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Case study: How Hitachi promotes community involvement and development

Hitachi’s diverse operations span the globe and involve a wide range of communities. As a good corporate citizen, Hitachi recognises the value of community interaction, and utilises its operational strengths to actively support local communities  Tweet This!, carrying out a range of activities that include youth development, the promotion of cultural diversity and environmental preservation.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Hitachi published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

Pursuing social contribution activities helps Hitachi participate in communities, establish longer-term relationships with them and contribute to their development. In order to promote community involvement and development Hitachi took action to:

  • implement a policy on social contribution activities
  • carry out surveys of social contribution activities
  • meet societal needs through the Hitachi Global Foundation

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Hitachi identified a range of material issues, such as corporate governance, fair operating practices, human rights, the environment, labour practices. Among these, promoting community involvement and development stands out as a key material issue for Hitachi.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Hitachi engages with:  

To identify and prioritise material topics Hitachi engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers

 

 

·      Customer satisfaction activities

·      Marketing

·      Website

·      Advertisement activities

Shareholders and Investors ·      Announcements of financial results (quarterly)

·      General shareholders’ meetings (annual)

·      IR events, one-on-one meetings (about 740 times/year)

·      IR tools: Integrated Report, business reports, etc.

Suppliers

 

 

·      Procurement activities

·      Supplier meetings

·      CSR monitoring (218 companies/year)

·      CSR audits (20 companies/year, annual)

Employees

 

 

·      Intranet, in-house newsletters

·      Training

·      Town hall meetings between senior management and employees (21 times/year)

·      Employee surveys (annual)

National and Local

Governments, Industrial Associations

·      Policy council participation

·      Participation in business and industry associations

Local Communities ·      Contribution to local communities through business

·      Participation in volunteer activities

Academic Associations and Research Institutions ·      Open innovation (joint research)
NGOs and NPOs ·      Stakeholder dialogue (4 times/year)

·      Dialogue through collaboration

Global Environment

What actions were taken by Hitachi to promote community involvement and development?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Hitachi reports that it took the following actions for promoting community involvement and development:

  • Implementing a policy on social contribution activities
  • In fiscal 2014, Hitachi revised its policy on social contribution activities, to proactively promote its activities through a new, Group-wide policy. This policy is based, among others, on employees’ flexible mindset and motivation brought about by volunteer activities that contribute to the development of sustainability in society as a whole. Accordingly, in 2012, Hitachi launched the Hitachi Volunteer Day. To mark the International Volunteer Day on December 5 every year, Hitachi encourages its employees every November and December to organise and participate in a broad range of volunteer activities, contributing to their communities. In fiscal 2015, Hitachi and the Hitachi Global Foundation offered 2,057 million yen in funding for global social contribution activities related to business activities, employee volunteers, and charitable activities in the fields of human development, the environment and community support.
  • Carrying out surveys of social contribution activities
  • Hitachi conducts surveys of social contribution activities – charitable gifts, community investment and commercial initiatives in the community – based on the LBG (London Benchmarking Group) measurement framework. This is an internationally recognised, global network of 114 companies that provides a framework for measuring corporate community investment. Hitachi constantly focuses on ways to strategically align its social contribution activities with its business, with efforts toward this goal including continual charitable activities and increased community investment, across the Hitachi Group. 
  • Meeting societal needs through the Hitachi Global Foundation
  • On April 1, 2015, five foundations in Japan – the Odaira Memorial Hitachi Education Foundation, the Kurata Memorial Hitachi Science and Technology Foundation, the Hitachi Environment Foundation, the Hitachi Scholarship Foundation and the Hitachi Mirai Foundation – merged into the Hitachi Global Foundation. The newly formed organisation’s aim is to develop the activities previously undertaken by the five foundations, to further meet societal needs. The Hitachi Global Foundation will utilise Hitachi’s experience and know-how to promote activities in three key areas: promotion of academic research, science and technology; human development; and support for local communities. The Foundation has a long-term view of how it will implement social contribution programmes across a range of societal needs, such as addressing the declining birthrate and the graying of society, responding to the rapid advancement of information technology, cultivating future human resources and revitalising local communities. Programmes include providing scientific research grants, nurturing future science- and engineering-related personnel, offering scholarships to faculty at universities, and addressing global issues facing the socially vulnerable, including youths and the elderly.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs

2) Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities

 

Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 413-2 Operations with significant actual and potential negative impacts on local communities corresponds to:

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Hitachi, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Hitachi: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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