Sumitomo Chemical is tackling various challenges facing humanity, specifically poverty, climate change, and educational and gender inequality. On this front, we are going beyond just complying with international regulations and are working with a range of organizations, including various international organizations and NPOs as well as other companies, to actively participate in initiatives.
Some of the major sustainability-related initiatives in which Sumitomo Chemical participates take a general approach and some focus on one among a variety of specific causes, such as the environment, health, hygiene, human rights, and equality.
Initiative Participation Record
Our UN Global Compact Activities
The Sumitomo Chemical Group became the first Japanese chemical company to become a participant in the UN Global Compact (UNGC) in January 2005 and has been a participant in the GC LEAD since its launch in November 2011.
At the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2018, which was held at the UN Headquarters in New York in September 2018, the Group was recognized as a GC LEAD Company. This recognition reflected our ongoing contributions to the UNGC and an assessment of our business activities as being in line with the UNGC’s Ten Principles, which cover four categories (human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption).
The UNGC is a voluntary initiative that encourages participating companies and organizations to help create a global framework for realizing sustainable growth and take action as a good member of society by demonstrating responsible and creative leadership. Over 13,000 companies and organizations have signed on.
To spur greater contributions from LEAD companies, the UNGC clarified the LEAD company certification standards. As a result, 34 companies around the world have been certified as LEAD companies, including Sumitomo Chemical and one other Japanese company.
LEAD Company Certification Standards
- Participate in at least two UNGC action platforms, contribute to UNGC activities on an ongoing basis, and clearly demonstrate leadership in line with the Ten Principles and Global Goals
- Release an annual sustainability report detailing the progress of initiatives for the Ten Principles
Note: Regarding our initiatives for the UNGC’s Ten Principles, this Data Book serves as our annual activity report (Communication on Progress (COP)). We are working to be highly transparent with regard to disclosure and reference the UNGC’s advanced-level standards.
In 2018, we continued to participate in two action platforms: Breakthrough Innovation for the SDGs and Pathways to Low-Carbon and Resilient Development. In Breakthrough Innovation for the SDGs, we participated in a workshop aimed at building a “Framework for Breakthrough Impact on the SDGs through Innovation,” and deepened our alliances with various companies. In Pathways to Low-Carbon and Resilient Development, we participated in the Ambition Loop, which is a collection of case studies about public-private cooperation to create zero-carbon economic growth, and introduced our own activities.
In addition, in September 2018, we participated in the 10th annual UN Private Sector Forum held in New York City, and conducted networking and information sharing activities.
Our WBCSD*1 Activities
In the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we partnered with member companies in the chemical sector to participate in various initiatives.
In 2018, we participated in formulating the Chemical Sector SDG Roadmap, which organizes sustainability-related fields and issues pertaining to the chemical industry using the SDG framework with the aim of realizing sustainability. (Participating companies and organization: AkzoNobel, Covestro, The Dow Chemical Company, Evonik Industries AG, SABIC, DSM, Solvay, Mitsubishi Chemical HD, Sumitomo Chemicals, The American Chemistry Council (ACC), The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic))
In addition, in 2019, we participated in the formulation of the WBCSD TCFD Chemical Sector Guidance. The guidance explains how to make effective disclosures in the four frameworks of the TCFD for the chemical sector and details the fundamental elements needed to analyze scenarios. (Participating companies: BASF, DSM, Solvay, AkzoNobel, Sumitomo Chemical)
*1 WBCSD: This organization was established to advocate for business sector views on sustainable development. The group weighs in at international conferences, such as the World Economic Forum, the B20 Summit, and the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC.
Initiatives for TCFD recommendations
Sumitomo Chemical has viewed global climate change as one of the highest-priority challenges facing society, and to solve this problem, Sumitomo Chemical is actively working to reduce greenhouse gases by taking advantage of the technology we have cultivated as a diversified chemical company. We hope to secure the trust of society by using the framework of TCFD recommendations and actively communicating our efforts, with the recognition that disclosing information on addressing climate change reflects the demands of the current era.
