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To Create Harmony with Customers and Partners: Products and Services

Voluntary Declaration toward Consumer Orientation Activity Report (FY2018)

Top Commitment

This year marks the 120th anniversary of the Suntory Group.
As stated in our corporate philosophy "To Create Harmony with People and Nature," the Suntory Group carries out business activities with its mission to create more affluent lifestyles while simultaneously giving gratitude toward the blessings of water and nature and realizing constant harmony with society and the beautiful global environment by delivering the highest quality products and services to people around the world.

September 2019
Takeshi Niinami
President and Chief Executive Officer, Member of the Board, Representative Director,
Suntory Holdings Limited

Aiming to Realize Sustainability Management on a Global Level

The challenges we need to confront are serious and wide ranging. These challenges include global climate change and water shortages, stress on resources due to population growth, widening wealth gap, increasing amount of waste, and destruction of the natural environment.
The world is actively moving to find solutions to these problems as shown by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)adopted at the 2015 United Nations Summit as well as Paris Accord established at the COP21 (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change). The Suntory Group sincerely confronts these same problems as it expands businesses globally and knows it must further accelerate initiatives able to contribute to resolving each issue.
In order for the entire Group to contribute to solving these issues, in June 2019 we formulated the Sustainability Vision in June which defines the type of sustainable society that the Suntory Group strives to realize and sets seven important sustainability themes that we must focus on.
In addition to environmental initiatives, including those focusing on water and CO2, contributing to a recycling-oriented society, and contributing to healthy lifestyles that enrich the spirit, we intend to contribute to the realization of a sustainable and prosperous society based on our vision of "Growing for Good" while continuing to work on supply chain based human rights issues.

In Pursuit Water Sustainability, Our Most Important Issue

Comparatively speaking, water is one of the most important issues as it is a valuable resource for supporting people's lives and lives, and the source of Suntory Group's corporate activities. In order to become a global top runner, we are working to give priority to water sustainability as a "Mizu To Ikiru" company.
We at the Suntory Group will continue to listen to the voices of our customers and other stakeholders, and, as a multi-faceted food and beverage company, look ahead 100 years into the future to continue to innovate and step up to challenges in order to pass down a sustainable society to future generations.

Voluntary Declaration toward Consumer Orientation

Philosophy

Under the corporate mission of “To create harmony with people and nature,” we will offer products and services that pursue highest quality and enrich the lifestyles of people around the world and contribute in realizing a sustainable natural environment.
We strive to be a Growing for Good company that is a good corporate citizen and trusted by the consumers following this corporate mission.

Initiative Policies

  1. 1.
    We will offer products and services that create harmony with the customers
  2. 2.
    We will pursue safety and reliability from consumers' standpoint
  3. 3.
    We will utilize consumer feedback in our business activities
  4. 4.
    We will strive to provide information to the consumers
  5. 5.
    We will nurture corporate culture and awareness take action from the viewpoint of consumers

Founder’s Spirit and Sustainability

Contributing to the realization of creating harmony with people and nature through giving back to society

We aim “To Create Harmony with People and Nature” society. The mission of the Suntory Group is to contribute to building society sustainable over the long term by working toward relationships in which both parties benefit without sacrificing the prosperous life culture of people or preservation of the natural environment. The Suntory Group is pouring its strength into a wide range of social contribution activities. The foundation for our philosophy to value these social contribution activities is rooted in the “Giving back to society” spirit actively passed down since our founding. This founding spirit has been cherished in Suntory to this day. During the early days, we have built free clinics and orphanage for the under privileged and war orphans. During the time of rapid economic growth, we engaged in activities related to cultural and art such as the Suntory Museum of Art and Suntory Hall to enrich people’s hearts. Since 1973, we have been engaging in environmental activities such as Save the Birds activities. As illustrated by these examples, we have been proactive in activities that contribute to solving issues the customers and society face in each era.
As our customers spread across the world, we engage sustainability, an issues faced by the international society. As part of these efforts, we are especially active in water sustainability incorporated into our environmental activities conducted under Mizu To Ikiru. Water is the most important management resource for the Suntory Group as well as a vital resource shared by everyone around the world. That is why we are grateful for the bounty nature has given us as a source for our products. To ensure a healthy natural ecosystem giving us these blessings from nature, we will always endeavor in a variety of initiatives, including the Natural Water Sanctuary projects, Mizuiku - Natural Water Education Program and our bird conservation activities. As a “Mizu To Ikiru” company, we will aim to stand as a corporate group which protects the forests that cultivate water and quenches the needs of society as water quenches the thirst of all living things. Our hope to realize a society sustainable over the long term is the same as the passion shown by our founder.

