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Third-party Opinion

Third-party Opinion on the Brother Group's CSR Activities in FY2016

The statement below is written based on the descriptions of the group's CSR efforts on Brother' corporate website and interviews with the company's staff responsible for the environment, production innovation, purchasing, quality, human resources and CSR.
The Brother Group has been properly and continuously committed to CSR activities, which include the proactive sharing of the Global Charter by both Brother's top management and employees in respective workplaces.

Highly evaluated points

CEO of IIHOE (International Institute and editor and publisher of SOCIO MANAGEMENT for Human, Organization and the Earth) Hideto DeDe Kawakita
CEO of IIHOE (International Institute for Human, Organization and the Earth) and editor and publisher of SOCIO MANAGEMENT
Hideto DeDe Kawakita
Hideto DeDe Kawakita
  • Sharing of the Brother Group Global Charter  (Global Charter): The Global Charter, which serves as Brother's guiding principle in CSR, has been translated into 27 languages. To promote this Charter, about 560 Global Charter promotional leaders have been appointed and acting around the world. The president and top management have committed to practice this Charter. In China, seven Brother facilities jointly held the "Cross-functional meeting for the Global Charter promotional leaders in China," and in Vietnam, managers were given an opportunity to think about ideal interdepartmental cooperation through training programs for all employees. In addition, the number of dialogues between top management and employees in respective workplaces has reached 731. As seen from these efforts, at Brother, its fundamental management principles are not shared in a top-down fashion, but through voluntary efforts by both top management and employees in respective workplaces around the world. These commendable efforts have achieved a high level that should be used as a global benchmark. I continuously and strongly expect Brother to set challenging action assignments for the 2020s in line with the Brother Group Principles of Social Responsibility  and to share its activities in the whole Brother value chain, including its business partners. Such activities to be shared include efforts and ingenious ideas in respective regions and departments under the leadership of the Global Charter promotional leaders, especially human rights and environmental impact reduction.
  • Approaches to suppliers : Brother expanded its supplier self-assessment to include its business partners in the Philippines. This assessment was based on a "CSR questionnaire survey," composed of a total of 80 questions on working conditions, health and safety, environmental conservation, ethics, product quality and safety, social contribution, and management system. Brother also gave superior cases "CSR Awards" and introduced the award-winning companies on the corporate website while requesting some low score suppliers to take corrective actions. Going forward, Brother is expected to involve secondary suppliers, to deepen the quantitative and accurate grasp of suppliers' activities on safety, the environment and human rights, and to encourage suppliers to take improvement measures based on the feedback of the survey results either by business type or scale in reference to ISO 20400.

Efforts that have shown progress but require more commitments

  • Reduction of environmental impacts: I highly recognize Brother for its continuous efforts in reducing the total emission of greenhouse gases  in the manufacturing and sales facilities in and outside of Japan, and also for its efforts in understanding SCOPE 3 and formulating long-term goals with a view to the future beyond 2020. In the future, Brother is strongly and continuously expected to establish a just-in-time energy system, in which the whole production sites including facilities administration departments collaborate with each other, to promote reducing environmental impacts in product usage  by encouraging the use of universal design fonts and shipping products with the toner saving mode and the eco mode such as 2-in-1 printing set as default.
  • Improvement in quality control and customer satisfaction : Brother's efforts that should be highly valued include grasping situations quantitatively by using its unique index, the rate of product return and servicing, and taking systematic approaches ranging from responses to defects to the prevention of quality problems based on technical assessments. Meanwhile, Brother is expected to further promote the collaboration between the development departments and the planning departments by establishing a system that ensures the position of safety and quality related issues in development and planning processes and emphasizing it as an advantage of Brother products.
  • Increase in the diversity and utilization of human resources : Through training courses based on the company's plan to nurture executives and managers (facility succession plan) and other approaches, in China where Brother's main facilities are located, more than half of executive and managerial positions have been occupied by locals. Also, the training courses have been continuously conducted at the group companies in Vietnam and the Philippines. These show that Brother has advanced its efforts, and which deserves high recognition. Meanwhile, Brother is expected to enhance its basis of human resources development and utilization in accordance with its medium- to long-term global human resources portfolio strategies. Regarding the employment of disabled people , the employment rate of them has reached 2.11% at the group companies in Japan. Going forward, Brother is strongly and continuously expected to create relations and environments that enable the disabled and non-Japanese employees working in Japan to interact and consult with employees with the same attributes.
  • Creation of workplaces where employees can easily continue to work : It is noteworthy that the family-care seminar for managers has been held 12 times up to now, and about 40% of all managers have attended it. In addition, Brother's efforts such as providing support tools for making a care plan and inviting a regional comprehensive care center deserve recognition. Brother is expected to more accurately identify and resolve the issues that workplaces are facing in order to further increase the ratio of the utilization of leave, leave of absence, and short-time working for childcare, family-care, and nursing care (9.65% at Brother Industries, Ltd. including those who are still on leave). As for a mental counseling service, although the fact that this service has been provided even by the Brother Industries Labor Union merits recognition, Brother is expected to promote the use of this service by actively introducing various case examples, including family-related problems.

Efforts that Brother is expected to promote as a global company

  • Communications with diverse stakeholders : Brother's top management including the president and officers keep employees informed and carry out a lot of dialogues with them in multiple languages, which should be highly evaluated. In the future, Brother is strongly and continuously expected to actively provide opportunities for communicating with NGOs and other external stakeholders especially in Europe, identify social issues to work on next, and seize opportunities to collaborate with these stakeholders. It is also expected to establish an assessment and commendation system that evaluates from the perspective of "At your side." in order to create a momentum for publishing superior activities inside and outside the company.
  • Consideration and approaches to biodiversity  and water resources issues : Considering the fact that there are only three years left until the meeting in which the progress of the "Aichi Targets" will be confirmed, Brother is expected to further deepen its understanding on the ecological risks posed by producing paper (indispensable for printing) and fabric (indispensable for sewing with sewing machines) and to share such understanding furthermore, and to enhance its conservation efforts including human resources development in association with  Brother Earth .
IIHOE
Founded in 1994 as a NPO aiming "for balanced and democratic development for all the Lives on the Earth," IIHOE has been providing management support to citizen groups and social entrepreneurs, and also CSR support to many major corporations.