Basic Policy on Sustainability
It has been Sharp’s business philosophy since its founding to “contribute to the culture, benefits and welfare of people throughout the world” and to understand that “our future prosperity is directly linked to the prosperity of our customers, dealers and shareholders.” Based on this business philosophy Sharp has continued to meet the expectations and requirements of society and its stakeholders, and these aspirations for sustained mutual growth of the company and society are maintained as Sharp’s basic philosophy on sustainability.
Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior and the Sharp Code of Conduct
To concretize its business philosophy and business creed, the company has set out the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior to serve as the principles of behavior for Sharp Group companies, and the Sharp Code of Conduct to serve as a standard for all directors and employees. Sharp works to ensure that these guidelines permeate the Group as fundamental sustainability policies, and that the Group takes appropriate and sincere action in all of its business endeavors with a high ethical standard and full compliance with the law.
Resolutions and revisions regarding the adoption of the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior and the Sharp Code of Conduct are issued by the boards of directors of Sharp Corporation and its main subsidiaries and affiliate companies in Japan and overseas. At overseas subsidiaries and affiliates, these documents are translated into local languages so that employees can fully understand and comply with them.
These documents have been periodically reviewed and revised to accommodate changes in the business environment, including changes in stakeholder expectations as well as the establishment of new laws and revisions to existing ones. Such revisions are made known throughout the Sharp Group via internal notices.
To deepen understanding of the Sharp Code of Conduct and ensure that all executives and employees act in accordance with it, an e-learning compliance workshop based on the Sharp Code of Conduct is held every year.
In fiscal 2020, Sharp carried out the Sharp Code of Conduct compliance workshop for eligible employees at Sharp Corporation, 14 consolidated and non-consolidated subsidiaries in Japan, and six affiliate companies as well as eligible labor union members. This online workshop saw participation by about 19,000 employees.
The training covered a range of areas and how to deal with issues related to them, including conducting business activities in line with the Sharp Code of Conduct, the whistleblowing system, labor and human rights issues such as discrimination and harassment, competition laws, bribery and corruption, personal information protection, compliance with the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, and information security.
The compliance workshop will continue to be held and expanded in content with the goal of ensuring that employees have a better understanding of compliance and fostering awareness for potential problems and ways to prevent them.
Sustainability Policy and Implementation System
In line with Sharp’s basic philosophy and policy towards sustainability and amidst its efforts spanning a broad scope, Sharp defined the topics considered particularly important in mitigating impacts on society and the environment as its SER (Social and Environmental Responsibility) and formulated its SER Policy in August 2016.
- Value the rights of employees and ensure their health and safety.
- Fulfill environmental responsibilities in business activities and manufacturing processes.
- Build and operate an SER management system based on international standards, regulations, and client requests.
Furthermore, beginning in fiscal 2018, Sharp has positioned its role to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—adopted by the UN in September 2015 with major expectations placed on corporations—in its medium- to long-term vision, and is moving forward with those efforts.
Beginning in fiscal 2019, Sharp is accelerating its efforts towards this medium- to long-term vision through a two-pronged approach of creating solutions to social problems through business and technological innovation, and reducing the social and environmental toll of its business activities through actionable SER measures in line with the SER Policy. Sharp is making efforts through a fundamental strategy of proceeding with sustainable management aimed at the achievement of the SDGs.
Sharp will continue to step up its efforts in ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and improve its ESG rating, while at the same time building a solid management foundation to support sustainable growth and contributing to the realization of a sustainable society.
To execute these policies and manage them in a PDCA cycle, the company launched the Sharp Global SER Committee (SGSC), which is chaired by the President & COO of Sharp and comprises members of top management, Head Office divisions such as environment, personnel, and procurement, business units, and subsidiaries. The SGSC engrains policies and visions into the Sharp Group, discusses crucial measures, and shares the latest trends in social issues.
Identifying Material Issues
A spate of international long-term goals that seek solutions for social issues at the global level, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement*1, have been announced, and there is a growing interest in human rights issues such as forced labor in global supply chains. As such, expectations continue to grow for companies to put forth an effort to address these goals and issues.
Against this backdrop, Sharp, in its aim to contribute to achieving these goals to solve global-level social issues, is identifying material issues for the Sharp Group from a medium- to long-term perspective and is carrying out initiatives for sustainable management.
In identifying the material issues, the more crucial issues were selected after reviewing management policy, business strategy, the SDGs, and international guidelines and principles, such as the UN Global Compact, as well as the opinions and expectations of various stakeholders, the effect of Sharp’s business activities on stakeholders, and the results of assessments by ESG research and rating institutions.
The major CSR themes selected were mapped along the two axes of “importance to society (level of stakeholder expectations)” and “level of importance to the Sharp Group,” and the issues to be prioritized were identified.
Moreover, Sharp is positioning the strengthening of governance as the basis for all of its corporate activities. It is organizing the identified material issues along the two perspectives of offering solutions to social issues through innovation and reducing the social and environmental impact of its business activities.
|Solutions to social issues through innovation|
|Reducing the social and environmental impact of Sharp’s business activities|
|Corporate governance, risk management, compliance, information security, others|
- *1 An international framework for the prevention of global warming agreed on at the 21st yearly session of the Conference of the Parties to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), held in Paris in 2015. The agreement was to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
- *2 RBA: Responsible Business Alliance. Founded in 2004 by a group of leading electronics companies including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell, the RBA, formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), has a code of conduct covering the social, environmental, and ethical responsibilities in the global supply chain of its members in the electronics and a wide range of other industries.