Shinjiro Torii, Suntory founder

Shinjiro Torii, Suntory founder

NEWS

Suntory Group Plastic Policy

Based on this Plastic Policy, Suntory will aim for fully sustainable plastic bottles in all the PET bottles used globally by 2030.

1.Recycle & Renewable:

(1) Aim to switch all the PET bottles used globally for Suntory products to be made of recycled or plant-based material by 2030, achieving zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials.
(2) Actively work and collaborate with government agencies, industry, environmental, non-governmental and non-profit organizations for the measures necessary to develop an efficient recycling system based on the situation of each country where we do business.

2.Reduce & Replacement:

Reduce the amount of plastic used by changing the design of containers and packaging and look for the introduction of alternative containers that do not negatively impact the environment in order to effectively utilize resources.

3.Innovation:

Actively invest in innovation for materials and processes that improve the recycling rate and minimize environmental impact.

4.New Behavior:

Promote activities that drive change in consumer behavior. Each Suntory employee will work to change their lifestyle, promote sorting and collection, and actively participate in social contribution activities such as cleaning up rivers and beaches.

Four Initiatives in Social Responsibility

Identified issues that are especially important for the Suntory Group from global social issues and business challenges that are expected from and have high level of interest from stakeholders. We then organized these issues in to four initiatives in order to realize the "To Create Harmony with People and Nature" corporate philosophy.

  • To Create Harmony with Customers and Partners
  • To Create Harmony with Nature
  • To Create Harmony with Society
  • To Create Harmony with Employees  Diversity Management

(1) To Create Harmony with Customers and Partners: Products and Services

To deliver joy to the customers with the highest-quality of products and services

The Suntory Group values communication with customers and reflects their feedback widely in its corporate activities while also working to preserve and improve quality in all of its processes including planning and development of products and services, procurement of raw materials such as water, agricultural products and packaging materials, manufacturing, distribution, provision of goods and services - based on the Suntory Quality Policy of "All for the Quality" to continually provide products and services able to earn the trust and satisfaction of customers. We also actively tackling alcohol-related problems.

(2) To Create Harmony with Nature: Environment

To preserve limited water and resources for future generation

It is our responsibility to engage in sustainable business practices through the promotion of environmental management in accordance with our mission — To Create Harmony with People and Nature — so that we may pass down a rich global environment to future generations. We have established our Environmental Vision toward 2050 and set Environmental Targets toward 2030 in 2018 based on corporate tagline "Mizu To Ikiru." Suntory Group commits to the promotion of environmental management based on two axes: preservation and regeneration of natural environment and reduction of environmental impact. The entire Group promotes environmental management.

(3) To Create Harmony with Society: Cultural and Social Contribution

To build a bright future with initiatives rooted in the region

Based on the founding spirit of "Giving back to Society", we engage in wide range of cultural and social contribution activities that best suit the time, centered in the fields of arts and culture, sports and social welfare such as developing the next generation, supporting disaster affected areas and contributing to local communities.

(4) To Create Harmony with Employees: Diversity Management

To nurture employees with bigger global dreams

Suntory Group aims for human resource development rising to the challenge to create new values with diversity management as its basic policy and to create a working environment filled with creativity where all employees can exert their full potential.

Suntory Group's Sustainability

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted at the 2015 UN Summit call on businesses to address social issues and to promote a sustainable society. While the world works to solve these problems together, we will continue to tackle these issues as we expand our global business based on our vision “Growing for Good”.

Important sustainability themes for the Suntory Group

We used the SDGs to identify priority areas for future activities. With the cooperation of external consultants and supported by reports from organizations such as the World Economic Forum, we analyzed important issues at our company. We assessed their importance both for stakeholders and for the Suntory Group, and identified four high priority initiatives: Target 6 - Water and Sanitation, Target 3 - Health and Welfare, Target 12 - Responsible Production and Consumption, and Target 13 - Climate Action. In addition, with the recognition that water is the most important area for our business as a “Mizu To Ikiru” company, we will work across the Group to protect water. In addition to environmental conservation, Suntory Group emphasizes "enriching people’s lives," which includes providing goods and services to customers and promoting innovation that contribute to a society in which we coexist “To Create Harmony with People and Nature.”

