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Opinions from a Third Party

Hisako Makimura Professor Department for the Study of Contemporary Society Kyoto Women's University

Currently, Japanese society is facing an array of changes. In particular, we must confront the burdens we put on the environment and the increasingly limited amounts of natural resources, as well as simultaneous decrease in birthrates, aging of the population, and population decline. Until recent times, we constructed urban communities and social systems based on the premises of sufficient availability of resources and increasing population, but it is apparent that a number of approaches must be changed in accordance with present circumstances. The Great East Japan Earthquake and the tsunamis that came with it brought unprecedented destruction, and now we must face the task of how to rebuild and start anew?this is something that has been on people's minds daily since March 11. People have begun to demand new ways of thinking, new lifestyles and new social and economic systems that differ from those previously established.

It is significant that the first section of this year's CSR report covers disaster countermeasures and relief and reconstruction activities following the Great East Japan Earthquake. Reading about the first moves taken after disaster struck on March 11, the first thing that came to mind was the actions of Sagawa Express Co., Inc., following the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Even though news reports were emphasizing the difficulty of reaching the places where the March 11 disaster struck, Sagawa Express immediately set up a response headquarters and began pouring its efforts into sending relief goods despite the dire state of the disaster-struck Tohoku branches?these were actions I had tremendous respect for. The message from top management, "The difficulty of shouldering responsibility for logistics, a key infrastructural component for society, is a reminder of the importance of continuing our business long-term," displays a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility.

The SG Holdings Group Management Vision, "each group company constructs its business platform and creates new value," can be seen in operations outside of the core areas of deliveries and logistics operations, as outlined in the medium-term management plan. Medical and nursing care business operations provide an example of this: while the group has already utilized connections between people and people, and between people and society to contribute to society through the movement of goods, they are expanding operations to bring safety and security to customers in times of declining birthrates, aging society and population decreases. The group delivers the necessary goods and services for people in every stage of their lives?sooner or later China, Southeast Asia and other regions of the world will require the same.

The development of new small-scale business coupled with delivery using carts, and new vehicle navigation systems and other such measures introduced in the "Special Feature" sections show efforts toward increased delivery efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and more economic operations through decreased fuel use, providing good examples of advantageous environmental and economic cycles. Furthermore, environmental initiatives will improve the company image, particularly in the minds of consumers and future employees that are part of the larger spectrum of "stakeholders." Because CSR reports are widely read, even among university students, I encourage the SG Holdings Group to continue its policy of proactively providing information for the advantages it brings in terms public communications and relations.

The use of color universal design through the report makes it easy to understand, and I was able to grasp the group's global-scale business activities with ease. The emphasis placed on making connections with stakeholders through the "Special Feature" sections made a very strong impression I believe the group has created a solid base for creating new value through its stakeholder-oriented management approach. This unique approach transforms potential changes into actual changes in substantial terms, which will lead to the development of new business. Following the Great East Japan Earthquake, in response to government energy policies and other factors, the time has come to pursue new value systems among Japanese citizens, corporations and regional societies alike. In anticipation of such changes, I expect great things from the SG Holdings Group, an organization that brings together people, society, and the future.

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