Background and Goals of Panasonic's Corporate Citizenship Activities
Panasonic believes that, to achieve a sustainable society, there is a pressing duty to deal with global warming and other environmental issues, the exhaustion of resources and energy sources, poverty, inequality, and social problems such as an aging society with a lower birth rate. Panasonic also believes that nurturing the next generation will be crucial if society is to be able to respond to these issues.
Consequently, Panasonic believes that the most effective areas in which it can contribute are responding to environmental and energy-related issues and supporting the development of the next generation—both initiatives making full use of the experience and resources that Panasonic has gained through its environmentally conscious products, technological development, and manufacturing. Thus, these two initiatives are the thematic focuses of Panasonic's corporate citizenship activities.
Exemplary Activities, Initiative Targets
This section presents exemplary initiatives—as well as their goals—taken from among the various specific activities in which Panasonic is engaged based on its thematic focuses.
Promoting Environmental Education Globally
Panasonic has set a target to provide environmental education* to two million children around the world before fiscal 2019—which coincides with the centennial of Panasonic’s founding in the calendar year of 2018. Panasonic has been promoting environmental education globally since fiscal 2010.
Employees in regions around the world are using original Panasonic learning materials to promote environmental education in ways that are aligned with the environmental conditions of each particular region.
In cooperation with the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, Panasonic is also running the World Heritage Eco Learning Program, whose goals are the preservation of world heritage sites and environmental protection. In this program, children visit actual world heritage sites and learn about the importance of these sites and the global environment through lectures, field trips, workshops, and other activities.
As a result of this and other initiatives, Panasonic has provided environmental education to around 2.4 million children around the world as of the end of fiscal 2015 in March. Through the company's efforts, the goal was met four years earlier than planned. Panasonic will continue these initiatives as well as refine them.
Management System for Corporate Citizenship Activities
Scope of the Management System
Based on the Global Policy outlined below, Panasonic is engaged in a variety of activities in regions around the globe, each tailored to the circumstances in that area. The company defines key performance indicators (KPIs) for each activity and uses these to evaluate results and make improvements. Through Corporate Citizenship Activity Newsletters, the relevant directors and executives—from the Panasonic president on down—share information concerning Panasonic activities in regions around the world with those in charge of those activities in the various locales. In addition, Panasonic conducts global annual surveys of its corporate citizenship activities and publicly releases the findings on its Sustainability site.
Setting and Evaluating Policies
Every three years, Panasonic drafts a mid-term plan and also establishes policies and areas of focus for its corporate citizenship activities. Panasonic determines its areas of focus by comprehensively taking into account company business policies, conditions in society, societal demands, expert opinions, and other considerations. For each activity, the company also establishes KPIs, the attainment of which it periodically checks and reflects in the next actions it takes.
Example of Setting KPIs for a Program for Supporting the Enhancement of Organizational Infrastructure of NPOs / NGOs
Key Goal Indicator (KGI)
Promoting the resolution of social problems through a program for supporting the enhancement of organizational infrastructure
Critical Success Factor (CSF)
Planning and implementation of a program for supporting the enhancement of organizational infrastructure
Appealing to society about the importance of strengthening organizational infrastructure
Key Performance Indicator (KPI)
Degree to which issues have been resolved, number of groups that received support with improved / higher outcomes
Numbers of participants at events, study sessions, briefings, etc.
Panasonic considers education and coexistence to be the guiding principles behind its activities aimed at bringing about a sustainable society. Globally, the company is rolling out corporate citizenship activities (social contributions made as a corporate citizen) with the environment and energy and supporting the development of the next generation as their areas of focus and is working on solving societal problems.
Panasonic considers its corporate citizenship activities to be an investment in society. In order to strengthen the bedrock of civil society, Panasonic is actively partnering and cooperating with multiple stakeholders.
Activities, in the form of corporate investment in society, should be incorporated as part of management strategy.
The areas of focus shall be the environment and energy and supporting the development of the next generation.
Corporate Headquarters will set and communicate a global strategy and will lead activities that span multiple regions. Panasonic's regional offices will take the lead on regional strategy and activities.
Responsible Executive and Framework
The person responsible for Panasonic's corporate citizenship activities (as of July 2015) is Executive Officer Satoshi Takeyasu.
The department with primary responsibility over such activities is the CSR & Citizenship Department of the Groupwide Brand Communications Division. In addition, the six regional headquarters (North America; Latin America; Europe & CIS; South East Asia and Pacific; India, South Asia, Middle East and Africa; China & Northeast Asia) and the four Panasonic Companies (Appliances, Eco Solutions, AVC Networks, and Automotive & Industrial Systems) have established social contribution managers who engage in activities that are based on Panasonic's global policies but are tailored to local conditions.
Participation by Panasonic Employees in Corporate Citizenship Activities
Concerning Panasonic's corporate citizenship activities, this chapter discusses "Employee Participation-Based Voluntary Activities" and the "Human Resources System for Supporting the Promotion of Employee Participation."
