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Hitachi, living together with society
CauseBecause Citizen Bureau, November 26, 2011
In March, the Great East Japan Earthquake damage temporarily halted production at many plants across Japan. The earthquake caused temporary shutdowns of electricity, telecommunications, water, and sewage, as well as other parts of the infrastructure that people take for granted.

The quake deeply affected the global value chain of Hitachi and had cast doubt on the business continuity planning of Japanese manufacturers. While many companies waited for the governments and other developmental agencies to bring back normalcy, Hitachi reinforced its risk and crisis management policies and immediately changed its priorities, making the country and its people’s development its topmost focus. The decision was in sync with the vision of the organization’s founder Namihei Odaira.

‘I want you to contribute more to national (social) progress than profits,’ Odaira had said in 1935. His statement remains integral to the company’s corporate credo of ‘contributing to society through the development of superior, original technology and products,’ and the sentiment is shared around the globe.

Today, Hitachi is seriously keeping up with its commitment to develop social infrastructure. The company’s website says that Hitachi is on a mission to help create safe, secure, and vibrant communities, and that it contributes to building a social, industrial, and daily life infrastructure that can better withstand disasters. ‘We will fulfil this mission by focusing on our Social Innovation Business.’

Celebrating its centennial in 2010, the company talked about its social activities and claimed contribution to address United Nations Millennium Development Goals to end poverty and hunger, provide universal education, combat diseases, and ensure environmental sustainability. The company stated that it would continue to contribute to a healthy, safe, and comfortable lifestyle and environment around the globe by drawing on its accumulated expertise and technologies to produce innovations.

The company website states: ‘Deeply aware that a business enterprise is itself a member of society, Hitachi is also resolved to strive as a good citizen of the community towards the realization of a truly prosperous society and, to this end, to conduct its corporate activities in a fair and open manner, promote harmony with the natural environment, and engage vigorously in activities that contribute to social progress.

Corporate Credo Hitachi Group

CSR Policy  

The foundation of CSR Policy at Hitachi stands on the following elements:

Commitment to CSR
The Hitachi Group, including all its executives and employees, recognizes CSR as a vital part of corporate activity and is, therefore, committed to a course of social responsibility in accordance with the CSR policy for sustainable development of society and business.

Contribution to society through business
The Hitachi Group will contribute to the building of a prosperous and vibrant society by providing safe, high-quality products and services through business activities based on research, technology, and product development.

Disclosure of information and stakeholder engagement

The Hitachi Group will disclose information openly and transparently in order to maintain and develop a relationship of trust with its various stakeholders, and act responsibly towards them through various means of communication.

Corporate ethics and human rights
The Hitachi Group will undertake its business based on the principles of fairness and sincerity, act with the utmost respect for human rights, and pursue a high sense of corporate ethics in the global business market which encompasses diverse cultures, morals, ethics, and legal systems.

Environmental conservation

The Hitachi Group will strive to minimize environmental effects and utilize resources towards the development of a sustainable society that is in harmony with the environment.

Corporate citizenship activities
The Hitachi Group will promote social contribution activities as a good corporate citizen in order to realize a better society.

Working environment

The Hitachi Group will make every effort to create a pleasant and motivating working environment for all its employees and to fully support those employees who desire self-fulfilment and self-development through their work.

Responsible partnership with business partners
The Hitachi Group will make every effort to promote fair and sound business practices among their business partners by fostering a common awareness of social responsibility.


In fiscal 2006, Hitachi produced its three-year CSR Roadmap, a medium-term plan for CSR activities. The company website says that the company drew on this roadmap to review its various activities towards welfare of society from a global perspective, and sought to resolve the resulting challenges. In fiscal 2009, these efforts were rewarded as the company was selected to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes (DJSI World). The company also made the Silver Class in the Sustainability Yearbook 2010 published by Swiss firm Sustainable Asset Management and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Hitachi formed a new five-year CSR Roadmap in fiscal 2010. It says that the company will strive under this initiative to become a truly global corporation, reinforce the group’s operational foundations, quantitatively assess its CSR efforts, and function more transparently.

Hitachi’s CSR Roadmap

Involve stakeholders  
Hitachi involves its stakeholders in the CSR decision-making process. The organization engages with them worldwide on key strategic issues, evaluating global social problems requiring attention from the perspectives of community and business sustainability. The CSR Promotion Committee deliberates on matters raised in stakeholder dialogues. This body of Hitachi executive officers incorporates the most significant issues into CSR initiatives for subsequent fiscal years and presents information on important social issues in the Corporate Sustainability Report.

In fiscal 2009, Hitachi representatives met in Brussels with officials from the European Union, non-governmental organizations, and socially responsible investors to discuss regional environmental policies and businesses.

Structure of Hitachi Group CSR Promotion   

CSR self-assessment tools

Hitachi uses CSR self-assessment tools that it developed in fiscal 2008 to clarify and strengthen its group-wide CSR initiatives. It produced an English-language version of the tools in fiscal 2009, testing them in North America and then supplying them to operations throughout Europe and Asia.

Fiscal self-assessment

Hitachi’s self-assessment for fiscal 2009 scored higher than in the previous year, particularly in terms of corporate ethics, human rights, and procurement. The gains were the fruit of a code of conduct and procurement guidelines based on the 10 principles of the United Nations Global Compact as well as efforts to strengthen its compliance system and engage with external experts. The company aims to boost the score in next fiscal by bolstering areas including risk management, CSR education, and disclosure.

Topics covered in each policy of the CSR Self-Assessment Tool

Policy 1: CSR vision; CSR education; risk management
Policy 2: Coordination with business strategies; sustainable designs; customer satisfaction
Policy 3: Information disclosure; dialogue with stakeholders
Policy 4: Corporate governance structure; awareness of ethics; compliance; human rights
Policy 5: Carbon management strategies; resource recycling; ecosystem conservation
Policy 6: Strategic social contribution; participation in local communities; social enlightenment
Policy 7: Respecting diversity; fulfilling work environments; work-life balance
Policy 8: CSR procurement; communication with suppliers

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