- Murakami

The use of ICT for the promotion of local communication is unique to the NTT Group, which has its own proprietary technologies in the field of ICT.

- Suematsu

Yasuharu Suematsu

I was surprised to learn that Fujikura had created a bio-garden rich in nature in the center of Tokyo. I would like the company to continue with this project. Fujikura is a company with highly advanced, first-class technologies. Perhaps people living near the garden do not know that Fujikura is one of the world's leading companies in the field of optical fibers, optics-related products and power cables. About 40 years ago, the company, as a pioneer in the field of optical fibers, developed an optical fiber that features the world's smallest transmission loss in cooperation with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation. I hope that Fujikura will introduce its business, in particular the story behind this development, to local residents, including elementary school children. Currently in Japan, public interest in science and technology is waning and the number of children interested in science is falling. Fujikura has a wonderful showroom, and this is where I want the company to introduce its business background more proactively to visitors-by showing actual products to them. Also, apart from its business operations, Fujikura has been a great company since its foundation. The company has been supporting children with mental disabilities in Oshima and Tama since the establishment of Fujikura Gakuen in 1919. Moreover before World War II, the company established the Fujikura Foundation to provide financial support to researchers. Further, around 1965, the company established Fujikura Ikueikai to financially support the education of young people, who are the next generation of leaders. I see the creation of the nature-rich Millennium Woods in the center of Tokyo as an extension of these activities. A commitment to these activities has long been a part of Fujikura's corporate culture.

- Murakami

Fujikura is a company engaged in B-to-B business and so it might be difficult for local residents, including children, to understand that Fujikura is supporting the world with its technologies and products, even though they know that there is a company named Fujikura in the neighborhood. To help them deepen their understanding of the company, you need to give specific explanations about the business. Also, you need to relay the role that Fujikura has given to the Millennium Woods, which was created based on the corporate culture nurtured since before the Second World War, clearly to local residents and to your own employees in relation to the corporate activities and culture. This will help raise awareness of the bio-garden. For example, you could develop some employees to become experts in biotopes and hold a study seminar in which local residents can learn about creation of the Millennium Woods straight from the company via the experts. The significance and value of the bio-garden to local residents will increase through such activities.

- Kato

Yes, indeed. As for the Millennium Woods, we tend to focus only on the natural environment of the garden. As Ms. Murakami has kindly pointed out, we can make better use of the Millennium Woods. I am also deeply inspired by the comments of Dr. Suematsu, who has recommended that we introduce our corporate history, including our technological background, to local residents to make Fujikura a more familiar name to them.

Environmental measures to be implemented in the globalization of business

- Sakurai

Yoshito Sakurai

The NTT Group has recently announced its new Medium-Term Management Strategy. In line with this strategy, we are attributing even more importance to the globalization of our businesses, regarding the global cloud service as the core. NTT Communications and NTT DOCOMO are expanding their business overseas and also fostering environmental activities, such as planting trees. Fujikura has advanced technologies and could become a leading company of environment-friendly products and technologies in overseas countries and regions while operating in consideration of the local characteristics and regulations. By the way, NTT FACILITIES, one of the NTT Group's companies, developed the concept "100-year BCP" for its business continuity plan (BCP) management service, and has created a logo mark to establish the concept as a brand. Fujikura could also foster branding for the wonderful Millennium Woods so that people visiting the bio-garden or those hearing about it can relate the garden to Fujikura.

- Suematsu

Fujikura has 85 or more bases across the world, which I believe implies that its advanced technologies are highly recognized and needed by the world. Fujikura, in cooperation with NTT, became the first company in the world to demonstrate the possibility of optical fiber communication. The company demonstrated that thick copper cables, which had been used conventionally, could be replaced with optical fibers. These fibers are as thin as one-third of a millimeter, or a hairbreadth, and are more environmentally friendly materials. Fujikura has had a huge impact on the world through this achievement, thanks to which we can now transmit bulk information and use TV conference systems and cell phones to meet or communicate with each other without travelling. The advanced research into superconductivity, which Fujikura is now fostering, will also help create an environment-compatible society. Moreover the company is leading the world in the field of optical fiber fusion splicers* by making ceaseless R&D efforts to manufacture products excellent in workability and maintenance performance. I would like you to introduce these aspects of the company to the public in a manner that is easy to understand even for junior high school students.
(*Optical fiber fusion splicers represent a technology to easily connect more than 10 optical fibers as thin as 10 microns in diameter in a manner that will cause only minor transmission loss.)

- Kato

Takamasa Kato

Yes, indeed. As a recent example, Fujikura constructed a plant for automotive wires in Paraguay in South America, and has become the first foreign company to manufacture industrial products in Paraguay. I think we could make Fujikura a more familiar company to local people in the country by disseminating the message, "Fujikura is a company that provides a lineup of products that can contribute to bettering the social environment and shortening the transportation distance of people through telecommunication." We indeed need to dispatch more information in a range of regions.