The Suntory Group’s 7 sustainability themes

Theme

Commitment

Related SDGs

Water

Based on Suntory’s “Sustainable Water Philosophy,” we as a group promote activities to preserve water including understanding of the water cycle, reduction, recycling and wastewater management, watershed conservation, and work with external stakeholders to achieve water sustainability.

[Initiative]

Sustainable Water Philosophy

Target towards 2030, Environmental Vision toward 2050

CO2

In order to promote a decarbonized society and to address climate change, we reduce carbon emissions through the introduction of the latest energy-saving technologies and the use of renewable energy at our facilities as well as in our operations throughout the value chain.

[Initiative]

Target towards 2030, Environmental Vision toward 2050

Raw ingredients

With regard to agricultural products and other raw ingredients that are essential to our products, we cooperate with business partners across the supply chain, identify social and environmental issues, and promote sustainability initiatives that enable us to grow together, thereby enriching our communities.

[Initiative]

Sustainable Procurement

Containers and packaging

We consider the environment throughout the product life cycle—from product design, packaging materials, and containers, to transportation and recycling after consumption—and work to achieve a circular economy.

[Initiative]

Suntory Group Plastic Policy

3R in Containers and Packaging

Health

To enrich society, the Suntory Group promotes activities under the following three themes:

Alcohol products

We contribute to a richer society through beer, wine and spirits, and other alcohol products that bring enjoyment to people, inspire human connections, and play a role in the celebrations and events that mark the milestones of their lives. We are committed to promoting the moderate consumption of our products and encouraging responsible choices about alcohol. We are a leader in working individually and in partnership with industry peers and other partners to reduce harmful consumption of alcohol, including overconsumption, drunk driving, underage drinking, and drinking during and after pregnancy, based on our Drink Smart alcohol responsibility program. We also offer non-alcoholic and low-alcohol products to meet consumer preferences.

Soft drinks

In addition to leveraging “natural and healthy” beverage development technologies cultivated in Japan, we address health and wellness concerns through our beverages and make our consumers’ lives more natural, healthy, convenient, and rich.

Health foods

In order to contribute to a longer active life, we research the relationship between “the power of nature” and health to support people's health, beauty, and wellness through daily dietary habits.

[Initiative]

Reducing Harmful Drinking

Measures for Healthy and Comfortable Lifestyles

Human Rights

Group Employees

In addition to promoting a safe work environment, we promote health management and provide growth opportunities with a long-term perspective. In addition to respect for people and prevention of harassment and other related issues, we promote diversity (including of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, language, and disability) and inclusion (accepting and valuing the differences between each individual as an important part of who they are). We also ensure labor safety to promote an environment that is easy to work in and full of the “Yatte Minahare” spirit.

Value chain

In order to contribute to the well-being of all people involved in the value chain, we carefully review and understand our impact on human rights, and cooperate with external stakeholders including suppliers to conduct activities for the protection of human rights.

[Initiative]

To Create Harmony with Employees

Sustainable Procurement

Respect for Human Rights

Enriching life

We provide products and services that enrich peoples’ minds and bodies, promote innovation and create new value, and contribute to the creation of a more “human” society. Based on our founding spirit "Giving Back to Society," we address social issues and contribute to enhancing social welfare, including the arts, culture, science, sports, and next generation education. In the regions where we do business, we value dialogue with the local community, and strive to help address local issues to enrich peoples’ lives.Based on our founding spirit "Giving Back to Society," we address social issues and contribute to enhancing social welfare, including the arts, culture, science, sports, and next generation education. In the regions where we do business, we value dialogue with the local community, and strive to help address local issues to enrich peoples’ lives.

[Initiative]

To Create Harmony with Society: Social Contribution

  1. 1 Offer products and services in harmony the hopes of customers
  2. 2 Provide comprehensive safety and reliability
  3. 3 Reflect feedback from consumers in our corporate activities
  4. 4 Enhance the provision of information to consumers
  5. 5 Cultivate a climate and awareness in employees
Offer products and services in harmony the hopes of customers

Offer products and services in harmony the hopes of customers

Suntory Group offers products such as soft drinks, beers, spirits and liquors (whiskey, chu-Hi, cocktails, shochu, etc.), wines, health foods, and flowers as well as restaurants and other services considering customer perspective.
Furthermore, we also engage in art, sports, and social welfare to realize a truly enriched society.

