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Contributing to Sustainability as a Global Common Vision While Boosting Both Our Economic and Social Value

Naoki Ono President Mitsubishi Materials CorporationNaoki Ono
Mitsubishi Materials Corporation

Aiming to Boost Both Our Economic and Social Value

At the Mitsubishi Materials Group, we aim to boost both our economic and social value in the following three directions, based on a corporate philosophy of “For People, Society and the Earth.”
First, as a corporate group that provides copper, precious metals, cement, and other materials and copper-based alloys, cemented carbide, ceramics and other functional materials, we will contribute to building a richer society by responding to the market demand with new products and applications utilizing new materials, and the combination of such. We will provide solutions to society from a global perspective, anticipating changes in the world and leveraging the technologies we have accumulated over many years.
Second, we will play a leading role in the recycling oriented society that is evolving globally. Many of the materials and products that we have been providing are based on the Earth’s finite mineral resources. The effective use of these resources also leads to the improvement of our competitiveness as a business enterprise. From a medium- and long-term perspective, we are promoting initiatives such as the use of existing business infrastructure (smelters & refineries, cement plants, and networks), development and advancement of recycling technologies, and expansion of the range of materials that can be recycled. We are also proactive in reviewing product designs to make them easier to recycle and automating recycling processes using IoT and AI.
Third, we will contribute to building a low-carbon society. Geothermal power generation, in which we harness the technologies we have developed in our mining development operations, and hydroelectric power generation, which we launched as part of our mining operations, have been playing a new social role as renewable energy in recent years. At the same time, we sincerely face the fact that we emit CO2 in various business activities, and make comprehensive and continuous efforts to reduce the environmental impact of those activities.
Looking ahead, I would like to see the Group will continue to work towards the persistent improvement of its corporate value while I wish in mind that someday we could build a world of manufacturing where we are capable of developing and supplying the same amount of clean energy as that required, where all products manufactured and provided by the Group can be recycled, and their resources recovered, one in which the Group contributes to people, society and the Earth through these efforts, and a wide range of other recycling initiatives.

Preventing the Recurrence of the Quality Issues

At the Mitsubishi Materials Group, we have been tackling three core issues to ensure that the quality issues that occurred in November 2017 onwards are not repeated.
First, to improve the insufficient communication in terms of both quantity and quality, members of senior management, myself included, personally visited manufacturing sites and offices, and increased the opportunities for a direct exchange of opinions with employees from every level. In these activities, senior management showed, even more clearly than before, a willingness to listen to the voices of others. These efforts have notably increased the amount of communication and laid the foundation for improving the quality of communication. We will take further steps to develop a frank and open workplace environment, where even negative information is shared quickly.
Next, with regard to fragility and the low standards of our compliance framework and awareness, we have established a system for comprehensive discussions on governance plans in place at each business site and checking the progress of the plans. We also have bolstered the functions of management departments and increased the frequency of audits. To establish ourselves as an organization of individuals who can identify and resolve issues on our own, we introduced training for members of senior management at Group companies and promoted small-group activities by employees at each business site. In addition, we conduct compliance awareness surveys continually and make use of findings from the surveys for further improvement.
Finally, concerning the insufficient resource allocation, we established the SCQDE approach as a guiding principle intended to clarify an order of priority to apply when performing business activities. The S stands for Safety and Health, C for Compliance and Environment, Q for Quality, D for Delivery, and E for Earnings. We have worked to promote awareness of this SCQDE approach across the entire Group, including sites outside Japan, starting from members of senior management. And we have cited the aging and deterioration of equipment and the gap between the work volume and available human resources as risks to address in a company-wide manner in fiscal 2020 and decided to properly understand and manage such risks.
While I feel that the efforts we have made to date have definitely been effective, we will look to steadfastly continue such efforts in an unrelenting push, so as to have this approach take root as part of our organizational culture.

Enhancement of Corporate Governance

Upon approval at the Ordinary General Meeting of Shareholders held in June 2019, we transitioned from a company with board of company auditors to a company with three designated committees (nomination, audit and remuneration committees). We will strive to achieve the three objectives of ensuring faster, higher-quality decision-making and business execution, strengthening the function for supervising business execution, and improving the transparency and fairness of management.
Because changes are taking place rapidly in our current business environment, we will be left behind unless we act quickly. However, we must avoid a decline in the quality of our decision-making that may result from excessive pursuit of speed.  
We have judged that being a company with nominating committee, etc. and applying the new structure is the best way to make decisions more quickly while also improving the quality of our decision-making. This is why we have decided to make the transition. With this, we will speed up the decision-making process by transferring authority to the chief executive officer and other executive officers while the Board of Directors will spend more time deliberating on core issues such as our basic philosophy, management strategies, risks, and business opportunities.
We will use this transition as an opportunity to make a fresh start and will keep making improvements, in an effort to establish a corporate governance system that will support the sustainable improvement of our corporate value.

Aiming for an Organization That Achieves Transformation and Evolution

Since our founder, Yataro Iwasaki, began mining operation in 1871, the Mitsubishi Materials Group has been growing by changing and renewing its business portfolio, thereby responding flexibly to significant changes in the environment. The mindsets towards transformation, with which we continue to take on challenges, have been passed down as part of our DNA at the Mitsubishi Materials Group.
To achieve our corporate philosophy of “For People, Society and the Earth” today and in the future, we need to pursue a business portfolio that enables us to boost both our economic and social value as a business enterprise and have in place organizations, a work environment, and human resources that support the process of boosting our value. Looking ahead, we are prepared to further transform and evolve ourselves in order to take sure strides toward what we aim to be.

Naoki Ono President Mitsubishi Materials Corporation