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Dialogue 2019

The NTT Communications Group is creating opportunities to conduct discussions with various stakeholders, with the view to engaging in a dialogue that facilitates closer communication.
Please click here for the dialogue back number


Embracing CSR Management to Usher in a Data-Driven Society for a New Era

Masahiko Kawamura President and Chief ESG Analyst
Sun Messe Innovation Network Center (Sinc) × Tomohiro Ando Executive Vice President and  CSR Committee Cchairperson NTT Communications Corp.

In July 2019, the NTT Communications Group took the opportunity of its 20th anniversary to establish its mission and core beliefs driven by its determination to continue to meet public expectations by creating new communication methods. Having taken a new step forward as a global ICT company, we must concretely address social needs such as those represented by the SDGs. We explored issues and a vision of the future through a dialogue with Mr. Masahiko Kawamura, President of Sun Messe Innovation Network Center.

A Second Founding with a Firm Eye on the Future
A Second Founding with a Firm Eye on the Future
Kawamura
To start off, please explain how the NTT Communications Group has developed CSR initiatives.
Ando
On the occasion of our 10th anniversary in 2009 we established a CSR Committee to lead in setting targets for CSR activities, and we began pursuing initiatives through a PDCA cycle in 2011. In view of moves led by the United Nations and the evolving social environment around CSR and business, we revised our Fundamental CSR Policy and priority activities in 2016.
Kawamura
There were major changes in the global environment around companies in 2015, such as the Paris Agreement and United Nations’ adoption of the SDGs.
Ando
That’s right, and in response to those developments, in fiscal 2018, the NTT Communications Group began promoting initiatives to contribute to realizing a sustainable society and to fulfill our social responsibility based on the SDGs.
Kawamura
That’s when you began linking your CSR activities with the SDGs?
Ando
Yes, however we’re still in the early stages, and as we look ahead to a future of accelerating environmental change, it’s essential that we advance and deepen our efforts even further.
Kawamura
Under these circumstances, the NTT Communications Group established its mission last year, in 2019. Please share the background and aspirations reflected in that mission.
Ando
We celebrated our 20th anniversary in July 2019, which offered a great opportunity for the Group to consider its new initiatives for the future amid the rapid and dramatic changes underway in the business environment. We designated 2019 as a year for a new beginning, or to be “reborn” in a way. Moreover, we engaged in a company-wide effort to consider our role in society as an ICT company provider and how we could fulfill that responsibility for our second founding with a firm eye on 2030 and beyond. Our new mission and core beliefs, as well as the tagline “Go the Distance,” were created by combining the aspirations of all our employees. These statements express our passion for continuously serving people and corporate activity by providing safe, secure ICT services that sustain social activity while also pursuing further innovation to create unprecedented communication methods that open up unlimited new possibilities for people and our world.
Kawamura
Your corporate aspirations were particularly well expressed in your core beliefs of “initiating action,” “inspiring each other,” and “responding to society’s needs.” I think they’ll become the essential spirit, or the mindset, to support NTT Communications’ sustainability.
Ando
Engaging all our employees in deciding that mindset and reaching a consensus on our core beliefs to guide their actions was highly significant. As individual employees pursue their daily operations and efforts with a heightened awareness of acting on our core beliefs, and as the roots of these beliefs deepen, we will be led into the next stage of our CSR activities. This is our hope.
Kawamura
In fact, that’s what you must achieve. I expect nothing less from NTT Communications.
Ando
Thank you for saying that. Let me point out that in addition to creating new value, our tagline “Go the Distance” also has the underlying meaning of steadfastly persevering to the very end.
Kawamura
You intend to go beyond simply taking action?
Ando
We will persevere even in the face of adversity. Together, we’ll venture beyond to resolve diverse issues. This is the aspiration that undergirds our tagline. In the coming years, social innovation will be led by digital data. What we have been calling “Society 5.0,” or a “Data-driven Society,” will become a reality. Our mission is to support society through this change with ICT and exercise creativity to deliver safety and security. We must accomplish this if we’re to address social issues through ICT and create new value for society toward opening up unlimited new possibilities for people and our world.
Kawamura
Your next task is to figure out how to instill this mission throughout the Group. Also, the mission will gain greater value once it becomes something that guides individual decisions in times of uncertainty.
Ando
That is precisely the theme of our next move. We must put our hearts and souls into the core beliefs that we’ve created. In pursuing our varied initiatives, we must consider how we can serve society or create value and also determine which SDGs we can help achieve. Each of the employees should think about these aspects in daily operations and initiate actions, and they inspire one another. We hope to ensure that these activities will spread in concentric circles throughout the organization.
Putting Our Hearts and Souls into Our Mission toward Solving Social Issues
Putting Our Hearts and Souls into Our Mission toward Solving Social Issues
Kawamura