Our Efforts through Participation in External Initiatives
|June 2017||Supported TCFD recommendations concurrently with their publication|
|From August to December 2018||
Joined in the TCFD Study Group led by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
|Since December 2018||
Joined WBCSD*2 TCFD Preparer Forum
|Since May 2019||Joined the TCFD consortium established by Japanese industrial and financial communities|
Participating in the New Global Environmental Initiative the Alliance to End Plastic Waste
Sumitomo Chemical joined the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), launched on January 2019, as one of the founding members. The AEPW is a new alliance of global companies formed to advance solutions to eliminate plastic waste in the environment, especially in the ocean.
The AEPW is a not-for-profit organization composed of global companies across the entire spectrum of industries associated with the plastics lifecycle, from production through waste processing.
Given that plastics are useful materials widely used in every part of modern life, the AEPW will undertake a number of initiatives in collaboration with such global organizations as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to minimize and manage plastic waste in the environment. The goal is to invest $1.5 billion over the next 5 years, mainly in the following four key areas.
- Infrastructure development to collect and manage waste and increase recycling
- Innovation to advance and scale new technologies that make recycling and recovering plastics easier and create value from all post-use plastics
- Education and engagement of governments, businesses, and communities to encourage action
- Clean up of concentrated areas of plastic waste already in the environment, particularly the major conduits of waste, like rivers, that carry land-based plastic waste to the sea
Sumitomo Chemical believes that one of the greatest challenges facing our society is growing environmental risks resulting from plastic waste. Sumitomo Chemical’s participation in the AEPW will prompt the Company to further accelerate its efforts to help end plastics waste in cooperation with other participating companies that share the same aspirations.
Our ICCA*3 Activities
Sumitomo Chemical participated in the Global Working Group on Energy and Climate Change of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). We contributed to joint international research related to helping reduce GHG emissions through chemical products and technologies. We also worked to promote the spread of the results of the research.
In addition, we also participate in the leader group for chemical substance policy and health. We conduct surveys related to regulatory trends around the world and mechanisms for relaying information on chemical substances contained in products. We also cooperate in promoting widespread product stewardship in each participating country, focusing on those in Asia. Furthermore, we participated in a task force on plastic waste problems and in discussions based on sound science related to problems surrounding microplastics and plastic substitutes.
This organization was established to harmonize the strategies of chemical industry associations and councils around the world through dialogue and cooperation. As the principal representative of the chemical industry, ICCA presents opinions to international organizations about key topics shared by its members and various activities of the chemical industry.
Our WEPs Activities
In 2013, the Group (under the President’s name) endorsed the “Women’s Empowerment Principles” (WEPs), which were formulated through collaboration between United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and UN Women. Since 2015, we have participated in the annual WEPs forum. Furthermore, we have engaged in global efforts aimed at promoting the WEPs in Japan and overseas, such as participating in the Global Compact Network Japan’s (UNGC Japan’s local network) WEPs Subcommittee as a leading company. In addition, we have used the Gap Analysis Tool, a self-analysis mechanism provided by the UN WEPs Secretariat and, based on the results of the analysis, are working to improve various measures.
At the 2018 annual WEPs forum, the Sumitomo Chemical Group’s regional headquarters president of the U.S. region was featured as a panelist and gave a presentation on measures the Company has taken to promote the advancement of women. Said president was also invited to and participated in the CEO roundtable held at the UN Headquarters in March 2019 in advance of the annual WEPs forum. There he introduced the Company’s activities and called attention to One Action for Goal 5. In addition, in conjunction with International Women’s Day (March 8), to raise greater awareness among every employee about our efforts to promote the advancement of women, we posted about the Company’s WEPs-related efforts on the internal intranet and notified all employees. In connection with this, we conducted PR activities, such as handing out cookies featuring the Goal 5 logo to the Tokyo Head Office employees as well as external visitors.