Sumitomo Chemical was founded in 1913 with the dual goal to solve environmental problems and address societal challenges. It has always been a guiding premise that our business activities must not merely seek to generate business profits but must contribute broadly to society. We have upheld this founding principle as we have evolved throughout changing times.
We recognize the 17 SDGs as a very comprehensive assessment of critical challenges facing both developed and developing countries. Compared to the former Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs better integrate the urgencies of ending poverty and sustainable development for the next generation and draw close connections between each goal.
The SDGs have helped us foster awareness of global problems, including the availability of food, natural resources and energy. We recognize that private-sector-led innovation is expected to play a major role in delivering solutions to the goals.
Our current Corporate Business Plan reinforces our commitment to sustainability. We strive to bring innovative technologies and products to the market and contribute to the SDGs by using the creative power of chemistry. Our contributions to the SDGs are categorized by Technology and Products, Responsible Care and Social Activities.
To further anchor the SDGs in our strategic thinking and corporate identity, we have launched the following initiatives since 2016.
We have identified our products and technologies that provide solutions to global challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation as Sumika Sustainable Solutions. For example, we offer a variety of products that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions or prevent environmental degradation. By raising the awareness and spreading the use of these products and technologies, we can offer solutions that help build a sustainable society and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. So far, we have identified 34 Sumika Sustainable Solutions, representing about €2.1 billion in sales in 2016. We continue to actively grow the market uptake of these solutions.
We have used the SDG framework to invite all employees worldwide – be it from management or operations – to post views, ideas or aspirations about actions everyone can take towards building a sustainable society and about how the company can contribute to the SDGs. Our Sustainable Tree Program uncovers and emphasizes the connections between important global issues and each employee’s work. While we are still reviewing the results and are working towards making this program an interactive groupwide communications platform, we can already note that this unique project has confirmed our work to be meaningful and rewarding and has prompted participants to explore future business needs related to solving societal challenges. The project continues to inspire our people in Japan and abroad and underpins the understanding that each of us can contribute to achieving the SDGs.
The project’s greatest feature has been that employees can participate at any time and from any place around the world. Ideas can be shared by using a computer, smartphone or tablet. We have also created a dedicated website for all employees to use and developed a widely circulated Manga which explains the Sustainable Tree Program and SDGs to our employees. The Manga was made available in 11 languages and in 2017 and we received over 9,000 postings from members of Sumitomo Chemical Group companies.
We continue to vigorously take on the challenges that the SDGs represent and that lie in creating a sustainable society. Under the leadership of our top management, we are all encouraged to fully exercise our creativity as we engage in our day-to-day business.