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Home / case studies / Case study: How Honda promotes women’s participation in its operations in Japan

Case study: How Honda promotes women’s participation in its operations in Japan

Honda carries out business operations globally, but the percentage of women in management positions in Japan remains low, at just 0.8%. As part of its efforts to expand women’s roles, Honda plans to triple the number of women holding management positions by 2020, compared to FY2015.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by Honda 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

Honda has been trying to expand women’s roles in its business activities in Japan since 2008, providing more opportunities by building awareness, introducing systems to help women achieve a work-life balance and implementing career support programmes. In order to promote women’s participation in its operations in Japan Honda took action to:

  • build awareness and promote an appropriate work climate
  • support career building
  • create an appropriate environment and systems

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Honda identified a range of material issues, such as conserving water resources, ensuring occupational health and safety, responding to climate change and energy issues, reducing traffic fatalities, respecting human rights. Among these, promoting women’s participation in its operations in Japan stands out as a key material issue for Honda.

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 Honda engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers ·      Customer satisfaction surveys

·      Enjoy Honda

Shareholders

and Investors

·      Shareholder meeting and briefings for institutional investors
National/Local

government

 

·      Dialogues concerning local government policies and available technologies

·      Feasibility studies

Economic and Industry organisations ·      Participation in councils
International organisations ·      Participation in international initiatives

 

NGOs ·      Regular communication

·      Response to surveys and questionnaires

Research institutes

 

·      Merchantability verification for products

·      Co-development of technologies

Media

 

·      Communication with journalists

·      New model launch events

Suppliers ·      Supplier networking events

·      Supplier risk assessments

Dealers ·      Dealer Conferences/briefings
Local communities

 

·      Plant tours

·      Social activities by associates

Associates ·      Associate satisfaction surveys

·      Dialogue between executives and associates

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Honda collected feedback from stakeholders through dialogue with leading environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) rating agencies and NGOs in Europe and the United States.

What actions were taken by Honda to promote women’s participation in its operations in Japan?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report Honda reports that it took the following actions for promoting women’s participation in its operations in Japan:

  • Building awareness and promoting an appropriate work climate
  • In an effort to “Build awareness and foster an appropriate work climate,” Honda has been organising several lectures and seminars for management-level associates and female associates. Since 2015, in addition to lectures for members of company management and general, office and factory managers, Honda has held a seminar for associates in management positions 39 times, with 3,600 participants. An additional seminar has also been provided to all female associates. To deal with work climate and work style issues, in FY2017 Honda started holding a work climate and work style lecture (19 times with approximately 800 participants) and a management support workshop (seven times with about 100 participants) for members of company management and general, office and factory managers. These activities helped management-level associates better recognise and understand issues related to an appropriate work climate and various work styles. In addition, to provide greater motivation to female associates and form a network among them, Honda organised a Diversity Forum, in which members of company management also participated. The Forum was organised for female associates holding management positions in 2016 and was extended to include chief supervisors in 2017 (total participation of approximately 500 associates).
  • Supporting career building
  • To “Support career building” and accelerate the nurturing of female associates focusing on the individual, Honda launched a programme in which supervisors create long-term, specific career development plans for aspiring female associates. Career advisors hold individual interviews with applicants to support their career building and, since 2015, such interviews were held with a total of 1,700 female associates. For female associates who have not received support through a career plan or consultation, Honda offered a total of 17 training sessions, including training to select a career theme for middle- and higher-level associates and training to build a career base for young associates. Additionally, in July 2016 Honda introduced a career support programme in child-rearing years to foster career development. In August 2017, Honda also started providing a seminar for female associates and their spouses on balancing work with child care.
  • Creating an appropriate environment and systems
  • Honda seeks to “Create an appropriate environment and systems,” to respond to associates’ diversifying needs and enable them to balance work and their desired lifestyles. Thus, in October 2016, Honda launched a half-day paid leave system. Honda also launched a system of working at home, and a system to provide financial support for child care in order to enhance its systems of short working hours and temporary nursery services. In April 2017 Honda also opened a company nursery in the Tochigi district and, in April 2018, in the Wako district. In addition, for associates forced to leave their job after a transfer of their spouses, Honda started, in April 2018, providing a system of transfer and a system of leave to accompany their spouses, in addition to its existing career reinstatement programme.

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

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

2) Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees

 

Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Employee training and education

Disclosure 405-1 Diversity of governance bodies and employees corresponds to:

 

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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 Honda, 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/

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