CSR / Environment

Policy on CSR Activities

Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior and the Sharp Code of Conduct

Sharp's CSR activities are founded on its Business Philosophy and Business Creed, condensed statements of the company founder’s approach to management. His aim was to create a company that contributes to society and earns the people’s trust by being the first to make products that meet the needs of a new era. In 1998, the company established the Sharp Business Standards and Action Guidelines to put the Business Philosophy and the Business Creed into practice. Since then, this document has been revised several times* to accommodate changes in the business environment, including changes in stakeholder expectations as well as the establishment of new laws and revisions to existing ones. This has become the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior outlining the principles of corporate behavior of all Sharp Group companies and the Sharp Code of Conduct outlining the standards of conduct for all directors and employees.

The Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior stipulates nine principles to which Sharp must adhere as a global corporation that contributes to creating a society where sustainable growth is possible. Meanwhile, the Sharp Code of Conduct stipulates how all Sharp Group directors and employees should conduct themselves to put the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior into practice.

Sharp believes the basis for its CSR activities is the fact that all directors and employees follow the Sharp Code of Conduct in the execution of every task and are appropriate and sincere in their actions, including compliance with laws and the practice of corporate ethics.

  • Revised in April 2003, May 2005, April 2010, and January 2015

Making Everyone Aware of the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior and the Sharp Code of Conduct

The Board of Directors issues resolutions regarding the adoption of the Sharp Group Charter of Corporate Behavior and the Sharp Code of Conduct by subsidiaries and affiliate companies in Japan and overseas and the revision thereof. In addition, internal memos are circulated and annual training sessions are held to ensure that employees are fully aware of these documents at those companies that have adopted them. In fiscal 2017, Sharp used e-learning to offer a compliance workshop based on the Sharp Code of Conduct for eligible employees at Sharp Corporation, 10 consolidated and non-consolidated subsidiaries in Japan, and seven affiliate companies as well as eligible labor union members. This served to ensure that tasks are being executed in accordance with the Sharp Code of Conduct and to instill in employees a mindset aimed at preventing problems related to human rights, compliance, and information security.

Referencing Global Guidelines and Principles

Sharp's CSR activities reference the following international guidelines and principles, including the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact that Sharp became party to in June 2009 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 goals for the year 2030 covering a range of issues including poverty, hunger, energy, climate change, and the promotion of peaceful societies. They were adopted by the United Nations in September 2015.

  • 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact
  • ISO 26000 (a set of international guidelines on corporate social responsibility)
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • Codes of conduct issued by the Responsible Business Alliance and other industry organizations

The 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact

Human Rights Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Labour Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour;
Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labour; and
Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
Environment Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
Anti-Corruption Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

Sharp SER* Policy

Coinciding with the transition to its new management structure, Sharp reviewed its CSR promotion structure in line with its new basic management policy. To outline its approach to CSR, Sharp formulated the SER Policy in December 2016 in order to fulfill the social and environmental responsibilities of the Sharp Group.

SER Policy

  1. Value the rights of employees and ensure their health and safety.
  2. Fulfill environmental responsibilities in business activities and manufacturing processes.
  3. Build and operate an SER management system based on international standards, regulations, and client requests.
  • Social and Environmental Responsibility

SER Management Promotion Framework

Chaired by an executive vice president, the Sharp Global SER Committee, which was established to implement the SER Policy, puts SER activities into practice throughout the Sharp Group. The committee formulates important annual guidelines, verifies and reviews the SER measures undertaken by each business unit, shares information on CSR trends, discloses information outside the company, and communicates with stakeholders.

To deliberate and decide on important matters relating to SER and to promote their companywide deployment, a regular SER Conference is held with the chairperson, vice chairperson, members, and secretariat of the Sharp Global SER Committee in attendance. Sharp has also formulated the Sharp SER Committee Operational Guidelines, which outline committee objectives, membership, operations, and other matters.

Going forward, Sharp, via the Sharp Global SER Committee, will effectively promote companywide SER initiatives, which emphasize safety, health, and environmental responsibility, make improvements that will enable the company to contribute to resolving the issues that the world faces, and steadily fulfill its corporate social responsibility.

