With our Purpose, working towards a future where everyone can shine
For more than 120 years, the Suntory Group has made its mission to enrich the lives of people by providing the highest quality products and services while coexisting with a diverse society and environment. Guided by our Purpose "To inspire the brilliance of life, by creating rich experiences for people, in harmony with nature,” we seek to use our resources, scale and expertise to create solutions which address challenges facing society and help create an equitable future where everyone can shine. As a company supported by the blessing of nature and water, we have prioritized environmental sustainability initiatives as the most important business strategy of the Suntory Group, and we will continue to do so into the future.
Continue to take on challenges in a time of uncertainty
As COVID-19 restrictions on activities were drastically eased in many parts of the world, the business environment surrounding our company finally began to show signs of hope. On the other hand, this also was a difficult year, with a series of unexpected events such as the Ukrainian crisis, soaring prices on commodities and energy, and the rapidly weakening yen. In the years ahead, I expect to see continued uncertainty that will transform the landscape from what we are accustomed to.
In January 2023, I attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The theme of the meeting was "Cooperation in a Fragmented World," There, I was able to observe the active cooperation and commitment of European countries on sustainability.Even at a time when many have no choice but to increase the use of fossil fuels such as gas and oil to protect the lives of the people, there was a momentum to formulate a new industrial policy that will take firm measures against climate change and allow public-private partnership to move forward.
I am aware that sustainability is a pressing issue around the world, and I have renewed my desire to continue to challenge ourselves because of the uncertainty. I believe it is extremely important to be a global citizen by addressing global, environmental, and societal challenges. The Suntory Group will continue to promote sustainability management with the aspirations to create a society where people live in harmony with nature.
Leading the World in Promoting Water Sustainability
It is our responsibility to leave our beautiful planet for the next generation and that is the primary reason why the Suntory Group is committed to sustainability activities.
In particular, water is the lifeline of our business and we are striving to solve water sustainability challenges globally. This year marks the 20th anniversary of our Natural Water Sanctuaries, an initiative to nurture quality ground water at the source of our production sites in Japan. We now manage 22 forest areas, approximately 12,000 ha as Natural Water Sanctuaries, which is equal to the amount of land that recharge double the amount of groundwater we use in Japan. Our water source conservation activities have expanded to North America, Europe and India, and by 2030, we aim to be water positive to return more water than used at a majority of our plants worldwide.
We are also expanding “Mizuiku”, a water education program for the next generation. The program began in Japan 2004 and has expanded to Southeast Asia, China, Europe, and other countries around the world, with approximately 470,000 people have participated to date.
These activities are highly regarded globally. In 2021, the Suntory Group partnered with the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS), a global organization leading the water stewardship, and became the first Japanese company to become a member.
In addition to the activities in locations where we operate, we are determined to be a global leader in water sustainability leveraging the knowledge and technology we have developed over the years which is becoming increasingly important for achieving water sustainability.
In 2022, two important Conference of the Parties (COP) were held; COP27, which is the 27th Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and COP15, the 15th Session of the Convention on Biological Diversity. I believe that addressing biodiversity, which is interdependent with climate change, is very important. How we take steps to preserve the natural environment, from oceans and forests, to mountains and rivers, needs to move forward along with actions for water sustainability and response to climate change as one.
Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are a crucial part of this equation. To achieve carbon neutrality in 2050, the Suntory Group will reduce GHG emissions at our own sites by 50% and reduce GHG emissions across the entire value chain by 30% by 2030.
Responsible production and consumption play a role, as well. As part of our contribution to the recycling society, we aim to make all plastic bottle materials sustainable by 2030 globally, and to eliminate the use of new fossil-derived materials.
Although we are giving it our best efforts, we believe that there are limits to our own efforts to solve these environmental challenges. As the head of Suntory Group, it is my responsibility to actively work with diverse stakeholders to create technological innovations that will bring about global change.
Harness creativity to bring smiles to customers
The history of Suntory Group dates back to the time when our founder Shinjiro Torii took up the challenge of making wine and whisky and created a Western liquor culture in Japan when Japanese people were not yet familiar with Western liquors. Since then, we have continued to take on new challenges with the spirit of “Yatte Minahare” –a mentality that pushes one forward despite many failures. We entered the beer business when the market was dominated by few companies and created new categories in the market such as premium beer. In 2022, we expanded our non-alcohol lineups for providing expanded choice for consumers by continuously demonstrating such spirit.
We want to continue to be a value-creating company that brings excitement and smiles to our customers. To achieve this, it is necessary to thoroughly look at what is happening in the market and examine what consumers really want. We strive to have the courage to take on seemingly impossible challenges without fear of failure, and to hold the strong will to never give up once you have made up your mind.
Since the pandemic, society as a whole has been living in a world of discouragement. We believe it is our social mission to continue to create products that make our customers smile thinking “Suntory is ‘OMOROI* !’ In the area of sustainability, we will continue to demonstrate the "Yatte Minahare" spirit which has inherited our founding spirit and work together with our stakeholders to create a future filled with the "brilliance of life."
*intriguing everyone by achieving the impossible with extraordinary dedication, and at the same time being joyful, bold and brilliant.
Chief Executive Officer
Suntory Holdings Limited