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 fulfilling lifestyles while simultaneously giving gratitude toward the blessings of water and nature and realizing constant harmony with society and the precious global environment by delivering the highest quality products and services to people around the world.
The driving force behind this is our "Yatte Minahare" spirit which is still passed down today to each and every Suntory employee. We continue to challenge creating new value that enhances customers' lives and continue to grow globally in the alcoholic beverage and soft drink businesses. In addition, the Suntory Group addresses current social issues and contributes to solving them through cultural activities, social contribution activities, and other efforts due to our will to help society with our spirit of "Giving Back to Society" which has existed since our founding. This year, the Suntory Foundation for the Arts (originally Torii Music Foundation), established in recognition of Japan's period of rapid growth and the importance of spiritual wealth, celebrates its 50th anniversary with the Suntory Foundation for Culture celebrating its 40th anniversary. We still intend to grow as a one-of-a-kind multi-faceted food and beverage company group that is trusted and loved by customers all over the world through the unique challenges that we take on and activities based on our spirit of "Giving Back to Society."
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 July 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.
As part of these efforts, we formulated the Suntory Group Plastic Policy in response to the urgent plastic issue, which needs to be quickly addressed, and strongly intend to replace all plastic bottle materials used globally with recycled and plant-derived materials by 2030 to achieve zero use of virgin petroleum-based materials. Aiming toward the realization of a sustainable society, we will continue to take on challenges, providing strong leadership for transforming our current society into a recycling-oriented society and zero carbon society.
In Pursuit Water Sustainability, Our Most Important Issue
Water is in particular one of the most important issues as it is a valuable resource for supporting people's 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. In Japan, the water resource cultivation activity Suntory Natural Water Sanctuary, which started in 2003, has set the 2020 environmental target of expand the area of Natural Water Sanctuaries so as to make them twice the size of the territory where Suntory withdraws water for its plants in Japan. There are now 21 Suntory Natural Water Sanctuaries in 15 prefectures which comprise a total area of approximately 12,000ha, an expansion achieved a year ahead of schedule. In January 2019, the Suntory Okudaisen Bunanomori Water Plant was the first plant in Japan to receive the Alliance for Water Stewardship (hereinafter AWS)*1 certificate, which is related to sustainable water use in areas near plants. For the certification, the following were highly appraised: Our company's understanding of the water balance in the area surrounding the plant, water resource cultivation based on scientific data, water conservation and water quality management initiatives at the plant, our work with stakeholders in drainage areas, and appropriate information disclosure. Suntory continues implementation of Natural Water Sanctuary activities in order to provide the blessing of nature, something that cannot be replaced, to our children and future generations to come.
We will also expand these activities on a global level by formulating our "Sustainable Water Philosophy" so that we can spread this philosophy cultivated over many years through our activities in Japan throughout the world. Suntory Mizuiku - Natural Water Education Program, which started in 2015 in Vietnam, was expanded to include water education classes for approximately 18,000 elementary school students that were carried out by 2018. The program provides access to safe water through toilet, sink, and other repairs as well as water purification equipment installation. We plan to continue developing this program on a global level focusing on regions in Asia including Indonesia. In addition, we entered a five-year contract from January 2019 with Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, the foundation which owns the water source of our Jim Beam distillery in the United States, started new environmental conservation activities, and are expanding activities based on our “Sustainable Water Philosophy” on a global level.
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.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Member of the Board, Representative Director,
Suntory Holdings Limited