President's Message "To All Members of the Sumitomo Chemical Group"
Dec. 15, 2020
Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd.
As COVID-19 continues to rage across the world, I would like to start by offering my deepest sympathies to all employees and their family members who have unfortunately caught the coronavirus.
The chemical industry, as an essential industry, has a social responsibility to continue to provide stable supplies of the numerous products that support the foundations of society. In order to fulfill that responsibility, we have for some time been taking demanding measures to prevent the spread of infection. As a result, there has been a high level of stress in our workplaces, especially on the front lines of production. Thankfully, however, within our Group, we have been able to continue business operations without major issues. This is entirely thanks to your day-to-day hard work, as well as the support of your families. I would like to once again express my gratitude.
There is only a little time left in this year. Looking back on the global economy in 2020, there were concerns for a while that we could face an economic crisis that would significantly exceed the financial crisis of 2008. Now, however, the general view is that while there is some variation between countries, since summer, the situation overall has been heading towards recovery, especially in China. The impact on our Group’s performance was also smaller than we had anticipated. We expect to be able to secure net income for this fiscal year that is in line with the previous year.
Moreover, I think we should note that we have had three pieces of good news this year, the turning point year for our Corporate Business Plan. The first is that we have terminated the completion guarantee for Rabigh Phase II Project financing, sweeping off part of the concerns that our financial condition might worsen. The second is that, despite the ongoing spread of COVID-19, we have completed the acquisition of the crop protection businesses in South America, and the post-merger integration is also progressing smoothly. The third is that development is going well for the new post-Latuda blockbuster drug candidates, such as relugolix and vibegron. These all represent the achievement of important milestones that are essential for the medium-to-long-term growth of our Group.
At the same time, looking at the world at large, one of the trends that has developed through this pandemic is a greater awareness of, and concern about, sustainability. In particular, the problem of climate change is now at a point where we can no longer afford to wait and see.
The Japanese government has followed China in publishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets to achieve the goals set forth in the Paris Agreement. The US is expected to rejoin the Paris Agreement once Mr. Biden takes office as President in January of next year. As the major countries that emit the largest amounts of greenhouse gasses fall into step, it may be expected that efforts to reduce emissions will accelerate, but the hurdles we have to face before achieving our goals are still extremely high. Innovation and technological transformation will be essential to resolving this issue, and I am certain the chemical industry will have an even greater role to play in these efforts.
We in the Sumitomo Chemical Group need to first carry out the major initiatives we have been working on. We will continue to strive to achieve our goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which have been certified by the Science Based Targets organization. At the same time, we will continue our steady efforts to spread products and technologies that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions through our Sumika Sustainable Solutions initiative.
The environment that surrounds us has changed dramatically due to this pandemic. I truly feel, however, that despite this, what remains unchanged are the values that Sumitomo Chemical has long treasured, namely, Sumitomo’s business principles—in other words, our determination to resolve the issues facing society and thereby grow as a company.
This is the Sumitomo Chemical Group’s firm reason for existence in society and our purpose. Since November, our Global Project “For a Sustainable Future—JIRI RITA” is under way, with all members of the Sumitomo Chemical Group joining to share our corporate philosophy and come together as a group to promote sustainability. With a firm determination that the Sumitomo Chemical Group will become an innovation leader, let us continue to boldly take on the challenges of this era of change.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone in the Group a joyous holiday season, and express my hope that you will be able to welcome in the new year in good health and with renewed confidence in our future.