Monitoring Material Issues
Sharp is monitoring the integration of identified material issues at the level of specific and measurable actionable policies.
Regarding solutions to social issues through innovation, Sharp has established a medium- to long-term vision for each business unit and subsidiary to contribute to achieving the SDGs. Progress on this vision is reported and confirmed.
For the reduction of the social and environmental impact of Sharp’s business activities, each year Sharp formulates company-wide SER priority policy guidelines. Each business unit and subsidiary selects priority measures that are crucial to their operations, sets SER measures (including goals, KPIs, scope, and action plans), makes efforts to achieve them, and conducts self-assessments each quarter.
The Sharp Global SER Committee performs ongoing follow-ups on the progress of implementation of the SER measures for each business unit and subsidiary. Company-wide progress is shared and evaluated. The fiscal 2020 SER measures progressed largely as planned in all business units and subsidiaries. However, the topics with remaining issues and the measures to be taken for improvement are being reviewed.
Moreover, regarding the strengthening of governance, in addition to confirming the status of efforts at company-wide meetings for each of the topics, the responsible divisions for each topic sets and pushes forward with annual goals. The goals and achievements are disclosed on the relevant pages of the “Governance” section of the Sharp Sustainability Report.
Fiscal 2020 Company-Wide SER Priority Policy Guidelines
|SER Measures||Scope||Related SDGs|
|Restrict long working hours that can lead to health problems||All employees in Japan||
|Prevent harassment||All employees in Japan||
|Respect for human rights at overseas bases||All employees at overseas bases||
|Respond to new initiatives in responsible minerals procurement||Applicable business units||
|Carry out SER performance surveys/audits at Sharp plants based on international SER standards (RBA*1 Code of Conduct)||All production sites and consolidated production subsidiaries in Japan||
|Carry out SER surveys on an ongoing basis at suppliers in accordance with SDGs/ESG||Suppliers|
|Reduce and recycle waste||All production sites||
|Suppress greenhouse gas emissions associated with business activities||All production sites||
|Suppress greenhouse gas emissions associated with product use (Make products more energy-efficient)||Product-related business units||
|Comply with EU RoHS Directive*2 (eliminate the use of restricted substances) and WEEE Directive*3 (use of recycled materials)||All business units||
- *1 RBA: Responsible Business Alliance. Founded in 2004 by a group of leading electronics companies including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell, the RBA, formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), has a code of conduct covering the social, environmental, and ethical responsibilities in the global supply chain of its members in the electronics and a wide range of other industries.
- *2 RoHS: Restriction of Hazardous Substances. An EU directive on the restriction on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment.
- *3 WEEE: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. An EU directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment.
Risk Evaluation in Line with International Standards
Sharp believes that to ensure global business expansion is accompanied by the creation of a sustainable society, it is extremely important to conform to international standards.
Since fiscal 2015, the Sharp Group has been using the Sharp Supply-Chain CSR Deployment Guidebook, which was created in line with the RBA* Code of Conduct (an international standard), as the guideline for its activities. It has been carrying out ongoing self-assessment surveys of Sharp production sites in Japan and overseas.
These surveys are carried out based on the RBA’s Self-Assessment Questionnaire and serve as a review and assessment of the status of SER-related activities at Sharp’s production sites. Sharp has added guidance to the self-assessment survey on things like the purpose of each question and the desirable implementation level of management measures in order to use the survey as a means of facilitating better understanding of international CSR standards among local managers.
In fiscal 2020, the survey was carried out at 28 plants in Japan and overseas. Following the survey, the answers to each question about activity status are scored (on a 100-point scale) according to Sharp’s independent criteria, and the level of activity in each area is ranked from A to D. Feedback is then provided to each site.
Survey responses from the bases are reviewed by head office functional divisions. If it is determined that a base’s efforts are inadequate or latent risks exist, the base in question is interviewed and provided with guidance for undertaking necessary improvement activities.
As a result, the average score for all factories in fiscal 2020 was 91.1 (A rank), which was even higher than last year’s survey score (90.7).
The survey conducted in fiscal 2020 included new factories that did not yet have a finalized management system in place and that received low scores in some areas. However, Sharp has been in communication with these sites to help them address and improve these issues.
As the graph below shows, nearly all sites scored 70 or higher (B rank) and maintain satisfactory conditions overall. No problems have been identified that pose an immediate, large CSR risk for the Sharp Group as a whole.
Surveys were again conducted in fiscal 2021 for the sake of ongoing improvement in the level of activities.
- * RBA: Responsible Business Alliance. Founded in 2004 by a group of leading electronics companies including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell, the RBA, formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), has a code of conduct covering the social, environmental, and ethical responsibilities in the global supply chain of its members in the electronics and a wide range of other industries.
Area-Specific Assessment Ranking Distribution
In order to ensure that, “Our future prosperity is directly linked to the prosperity of our customers, dealers and shareholders,” as stated in the company’s Business Philosophy, Sharp suitably discloses information to the diversity of stakeholders that it serves, including customers, suppliers, and local communities. Also, amidst the increasing focus on ESG-related investment, Sharp seeks dialogue with shareholders and investors and opens various other channels of communication to verify that it is responding to their needs and expectations. Sharp then applies the feedback it receives to its corporate activities and, thereby, contribute where it can to addressing social issues.
Sharp will continue to incorporate the voices of its stakeholders in making further improvements to its corporate activities.