CSR at Sony

CSR at Sony

"It is the core corporate responsibility of Sony to society to pursue its corporate value enhancement through innovation and sound business practices and contribute to developing a sustainable society."
(Sony Group Code of Conduct)

Companies today are expected to engage in responsible business conduct. Sony's corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities reflect its philosophy of implementing sound business practices, and innovating to realize products, services and content that inspire and excite. In order to help build a more sustainable world, Sony employs its CSR initiatives as a measure of the social impact of its business operations. At the same time, Sony is engaged in ongoing efforts to contribute to society while enhancing corporate value.

Identifying CSR Key Areas of Focus and CSR Material Aspects

CSR Key Areas of Focus

Sony currently promotes CSR initiatives in line with its CSR agenda, which sets seven key areas of focus-corporate governance, ethics and compliance, human resources, responsible supply chain, quality and services, environment and community engagement-with the aim of strengthening its operating foundation and continuously enhancing its corporate value. Stakeholder input on CSR-related issues and suggestions are fed back to management and to pertinent Sony departments (e.g., legal, compliance, environment, product quality, procurement and human resources), to be incorporated into key actions, including the formulation of Sony Group policies. Sony's CSR section is tasked with monitoring the progress of initiatives and disclosing information about Sony's efforts by preparing CSR reports and promoting dialogue with stakeholders.

Identifying CSR Material Aspects

To align and respond effectively to evolving social imperatives and changes in the business environment, Sony recently conducted a CSR materiality assessment with BSR, an independent organization with expertise in global CSR trends and international standards, with the aim of validating its CSR key area of focus by incorporating the perspectives of stakeholders and to identify emerging CSR topics relevant to new business areas.

CSR Materiality Assessment Process

The Sony Group is a global organization with a broad business portfolio. Sony is engaged in the development, design, manufacture, and sale of various kinds of electronic equipment and devices for consumer and professional markets as well as game consoles and software. Sony is also engaged in the production and distribution of motion pictures, television programs, music, and digital networks. Further, Sony is also engaged in various financial services businesses through its Japanese insurance subsidiaries and banking operations through a Japanese Internet-based banking subsidiary. Given the diversity of the Group's operations, the expectations of its stakeholders regarding its CSR initiatives also vary. Sony views CSR materiality assessment as a process for understanding the expectations of multi-stakeholders as well as business and validating its key CSR area of focus, which will help us prioritize our CSR initiatives.

In conducting the CSR materiality analysis, we first identified global CSR issues of particular relevance to Sony. We then looked at those issues that are most significant today as well as emerging those issues to its external stakeholders, which include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), customers, and socially responsible investors, as well as at stakeholders' views regarding the changes in roles and responsibilities of corporations. Sony then assessed those issues likely to have mid- to long-term business strategies and identified topics that are material from both a stakeholder and a business perspective.

Step 1: Identify and classify global CSR issues

Using both internally and externally sourced information, Sony compiled a list of all identified topics it could conceive of as potential items of relevance, categorized related items into groups, and then narrowed the list down to about 40 final items. To identify global CSR issues, Sony referred to relevant sources such as the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines issued by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.

See "Contributing to Sustainable Development Goals" for information about Sony's contribution to the goals.

Step 2: Assess the topics from the perspective of Sony and its stakeholders

The global CSR issues identified and classified in the Step 1 were assessed from Sony's perspective by taking into account the following viewpoints:

  • Persons at Sony in charge of each topic were interviewed to assess the importance of the topics and their relevance for Sony's business
  • The knowledge of external experts was obtained to assess the relevance of the topics for Sony's business

The same issues were assessed from the perspective of stakeholders by taking into account the following viewpoints:

  • External experts specializing in areas related to Sony's business, including entertainment, media, ICT, and finance, were interviewed to assess the importance of the topics
  • Opinions of external experts were obtained to assess the relevance of the topics for key stakeholders, such as NGOs, civil society and community organizations, consumers, and socially responsible investment rating organizations

In addition, Sony also considered issues and concerns expressed by stakeholders during the course of its business activities.

Step 3: Finalize relevant topics as CSR material aspects

A presentation of the results of the Step 2 assessment was created, and then reviewed by relevant departments and approved by management. Topics deemed particularly important were finally specified as CSR material aspects.

Key Findings

Based on the results of its CSR materiality assessment, 25 topics listed below have been specified as CSR material aspects. In addition to the aspects Sony has been engaged in seven key areas of focus, there were aspects such as Human Rights that encompass multiple areas, as well as aspects such as Innovation and Data Security that has been of great importance for Sony but recognized the importance again from stakeholders' perspectives. Accordingly, while recognizing the importance of these CSR material aspects, the Sony Group intends to pursue initiatives addressing these aspects.

Contributing to Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. They were formulated based on the outcome of the Millennium Development Goals, which, being established in 2000 with the intention of realizing a better international community, were supposed to be accomplished by 2015. The SDGs are comprised of 169 targets organized under 17 goals related to issues such as poverty, inequality, education, and the environment. The initiative is not only intended for developing nations, but applies to all countries, including advanced countries.
Sony has studied the relationship between the SDGs and its business activities, including its supply chain, and after discussion by top management, has identified the goals that Sony will contribute through its business activities.

All of the Sony Group's businesses are united in pursuing sustainable growth under the mission of being "A company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity. " We believe that the Group's "reason for being" lies in its ability to contribute to society through innovation, and this is the mission the world expects us to achieve. This is directly related to SDG 9, "Industry, innovation and infrastructure." Sony seeks to also contribute to SDGs 3, "Good health and well-being," 5, "Gender equality," 8, "Decent work and economic growth," and 17, "Partnerships for the goals," by through business activities.

It is also important to consider the impact of Sony's business activities on SDGs 5, "Gender equality," 8, "Decent work and economic growth," 12, "Responsible consumption and production," and 13, "Climate action." In these areas, Sony conducts ongoing assessments of risks and impacts, and ensures proper information disclosure.

Furthermore, Sony is committed to making the most of its products, services, and applying its technologies to help accomplish SDGs 4, "Quality education," 5, "Gender equality," 9, "Industry, innovation and infrastructure," and 17, "Partnerships for the goals"—together with its business activities.

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