- Murakami

Through its optical fibers and other products, Fujikura has been substantially supporting the growth of countries in need of telecommunication and electricity infrastructure. By providing such support, I think the company has already played an important role in terms of CSR. In the future, if Fujikura displays the social contributions it has made through the use of its products by society in a quantitative manner with specific figures, in addition to showing improvements made in terms of the environmental efficiency (performance) of its individual products, the company could increase its appeal to stakeholders, including investors and customers. This could also help the public understand the strengths of the company in the core business field. In order for the Group to "become a corporate group that is appreciated by customers and highly evaluated by society," it is indeed important to dispatch this kind of information.

Environmental activities in which employees and their families can participate

- Takahashi

Koichi Takahashi

The Sakura Plant (in Chiba Prefecture) is the largest among Fujikura's plants in Japan, and the premises extend over 477,000 km2. It is located within an industrial park and 20% of the area needs to be kept as a green space. Trees could be planted in the space to make it greener, or employees could utilize the space for the promotion of their health. At present, employees of the plant are being asked to give their opinions about the usage of the natural environment within the premises. I would like to make use of nature to foster communication and cooperation between employees of the plant and local people, and this kind of activity does not require vast amounts of money.

- Sakurai

The NTT Group is a large entity that has more than 200,000 employees. We have the "Green with Team NTT" initiative, in which employees, their families, retirees of the Group and local people can participate to protect the local environment and make social contributions. For example under the initiative, we held a cleanup campaign for the environment, in which more than 110,000 people participated to pick up trash and collect as many as 32 million PET bottle caps. We have also conducted activities to plant trees and restore forests over a total of some 200 hectares in about 50 locations across Japan. We provide children with environmental education through these activities. Further we hold cleanup activities around local rivers in the areas in which we have bases and also around Mt. Fuji. I recommend Fujikura to conduct similar activities on a long-term basis. I think activities in which employees can participate with their families have the following two effects. First, the activities help families enhance their relationship. Children model themselves after their parents. It serves to increase trust and understanding among the family members if children can have a grasp of their parents' work through the activities. Second, activities conducted in a local activity base with the participation of a lot of families will encourage participants to expand the scope of their activities centering around the base. If Fujikura holds an environmental event for employees and their families in the Millennium Woods, it would have a great impact on participants, especially children. Through the event they will raise their environmental awareness and will be encouraged to conduct environmental activities on a continual basis.

- Suematsu

Today I met a retiree of Fujikura on the street near the Millennium Woods; he is famous among my research colleagues. Fujikura has a lot of employees and retirees who like the company. I think it would be nice for the company to provide employees and retirees with more places they can gather together, in addition to the Millennium Woods. If the Sakura Plant has enough space, employees could plant trees in there to make it a park, or grow crops in the space to make it a farm and harvest the resulting bounty together. They could create such a space without spending a lot of money. Now universities invite graduates to return to their schools on major anniversaries. The plant could also invite the families of its employees to the premises, and the invited children could take a tour of the plant to deepen their understanding of their parents' jobs.

- Murakami

In order for the Fujikura Group to "become a corporate group that is appreciated by customers and highly evaluated by society," it seems necessary for the Group to foster measures for the families of employees, as has already been pointed out. Also, Fujikura will be able to receive more opinions from society by increasing the opportunities to dispatch information about the company and its business not only to employees but also to their families and local communities at each of its sites as well as at the Millennium Woods. The bio-garden could serve as the "flagship" communication place for Fujikura and help the company foster communication with its stakeholders.

The Fujikura Group's environmental management for society and customers

- Sakurai

The dispatch of information and communication, which have been mentioned as "keywords," are important also for the NTT Group. As part of its CSR communication activities, the NTT Group has been holding an annual symposium on the CSR theme for each year over the last 12 years, inviting experts in the field to participate. The symposium is composed of a panel discussion and other sessions. For the year ending March 31, 2013, we held this annual event on the theme of green procurement measures and the dispatch of related information. The symposium helps the NTT Group enhance its CSR measures, information dispatch and information sharing. I hope this event serves as a good example to Fujikura.

- Suematsu

The Fujikura Group is a large corporate group, and ordinary people tend to associate Fujikura with golf drivers rather than with optical fibers. The giant group supplies both golf drivers and optical fibers. It makes social contributions and also fosters advanced research and development. Moreover it has the Millennium Woods. I think it is necessary for the Group to dispatch information about these factors in a comprehensive manner to communicate the entire picture of the company to the public. Then you could assure the public that Fujikura is a wonderful company that is necessary to society.

- Murakami

I think that even B-to-B companies like Fujikura can make themselves understood by the public by communicating the whole picture of their business operations, including their environmental measures. By doing this as part of its corporate management, I believe Fujikura will be able to relate its social significance more clearly to the public, who will then change their evaluation of the company. The fact that you have held your first stakeholder dialogue implies that you have taken a new step forward. If you continue to communicate with a range of stakeholders through the stakeholder meeting and other means, you will get an even higher evaluation from the public. We will be happy if the comments and recommendations we have made in this dialogue meeting will be of some help to your future activities.

Looking Back on the Dialogue Meeting