Employee Participation-Based Voluntary Activities
Panasonic Innovation Volunteer Team (PIVoT)
The Panasonic Innovation Volunteer Team (PIVoT) uses the skills that Panasonic employees have gained in their day-to-day work to engage in volunteer activities with NGOs active in emerging nations, with the aim of resolving the problems that those organizations face. Panasonic uses PIVoT activities both to contribute to societies in various regions and to engage in a deeper study of the lives and mores in those communities, of various social issues, and of sustainable lifestyles. What is learned is used in creating new business (products, business models, etc.).
Since the inauguration of PIVoT in 2012—and through eight phases of activities—12 Panasonic employees have engaged in supporting NGOs active in Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Cambodia.
Panasonic Innovation Workshop
The Panasonic Innovation Workshop is a voluntary participation-based workshop that studies issues emerging and developing countries face and proposes plans of resolution based on local perspectives.
Mixed teams composed of members from different business divisions make these proposals. Through group work, the teams offer suggestions for practical approaches that make use of Panasonic resources (technology, networks, etc.) to improve living conditions in an area. These activities continue to give rise to new products.
Providing a Donation Mechanism that Uses Employee Benefit Points
Panasonic is engaged in a project through which, by the company's centennial year of 2018, it will donate 100,000 Solar Lanterns—small lighting fixtures that are charged using solar power—in non-electrified regions of developing countries. In the three years since fiscal 2013, the company has donated around 40,000 units.
To provide opportunities for Panasonic employees to participate personally in this activity, the company has created a mechanism by which employees can donate a portion of the points it grants them for employee welfare services to the project.
Visiting Lectures at Schools
As part of its next-generation-support activities, Panasonic is providing visiting lectures. Company employees visit schools and use the knowledge and experience that they have gained from their everyday work to give lectures.
In fiscal 2015 in Japan, a total of 150 employees visited about 550 schools. In 27 countries and regions globally, 659 Panasonic employees have engaged in activities to support the development of the next generation, including by acting as guest lecturers.
Panasonic NPO Support Pro Bono Program
Panasonic has been running a social contribution program since April 2011 in which company employees use the skills and experiences that they have gained through their jobs to support NPOs—the Panasonic NPO Support Pro Bono Program. So far, a total of 99 company employees have provided support for 15 organizations through pro bono activities, including by formulating mid-term plans, drafting marketing materials, and rebuilding websites. As of May 2015, 128 Panasonic employees have registered as volunteers.
Volunteering to Support the Reconstruction and Restoration of Areas Affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake
Since the immediate aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Panasonic has been recruiting volunteers from among its employees and carrying out support activities in the affected areas. The company is listening to the ever-changing needs of the affected regions and—in partnership with labor unions—has been involved in a variety of activities, including rubble clearing, providing visiting lectures, visiting temporary housing units, and working on unimproved land. Since the start of the program in June 2011, a total of 397 employees have worked as Panasonic volunteers.
Human Resources System for Supporting the Promotion of Employee Participation
Volunteering Vacation System
Each Panasonic employee receives five days of Volunteering Vacation time every year. When taking vacation time for the purpose of volunteering, the company takes special notice and allows employees to take consecutive days off.
Volunteering Sabbatical Leave System
This is a system for sabbaticals whose goal is participation in volunteering activities.
Activities covered by this system include volunteering led by the national government, local public bodies, and other public institutions, as well as those volunteer activities led or recommended by the company or the labor union and approved by the company. (However, political or religious activities are not allowed.)
Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers Leave of Absence System
This system offers leaves of absence for young employees to participate in the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers program run by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Challenge Vacations (Life Juncture Vacations)
The Challenge Vacation system is intended to promote self-growth and refreshed minds and bodies among company employees. To allow employees to engage in their work with a new passion, employees may take vacation time at important junctures during their careers at Panasonic.
Employees who have completed 10, 20, or 30 years of consecutive service at the company (except for executives and managers) may take 10 days of vacation time.
Employees also take advantage of these days as opportunities for volunteering.
Panasonic measures the effectiveness of its activities in ways tailored to the particularities of each initiative. For activities aimed at enhancing the organizational infrastructure of NPOs / NGOs—for example, the Panasonic NPO Support Fund—the company conducts a follow-up survey with the organization that received assistance one year after the assistance work was completed. Third parties conduct quantitative and qualitative evaluations of how effectively an organization’s infrastructure has been strengthened. In a 2014 survey, 26 groups that received assistance in 2012 were asked whether the organizational management problems that they had faced at the time of applying for assistance had been resolved through the supportive work done by Panasonic. According to the results, 80.7% of groups responded that around 80%–120% of the target amount of problems had been resolved. Furthermore, in response to a question about whether the organizational infrastructure enhancement initiative had resulted in improved or higher outcomes / impacts for major work by the organization, all groups that had been subject to the initiative responded that improvements had been effected for at least one item. This demonstrates that the organizational infrastructure enhancement initiatives implemented through this assistance program are effective at improving outcomes or increasing the impacts of major work performed by the beneficiary groups.
* Japanese only