Material Issues

The Sharp Global SER Committee has performed a material issue review. This review looked at the impact which Sharp’s business activities have on its stakeholders, and from this sought to identify sustainability-related material issues to be addressed while sorting out stakeholder feedback and expectations. The material issues identified were then incorporated into the SER management PDCA cycle of Sharp's CSR promotion structure.

Confirming Major CSR Themes

Sharp has identified its major CSR themes by sorting out the opinions and expectations of various stakeholders (customers, local communities, business partners, shareholders, investors, and employees) in light of its business strategy, international trends, societal impact, various survey results, and trends among other companies.

Identifying Material Issues

The major CSR themes obtained were mapped along the two axes of “importance to society (level of stakeholder expectations)” and “level of importance to the Sharp Group,” and a priority ranking was assigned to each to enable nine material issues to be identified.

  • *1 An EU directive on the restriction on the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
  • *2 An EU directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment
  • *3 A set of EU regulations on the registration, evaluation, authorization, and restriction of chemicals

SER Management Initiatives

The Sharp Global SER Committee, chaired by the Executive Vice President, draws up Company-Wide SER Priority Policy Guidelines each year in order to incorporate the identified material issues into specific policies. Each business unit’s SER Committee uses the Company-Wide SER Priority Policy Guidelines to select those issues important to its unit’s business and then creates and promotes SER policies (targets, key performance indicators, scope, action plans, etc.).

The Sharp Global SER Committee performs ongoing follow-up on the progress of implementation of each business unit’s SER policies, and this progress is reviewed at the regularly held SER Conference. Also, the content of the SER Conference is reported accordingly to the company’s board members. The Sharp Global SER Committee uses Sharp’s management policies as a resource for finding business activity-driven solutions to material issues from a long-term perspective.

Company-Wide SER Priority Policy Guidelines (Excerpt)

Theme Policy Scope SDGs
Labor, health, and safety Restrict long working hours that can lead to health problems All employees in Japan
Labor and ethics Prevent harassment All employees in Japan
Labor and ethics Respect for human rights at overseas bases All employees at overseas bases
Conflict minerals Comply with and efficiently respond to relevant Japanese and overseas laws Applicable business units
General Respond to survey and audit requests from clients All production sites and consolidated production subsidiaries in Japan
General Restructure supplier SER management system Suppliers
Factory environment Reduce and recycle waste All production sites
Greenhouse gases Suppress greenhouse gas emissions associated with business activities
(Improve greenhouse gas emissions intensity)
All production sites
Greenhouse gases Suppress greenhouse gas emissions associated with product use
(Make Sharp products more energy-efficient)
Product-related business units
RoHS Eliminate the use of newly restricted substances*1 under the EU RoHS directive All production sites
WEEE Comply with requirements set by the waste electrical and electronic equipment recycling laws of each country, such as the EU WEEE directive All production sites
REACH Manage substances of very high concern*2, as stipulated by the EU REACH regulations All production sites
  • *1 Four phthalate esters (DEHP, BBP, DBP, and DIBP) mainly used as plasticizers for resins
  • *2 Substances that may have serious effects on human health and the environment

SER Initiatives at Sharp Factories

Sharp believes that the key to global business expansion is to ensure it is accompanied by the creation of sustainable society through SER-related initiatives conforming to international standards.

Since fiscal 2015, Sharp has been using the Sharp Supply-Chain CSR Deployment Guidebook, which was created in line with the RBA* Code of Conduct (an SER-related international standard), as the guideline for SER activities, including ongoing SER self-assessment surveys performed by Sharp production sites in Japan and overseas.

These surveys are carried out based on the RBA’s Self-Assessment Questionnaire and serve as a review and assessment of the status of SER-related activities at Sharp’s production sites. In fiscal 2017, the survey was carried out at 25 sites in Japan and overseas.

Following the survey, the answers to each question about activity status are scored (on a 100-point scale) according to Sharp’s independent criteria, and the level of activity in each area is ranked from A to D. The assessment scores are shown at right, with almost all sites scoring well with 70 points or more. Feedback is provided to each site, and they are encouraged to undertake ongoing improvements.

The number of sites assessed in fiscal 2018 will be increased further with the aim of improving SER initiatives of the entire Sharp Group in line with international standards. 