Looking ahead, the key will be in how you link the SDGs with your business operations and CSR initiatives, that is, in defining what precisely you will aim to accomplish. You will therefore need to consider which of the 169 targets you hope to achieve and not simply focus on the 17 goals. You should acknowledge that these will, at the very least, be achievable through your business by 2030. Furthermore, taking action toward reaching that set of concrete targets will raise the significance of NTT Communications’ CSR activities and CSR management.
Ando
I completely agree. So far, we have reached the stage where we have understood the SDGs and their relationship with our CSR activities. From here on, it’s up to us to enhance our efforts.
Kawamura
While the CSR Committee or a similar organ should at least clarify the overall framework and necessary actions, it would be ideal for employees to take the responsibility of deciding on individual issues and receive the necessary authorization.
Ando
We are in the process of doing so. I believe that it would ultimately be faster to have individuals think about the extent to which each of the many initiatives can be achieved and put their hearts into pursuing them.
Kawamura
That is a commendable view. In addition, I recommend exploring an outside-in approach to social issues with regard to materiality. I feel there is a need to clarify the relevance between your business and specific social issues as well as how they should be resolved and raise corporate value.
Ando
Five years have passed since we established our materiality in 2016. Japan is a country facing advanced social issues. As we move toward the next stage in our CSR activities, I hope we can incorporate such an approach while keeping the SDG targets in mind.
Kawamura
For example, I think value chain mapping is an excellent method for seeking to contribute to achieving the SDGs. Specifically, you analyze your value chain and clearly disclose the positive and negative impacts related to each link in the chain. That makes it easier to connect social issues with your SDG targets and convey them both inside and outside the company, which ultimately allows you to proceed to the next step related to the SDGs. While the SDGs for 2030 have spread throughout society, the path beyond that point remains unclear. And that’s precisely why companies seeking to contribute to the SDGs should firmly determine their own direction. Today we shouldn’t remain satisfied by setting the course for 2030; we must keep our sights on 2050. We are entering an era in which companies won’t be able to survive unless they declare an initiative not just for a low-carbon, but also a zero-carbon, society.
Ando
You’re absolutely right. Reducing our environmental impact requires a solid effort by the NTT Group as a whole. For example, NTT’s Innovative Optical & Wireless Network, or IOWN, forms part of that effort. Conventional communication generates heat when data is transformed into electrical signals, and it thereby consumes more electricity. We can reduce this significantly by using optical transmission instead. Replacing all ICT devices with photonics technology should allow us to reduce electricity consumption considerably.
Kawamura
That would be a breakthrough and an innovative solution indeed.
Ando
This effort is uniquely possible for a telecommunications carrier. We must advance this initiative along with the shift to cheap renewable energy. An increase in the environmental impact of infrastructure that sustains the roots of industry will threaten the very foundation upon which companies exist. A bold, global initiative is required, and herein lies an opportunity for Japan to contribute to the world and succeed.
Kawamura
Commercializing such innovation should reduce electricity costs, lowering equipment expenses close to zero. This is the kind of technology I expect from a telecommunications carrier.
Seeking Greater Depth in CSR Activities by Clearly Identifying Stakeholders
kawamura
The CSR report must reveal the company’s key stakeholders. Social issues always exist in connection with people and do not float in the air. It is therefore important to identify the stakeholders associated with the company’s business and disclose the solutions to social issues related to them. Any meaningful contribution to the SDGs must include an increase in social value, which is partly represented by the value of the company’s stakeholders. The transition from “shareholder first” to “stakeholder first” declared by the Business Roundtable, the U.S. equivalent of KEIDANREN(Japan Business Federation) is one example. This is a corporate strategic consideration that goes beyond CSR. More clearing prioritizing and reporting on its stakeholders in the pursuit of CSR activities should enable the NTT Communications Group to engage in a variety of measures and disclosure from the perspectives of both CSR management and contribution to achieving SDGs.
Ando
With respect to the Group’s stakeholders, we have received the highest “Gold” rating in a CSR audit by EcoVadis, an international assessment company, for initiatives related to our supply chain. Looking ahead, as we seek to deepen our efforts further, we should perhaps ascertain our priorities regarding stakeholders from the perspectives you’ve mentioned. We intend to develop future activities by being the first to take on the challenge of novel initiatives and contribute to enriching society. Moreover, we’re seeking to promote further, and achieve greater depth in, our CSR initiatives with the second founding on the occasion of our 20th anniversary. Thank you very much for offering much needed advice.
kawamura
Thank you for participating in this dialogue. To me it felt as if your strong spirit was emanating like heat. All the more reason for raising my expectations for the future of NTT Communications.
Masahiko Kawamura President and Chief ESG Analyst
Sun Messe Innovation Network Center (Sinc) × Tomohiro Ando Executive Vice President and  CSR Committee Cchairperson NTT Communications Corp.

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