Our responsibility is to report information correctly. As a group, we will continue to take the initiative in acting to solve social issues.
Society faces numerous challenges today. A declining birthrate and aging population, child poverty, major natural disasters, repeated armed conflicts, and the global spread of COVID-19, just to name a few. Our responsibility is to report information on social issues correctly in light of our privilege to use the public airwaves. Our attitude toward fulfilling our social responsibility as a media-centered enterprise is naturally the same as manufacturers that produce physical goods. We ask ourselves how to face and solve issues as they affect us, not as a business, but as a member of society, and we believe it is important to take action based on these perspectives.
The ABC Group has pursued what can be considered CSR-related activities for the past 20 years. In the year 2000, we launched the Save Our Mother Earth environmental conservation campaign through TV programs that communicated the importance of environment. Our employees have been involved personally in numerous campaign activities, including beach cleaning in the San’in region and reed cutting along the Yodogawa River to make boats. To this day, we engage in nature observation events and other activities in collaboration with local communities.
In 2007, we launched a company-wide Future of Our Children Project to give children brighter hope for the future. After many years of these activities, we formulated the ABC Group CSR Basic Policy in 2018. This policy identifies three materialities as action guidelines: (1) Children, (2) Environment and Lifestyles, and (3) Culture. With regard to children, we hold ABCiee Classroom events in schools and online to help children acquire media literacy.
With regard to Environment and Lifestyles, we focus on communicating information on disaster prevention and mitigation, including a major project to release archived footage of natural disasters such as the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, typhoons, and floods.
In terms of Culture, we know that there are many historical areas such as Kyoto and Nara in the Kansai region that maintain various cultures and traditional performing arts representational of Japan, including flower arranging and the tea ceremony. The region is also home to many shrines, temples, and other cultural assets. The ABC Group pursues activities that support and nurture the rich, historical culture of the Kansai region.
The ABC Group is working swiftly to address women’s empowerment, work-style reform, and other social issues.
In August 2020, the ABC Group joined the SDG Media Compact in support of sustainable societies. As I mentioned earlier, it is our responsibility to report information correctly. Only the media has the capacity to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs directly and also extend a wide reach to people in and outside Japan. In August 2021, the ABC Group established the Sustainability Promotion Committee to accelerate efforts to engage with the SDGs and other social issues, as well as to pursue ESG management. We will continue addressing various issues related to sustainability, including actions on climate change and considerations toward the health and working environment of our employees. Our aim is to create sustainable societies while we increase our own corporate value in a sustainable manner.
In terms of environmental issues, we understand the need to move ahead quickly with programs to reduce our own environmental impact by adopting paperless offices, using renewable energy, etc.
Meanwhile, we are also focusing on two perspectives related to social issues. The first is regional revitalization. Our medium-term management strategy 2021-2025 NEW HOPE identifies creating businesses that contribute to regional revitalization and solutions to social issues as a priority target. We began activities related to this strategy in 2020, including regular online seminars and active discussions with local governments and tourism companies in the Kansai region and across Japan. Through these discussions, we address how to best build our network and identify local needs. We are also taking on new challenges to contribute to local communities. These activities include working with start-up companies funded by corporate venture capital (ABC DREAM VENTURES, Inc.) on disaster prevention and mitigation, the conservation and utilization of undeveloped woodland areas, etc.
The second perspective is to address issues within the group, which include empowering women and work-style reform. The ABC Group maintains our own value chain which entails many issues we have yet to solve. More than ever, these issues require management attention, and we are moving quickly to address them.
Last, I will discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact in terms of the environment and society. This pandemic has been a serious and new social issue, the response to which has been our responsibility as a media organization. What media organizations can do first in prioritizing the health and lives of employees and stakeholders is to provide a variety of information and opinions about the nature of the pandemic and COVID-19. As a media group, we will continue to endeavor to provide reliable information and encourage discussions about our society—both now and after the end of the pandemic—rather than stir up anxiety and a sense of crisis.
The ABC Group only exists because of the support we receive from our environment, society, and stakeholders. Without the understanding and cooperation of employees, local communities, customers, and shareholders, we could never address the mountain of social issues we face. We will continue to work together with you to achieve sustainable growth.
Representative Director and President
Asahi Broadcasting Group Holdings Corporation