  • RBA: Responsible Business Alliance. Founded in 2004 by a group of leading electronics companies including Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Dell, the RBA, formerly the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), has a code of conduct covering the social, environmental, and ethical responsibilities in the global supply chain of its members in the electronics and a wide range of other industries.
Example

Undertaking an RBA VAP (Display Device Company)

Sharp’s Display Device Company proactively engages in SER-related activities conforming to international standards in order to appropriately accommodate the SER activity-related requirements of clients.

In June 2018, an RBA VAP (Validated Audit Process) was conducted at the Kameyama and Mie Plants.

The VAP was conducted by an auditor dispatched from an RBA-certified auditing firm and was carried out in line with the RBA Code of Conduct. The audit looked at the company’s activity status in the areas of labor (human rights), occupational health and safety, the environment, ethics, and management systems. The results of the audit showed that good efforts are being made in each of these areas.

Those areas which the audit highlighted for improvement are being addressed through appropriate action being undertaken in close communication with the RBA auditing program manager.

Sharp will continue to seek improvement in its SER-related initiatives conforming to international standards, using these initiatives as the means by which it can properly accommodate client requirements and achieve business growth balanced with the development of sustainable society.

RBA auditor (third from left) checks factory wastewater treatment equipment together with Sharp personnel

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement

In order to ensure that, “Our future prosperity is directly linked to the prosperity of our customers, dealers and shareholders,” as stated in the company’s Business Philosophy, Sharp makes use of a variety of opportunities to communicate with its stakeholders to receive feedback, which it then seeks to incorporate into its corporate activities.

Sharp will continue to maintain and develop itself globally in a way that reflects the voices of its stakeholders.

Stakeholders Issues to Address Main Point-of-Contact Departments Communication Methods
Customers
  • Ensuring product safety
  • Making easier-to-use products
  • Efforts aimed at universal design
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction
  • Business departments
  • Sales departments
  • Service departments
  • Quality promotion departments
  • Product information website
  • Newspapers/media
  • Usability tests
  • Telephone inquiries to the Customer Assistance Center
  • Questionnaires, interviews
  • Daily after-sales service
Suppliers
  • Fair and impartial procurement activities
  • Promoting CSR across the entire supply chain
  • Procurement departments
  • Business departments
  • Daily procurement activities
  • Basic Purchasing Principles
  • Sharp Supply-Chain CSR Deployment Guidebook, Green Procurement Guidelines
  • CSR/green procurement surveys, chemical substance content surveys, conflict mineral surveys
Shareholders and investors
  • Fair, timely, and appropriate information disclosure
  • Addressing diversifying investor needs
  • Handling SRI/ESG investment
  • Securities and finance departments
  • IR departments
  • CSR promotion departments
  • Shareholders’ meetings, management briefings
  • Medium-Term Management Plan information sessions, financial results briefings
  • Individual meetings with institutional investors and analysts
  • Conferences held by securities companies
  • Annual report, summaries of financial results, others
  • Responding to SRI/ESG surveys
  • Investor relations website
Employees
  • Preventing all types of harassment
  • Strengthening trust between labor and management
  • Training and education to support personal growth
  • Developing diversity management
  • Activities to support work-life balance
  • Promoting occupational health
  • HR departments
  • General affairs departments
  • Intranet
  • All types of hotlines (internal reporting system)
  • In-house training (e-learning, group training, others)
  • Workplace satisfaction surveys
  • Reinstatement support seminar
  • Central Labor-Management Council
  • Central Safety, Hygiene, and Health Committee
  • Counseling with medical specialists or industrial counselors
  • Counseling with outside specialized institutions
Local communities
  • Voluntary and ongoing community-based social contribution activities
  • Departments in charge of social contribution
  • Business departments
  • Environmental promotion departments
  • Educational support activities for children with disabilities
  • Volunteer activities around the world
Global environment
  • Realization of low-carbon society
  • Reducing environmental load from business activities
  • Protecting biodiversity
  • Environmental promotion departments
  • Business departments
  • Sharp Forest projects
  • Cultivating/protecting rare and endangered plants on business sites
  • Participating in environmental events
  • Environmental education for local students
  • Conservation activities for wetlands covered by the Ramsar Convention
  • Clean-up and greening activities around business sites