Provide comprehensive safety and reliability

Our Philosophy Underpins Quality Assurance

The Suntory Group has always striven to better the quality of its products and services with a customer first approach since its founding. Every employee always endeavors to sustain and improve quality according to the Suntory Quality Policy of "All for the Quality", which clarifies our approach to quality, to earn even greater trust from customers.

Promotion of Quality Management

Following the acceleration of its own global development and expansion into new fields of business, the Suntory Group has been enhancing its Quality Management Systems as part of its Group Governance.
We installed the Quality Assurance Committee at Suntory Holdings Limited to promote quality management throughout the entire Group. This committee identifies quality risks and prevents trouble before it occurs in priority issues across the organization based on the Group quality strategy. The Chief Quality Officer (CQO) of Suntory Holdings Ltd. plays a vital role in this process by strengthening the quality management capacities through holding meetings on product quality with each Group company.

Utilizing feedback in corporate activities

Responding, Sharing and Utilizing Consumer Feedback

The Suntory Group values two-way communication with the consumers in the belief it has held since its founding that consumer satisfaction should be given top priority. We respond sincerely to the opinions and requests that we receive from the consumers based on the Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation. We are strengthening initiatives to more widely reflect this feedback in our corporate activities, including improvement and development of better products and services.
Our Customer Center uses a proprietary information search system to respond quickly and accurately to consumers so that those who make inquiries, etc. are not left waiting. By recording the result of the responses when inquiries are received thought inputting the information in our core information management system, valuable information from the consumers is shared immediately with relevant departments to enhance quality, improve risk management, etc. We periodically share the feedback we receive from the consumers with relevant departments to strengthen our VOC activities*1 that reflect this feedback in our corporate activities and employees course for action, which includes improving our products and services and enhancing our provision of information.

  • *1
    VOC (Voice of Customer) activities: Activity to reflect consumer feedback in management policy.
NEWS

VOC Meeting

We regularly hold VOC meetings to share information and engage in discussion with each business department based on the feedback received from consumers. Both management and employees attend this meeting to broadly examine consumer-oriented efforts, such as improving products and services based on consumer feedback, preventing risk before it happens and creating new business activities. (2018: Approx. 70 meetings)

VOC Meeting

Enhance the provision of information to consumers

The Suntory Group believes information should be available in an accurate and easy to understand way for the customers to ensure customers’ peace of mind and trust in the products and services we provide. In doing so, information on quality assurance and related activities that we are engaged in should be disseminated through websites and other means.

Realizing Easy to Understand and Accurate Product Labeling

In addition, we promote the display of accurate information that is easy to understand through Quality Assurance Division checking and building a system to secure compliance and validity, collaborating with the related divisions in charge of development and production of each Group company.

Example of display to prevent drinking alcohol by mistake

We display the alcohol logo on products so that low alcohol drinks such as Chu-Hi are not mistaken for soft drinks. In addition, "Contains Alcohol" is written on the lid of the can with "Alcohol" written in braille on our main products.

Labeling examples for canned chu-hi product

Labeling examples to warn pregnant and nursing mothers

We also display, "Drinking while pregnant or breastfeeding may be harmful to the development of unborn babies or infants” on products in order to evoke caution about alcohol in pregnant and nursing mothers.

Labeling to warn pregnant and nursing mothers

Expanding communication outlets: Use of online and SNS tools

We work to enhance information on the Customer Center homepage leveraging videos and illustrations for consumers who prefer to search for information online, in addition to the communication via telephone calls, letters, and e-mails. We have set up an inquire form in English due to the growing number of inquiries in foreign languages as a way to respond to an even greater number of consumers. In addition, we have also established a dedicated SNS account to actively support feedback from the consumers.

  • Suntory Customer Center homepage

  • Suntory Customer Support Account

Spreading the Word About Our Consumer Oriented Initiatives Throughout Society

The Suntory Group actively spreads information about its consumer oriented management philosophy and initiatives thought various media and activities.

Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation and Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation Activity Report

In April 2017, we revised our consumer-oriented philosophy and initiative policies passed down since the founding of Suntory to draw up and release Voluntary Declaration of Consumer-orientation. The specific activities that we have undertaken based on the declaration are reported to society in the Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation Activity Report. As a company that discloses its Voluntary Declaration of Consumer Orientation, we have provided the declaration and content of activities on the Consumer Affairs Agency website.

Cultivate a climate and awareness in employees to take action based on the consumers perspective

Continuing to Meet Consumers Expectations

Each of our employees is putting their strength into internal enlightenment activities while nurturing work ethics for the purpose of becoming a company employee able to deliver products and services that surpass customer expectations by deepening our grasp of the changing awareness and interests of consumers.

Consumers Oriented Behavior Promotion (Nurturing of Work Ethics)

Consumers Oriented Brush-up Seminar

We hold the Consumers Oriented Brush-up Seminar annually for all employees. Each employee listens to complaints and words of encouragement from consumers and is presented with examples of consumers oriented activities performed in various actual work environments internally to deepen a consumer-oriented mentality and encourage action. In addition, seminars at each Group company nurture a consumer-oriented mindset and action in all of the activities at the Suntory Group.

Consumers Oriented Brush-up Seminar

Month for Enhancing Suntory's Consumer Oriented Spirit

Since 2018, we have designated May as the Month for Enhancing Suntory's Consumer Oriented Spirit, emulating Consumer Month established by the Consumer Affairs Agency. To provide opportunities to again think about what all employees can do for our consumers, in 2019 we sent messages from management throughout the company, put up awareness raising posters at all our location, and held internal lectures by inviting external lecturers. In addition, we held discussions at the department level about being oriented with consumers with approximately 850 departments and 8,500 employees participating.

  • In-house lecture given by outside lecturer

  • Awareness raising poster

Assigning Person in Charge of Promoting Consumer Orientation at Sites

In 2018, Suntory began appointing Consumers Service Leaders entrusted with the main role to further penetrate and grasp consumer-oriented business practices around the many sales sites.
In 2019, we have been promoting consumer oriented behavior in each department through efforts including starting to place some Consumer Oriented Ambassadors also in locations other than sales officers.

  • Customer Service Leader meeting

  • Consumer Oriented Ambassador meeting

Human Resource Development Program “Suntory University”

As a part of our human resources development program Suntory University, we carry out training in line with the career path of each employee. At first, during new employee training, participants will learn about the Suntory Group's consumer oriented spirit that has been continuously passed down since its foundation. Mid-level employees spend a day answering phones at our customer center to discover first-hand specific things they can use in their own work to become more consumer oriented by directly interacting with consumers. Employees who are being promoted to manager are practically taught important consumer-oriented decision-making techniques such as through group discussions based on case studies.

Strengthening Point of Contact Between VOC and Employees

We engage in activities to strengthen opportunities to share consumer feedback with employees, even those who rarely interact with consumers directly.

Transmission of Information via Intranet and Email

We share, via intranet and email, opinions and requests received from customers who are sent out on a weekly, monthly, or yearly basis so that all employees will look at customer feedback on our products and corporate activities to influence their own work and actions.

Information through the “Monthly Report” on the intranet

FY2018 Results of Consumer Oriented Spirit Awareness Raising Activities and Nurturing Culture

Overall Consumer Oriented Spirit Awareness Raising Activities
Activity Target FY2018 Results
Top Management Message (intranet, videos) All employees  
Consumers Oriented Brush-up Seminar All employees 126 times, 5,500 participants
Consumer Month for Enhancing Consumer Oriented Spirit Lectures   200 participants
Consumer Month for Enhancing Consumer Oriented Spirit Discussion (2019)   850 departments, 8,500 participants
Customer Service Leader meeting   Activities held throughout the year
Consumer Oriented Ambassador meeting   Starting from 2019
Human resource development
Activity (Suntory University) Target FY2018 Results
New Manager Training
Lecture on Nurturing Consumer Oriented Spirit
New managers 120 participants
Fourth Year Training
Customer Experience Program
Fourth year employees 150 participants
New Employee Training
Lecture on Basics of Consumer Oriented Spirit
New employees 180 participants
Strengthening VOC contact point
Activity Target  
Monthly Report (intranet) All employees  
Weekly Report (mail) Management level  
  • *
    VOC:Voice of Customer
We have been promoting consumer-orientation since our founding and will continue striving to be a corporate group trusted by the consumers.
We welcome your feedback