As of January 2023
About a year has passed since I was appointed as an Outside Director. The world has changed dramatically in just that short period of time, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine, skyrocketing resource and energy prices, and transformation of the nature of globalization. On top of the unparalleled challenge for the petroleum industry to achieve a decarbonized society, which has been lying ahead for some time, we are now faced with new operational threats and uncertainties.
With a mission of being “Your Reliable Partner for a Brighter Future,” how will we fulfill our responsibility toward society and people amid these circumstances and bring about a future of carbon neutrality? The answer is anything but simple, but I respect the fact that the executives have provided careful explanations and engaged in serious and open discussions in response to the questions and concerns I have brought up as an Outside Director with an external perspective. As a result, I believe the initiatives that we should work on in terms of our business domains, investments, and more have become more clear. Sound and effective operations of the Board of Directors are the very starting point of governance.
Going forward, it is imperative that we chart and implement specific course to achieve business portfolio and business model evolution for the future. While maintaining high expectations, I will adopt a serious attitude and contribute as an Outside Director so that we can continue to be a company that is needed by society, sincerely engaging with our various stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, local communities, employees, and the global environment.
As an energy company, we have a major social responsibility to support the daily activities of those in local communities and the industrial activities of Japan through the stable supply of energy. At the same time, considering the impact of fossil fuels on the global environment, we have a responsibility to future generations to transform our business model and promote innovation.
Investors and financial institutions all over the world are becoming ever more averse to the fossil fuel business, so energy companies in Europe and the United States are in a rush to break away from their dependence on fossil fuels.
We, too, are developing new businesses that address the transition of energy and mobility, including advanced materials such as solid-state electrolytes for lithium batteries and sustainable aviation fuel.
As a company that continues to support community life and industry, we must accelerate these efforts and remain a company that is needed even in the new era of the green society.
There will be no shortage of uncertainties or unpredictable elements along the way to a green society. For that reason, I expect us to be sensitive to global developments and policy trends and listen to feedback from shareholders, investors, local communities, industry leaders, and our employees to move forward with them on implementing reliable innovation through dialog.
As of January 2023
One year has passed since I joined the D&I Promotion Committee launched in 2021 as an advisor.
The committee considers diversity and inclusion to be important pillars of us. What we seek is not to simply promote diversity of personnel but to create an environment in which all employees create value by respecting and recognizing each other’s individuality. I believe that will, in turn, lead to enhancement of our superiority and competitiveness.
As such, it is essential to realize both diversity and inclusion rather than just one or the other. They are like a puzzle. Having pieces of various colors and shapes (diversity) is the minimum requirement, while the dynamic action of connecting these pieces together (inclusion) is the only way to complete the picture made by the puzzle. Considering our situation as we work to achieve business portfolio evolution for the future, it would be impossible to paint a new picture without both diversity and inclusion. The Board of Directors is also focused on the activities of the D&I Promotion Committee.
Over this past year, I feel that we have been able to clarify what is needed to achieve both diversity and inclusion and how we need to change. With diversity, we have focused on identifying issues and coming up with solutions with a spotlight on gender. In the coming year, we will move to action and discuss other topics such as disabilities, nationality, and employment types. In regard to inclusion, we were able to establish a guiding light to aim for. The coming year will be when the group-wide targets are incorporated into the actions of individuals.
Our D&I has only just begun. Reaching the destination on this voyage will only be possible with the daily actions of the entire crew. I have high expectations for further progress on both diversity and inclusion.
The seventh SDG is affordable and clean energy. I believe it will become increasingly important for us to address this challenge while fulfilling our responsibility to provide a stable supply of energy.
As for affordable energy, if we were able to both literally deliver energy to the community and supply energy in a broader sense that includes energy and services that help people thrive, that would be the picture of success.
One example of those efforts is Smart Yorozuya. This is a new business model that utilizes our important infrastructure of service stations across the country as hubs for community-based services. We provide services that were previously unthinkable, including food trucks, medical checkup services, grocery sales, and car sharing systems using ultra-compact electric vehicles, while making use of digital technology.
I am confident that combining our strengths of a sales network rooted in the community, a business scale that covers all of Japan, and a corporate culture that boldly takes on new challenges, we will be able to keep providing a stable supply of energy to the community into the future while fully utilizing the latest technology and the power of data analysis.
In regard to clean energy, we must continue to work on creating a system for providing a stable supply of energy to all of Japan while shifting away from fossil fuels to new energy to address the issue of climate change. The Board of Directors, too, continues to recognize this as a management issue, and I will keep providing suggestions to our executives on how to address it.