The founder continued to ponder the true mission of the business, and on May 5, 1932, he assembled all of his employees to make a powerful proclamation. The Panasonic Group refers to this as Meichi, the revelation of our corporate mission.
The founder said, "Our mission as industrialists is to overcome poverty and bring wealth to society. Only for this purpose will companies be allowed to prosper." Like tap water in Japan at that time, which would flow freely from the faucet, the price of goods should be as low as possible. In other words, eliminating poverty will be accomplished by producing an inexhaustible supply of goods.
However, the founder indicated the true intent of his Tap Water Philosophy with these words: "Human happiness can be maintained and enhanced through both material and spiritual affluence. Only when spiritual peace of mind is combined with a limitless supply of material goods can true happiness be achieved."
To achieve this mission, the founder set forth a 250-year plan, consisting of ten successive phases of 25 years, with the goal of achieving a "land of peace and prosperity," that is, an ideal society. Moreover, the plan should not end after the first 250 years, but should be extended for the next 250 years, striving for higher ideals in a manner appropriate to the era.
Although the Tap Water Philosophy was formulated some 90 years ago, the goal of achieving material and spiritual affluence is just as valid in today's world.
In fact, many societies, especially those in developed nations, are replete with material goods, but particularly in view of rapidly worsening environmental destruction and depletion of energy resources, there is great concern that our children, grandchildren, and the generations to come may not be able to enjoy the affluent lives we now lead.
So far, we have been engaged in business mainly from the perspective of increasing material abundance through supplying goods. However, this is far from the ideal society our founder envisioned. Still, we cannot go back to the past now. We must once again envision an ideal society, one with both material and spiritual abundance, and move forward to realize it.
To realize our ideal society, we must squarely address social issues as they arise and contribute to their resolution. Of these, global environmental issues should be given the highest priority in the 21st century.
The Panasonic Group set forth its own Environmental Charter in 1991 ahead of other companies, and we have been grappling with this issue for many years. Going forward, to be a company that leads the way in addressing environmental issues, we must continue taking proactive steps from a variety of perspectives, including minimizing the damage to the environment by our products and services and reducing the amount of energy we use in our production activities.