Date of implementation: May 11, 2015
What are the expectations of TDK and on what points can TDK be praised in terms of promoting CSR in the supply chain as a whole? We invited Mr. Masaki Wada of Energetic Green for an exchange of opinions.
CEO, Energetic Green
From 2001, Mr. Wada worked for companies related to sporting goods and apparel, and was active mainly in relation to the problem of human rights in the supply chain. From June 2013, he became involved in a foreign national training program at a public-interest foundation, and in August 2014, was appointed as co-representative of Energetic Green, where he conducts CSR-related research and consulting.
Mr. Wada’s Main Opinions and Proposals
Efforts of TDK as a Supplier
As audit requests from customers continue to increase, the burden on TDK sites of responding to those requests can be expected to increase in the future, too. Regarding human rights and labor in the workplace, regardless of industry it is certain specific issues that are likely to be questioned, such as forced labor, child labor, and long working hours. Therefore, it is important to gather your own survey results prior to requests and be ready at all times to submit material if an inquiry is received.
At present, I hear that TDK is making attempts to standardize records at its sites, such as the contents and results of external and internal audits conducted so far and countermeasures, and plans to disclose this information. That is a wonderful effort. It is an effective means of avoiding future risks and also has much significance in terms of continuing to respond to customer requests. I definitely hope that you will actively promote this measure
Furthermore, when preparing to establish an overseas site, TDK makes a checklist of items that should definitely be implemented and conducts a feasibility study including not only quality, equipment, cost, and so on but also the CSR perspective. This is an excellent approach as well. I hope that TDK well understands the importance of conducting operations on the basis of the 4Gs and acts accordingly. (Known as the “four gen principles” in Japanese, the 4Gs are go to the source, go down to the factory floor, grasp the actual situation, and get together with local employees.)
Efforts of TDK as a Buyer
When you have so many suppliers, it is difficult to conduct selfassessment questionnaires, audits, and improvement guidance in a uniform manner. So priority is important. It is essential for TDK to clarify its guidelines taking into account such factors as dependence on suppliers.
TDK currently conducts CSR audits on suppliers and is putting a lot of effort into audit training, so now you have reached the stage where you must ask yourselves what should be the aim beyond that. The concept of capacity building is going to become increasingly important. This means including the perspective of growing together in improvement guidance for suppliers and supporting the strengthening of the supplier’s organization through guidance. As one aspect of information disclosure, it might be a good idea to include the guidance provided on each matter in future reports.
Required Role in the Industry as a Midstream Company
Since TDK is a midstream company, you are able to view the supply chain from the perspectives of both supplier and buyer. It is essential at all times to have an understanding of what is trending in the supply chain. It might also be a good idea to team up with NPOs and NGOs and seek their guidance on the latest human rights issues and CSR audits.
It is unfortunate that so far midstream companies have not shown a strong presence in compiling self-assessment questionnaires and so on. As globalization proceeds, it will be unavoidable for midstream companies to firmly express their thoughts. I hope that TDK will strengthen collaboration in the industry and across other industries and formulate standards so that you can take the initiative in international society.