Aiming to Become a “Glorious Excellent Company”
The Sumitomo Spirit encompasses the concept of corporate social responsibility.
The origin of Sumitomo dates back more than 400 years, with the Sumitomo Spirit serving as the underlying philosophy of its business operations. This corporate spirit advocates two business principles stated in the Rules Governing the House of Sumitomo established in 1882: “placing prime importance on integrity and sound management” and “pursuing profits by coping efficiently with changing times, while refraining from acting rashly and carelessly in pursuit of immediate temporary profits.” This spirit also embraces other traditional principles that have been passed down over generations, such as “attaching importance to technology,” “respect for human resources,” “long-range planning,” and “mutual prosperity, respect for the public good.”
Approximately one hundred years ago, Teigo Iba, the second Director General of Sumitomo, decided to relocate a copper smelting works in Besshi copper mine to an uninhabited island in the Seto Inland Sea, as a drastic solution to air pollution caused by sulfur dioxide gas generated from the refinery. A huge sum of money was invested in the relocation. Moreover, Iba started a reforestation project in the mountains of Besshi, which had been devastated by years of mining operations. To restore the natural environment, one million trees were planted every year. The third Sumitomo Director General, Masaya Suzuki, and his successors followed in Iba’s footsteps. Tree-planting activities became nationwide efforts. In 1939, a desulfurization and neutralization plant was constructed to offer an ultimate solution to cut smoke pollution.
The Sumitomo Spirit, which underlies these actions by successive directors, has been passed down from generation to generation as a common property of the Sumitomo Group, and shares common traits with the concept of CSR, which is today’s corporate buzzword.
Since its founding, Sumitomo Electric has consistently pursued business activities in harmony with society.
We at Sumitomo Electric have also upheld the Sumitomo Spirit as a basis of management. Since its founding in 1897, the Company has pursued harmony with society at all times and has carried out responsible business activities.
For instance, Sumitomo Electric fulfilled its corporate responsibility when the Great Kanto Earthquake hit Tokyo in 1923. Plants of electric wire manufacturers based in the Kanto region were devastated because of the earthquake, and prices of industrial materials such as copper increased sharply. As a key manufacturer capable of supplying electrical wires and cables, materials indispensable to post-quake reconstruction, we fulfilled our responsibility by offering these products at the same prices as before the disaster. Even in labor-management relations, the Company maintains these corporate principles of attaching importance to trust above all things and contributing to society in all circumstances. Learning lessons from the 1921 labor dispute, we decided to hold in-depth discussions between management and the union on any issue. By keeping subsequent agreements by all means, we have built a solid relationship of mutual confidence. As a result, we have never experienced another labor dispute up to today. To ensure sound corporate management, we make it a rule not to engage in speculative investments, such as the acquisition of real estates unrelated to our business operations. This policy has never been shaken even during the period of the Japanese economic bubble in the late 1980s.
We aim to become a “Glorious Excellent Company”.
On the basis of our history and tradition described above, when I became President of Sumitomo Electric, I identified the concept of the "Glorious Excellent Company" as the ideal state that the Sumitomo Electric Industries Group should become. The word "Glorious" represents the goals that we can achieve through embodying the Sumitomo Spirit and the Sumitomo Electric Group Corporate Principles, and "Excellent" symbolizes the quantitative business targets for the entire Sumitomo Electric Group. To become a "Glorious Excellent Company," we have to win trust from society by contributing greatly to it and realizing sustainable growth through business activities in accordance with the Sumitomo Electric Group Corporate Principles established based on the Sumitomo Spirit, which is the starting point for the Sumitomo Electric Group. I believe that this is precisely our Group’s corporate social responsibility.
Sumitomo Electric is making Group-wide efforts in such fields as compliance, environment, procurement and logistics, safety, quality, human rights, social contribution and information disclosure. While each of the departments in charge identifies its CSR challenges and sets its CSR targets proactively, we established the CSR Committee in July 2004 to monitor the progress of the departments and develop our CSR activities more steadily. In addition, we created the CSR Promotion Office in July 2010 to enhance our response to CSR issues on a global group-wide scale.
We hope that this website will help you to understand the efforts exerted by the Sumitomo Electric Group.
We sincerely hope that you will continue to provide us with further guidance and support in our endeavors.
President & CEO