We will establish a governance system that addresses the requirements of society and take steps to ensure that it functions effectively on a Groupwide basis.Yuji Asako Director, BANDAI NAMCO Holdings Inc.
As an entertainment company that provides “Dreams, Fun and Inspiration,” the BANDAI NAMCO Group is working to build a solid management foundation for rapidly changing business environments and global markets while advancing environmental and social activities that lead to happiness for society and stakeholders. In this section, Yuji Asako, a Director of BANDAI NAMCO Holdings Inc., discusses the Group’s corporate governance and CSR initiatives.
Would you describe your position within the Group?
Asako: As the Division General Manager of the Corporate Planning Division, I am responsible for communications activities for investors, shareholders, and other internal and external stakeholders. I am also in charge of the formulation of the Mid-term Plan, the establishment of the governance system, the promotion of CSR activities, and other initiatives.
What is the Company’s approach to corporate governance?
Asako: To achieve ongoing growth in enterprise value over the long term, the enhancement of corporate governance will be an important management issue for the Group. In addition, the field of entertainment is changing rapidly, and to succeed in this global competition we will need to establish a solid management foundation. In accordance with that view, I am working to further strengthen the Group’s corporate governance system.
Would you provide an overview of the governance system?
Asako: Since the Company’s founding, we have emphasized the inclusion of objective, outside viewpoints in our management activities. For example, the articles of incorporation call for two or more outside directors. In accordance with this approach, currently three of the 11 board members are independent, outside directors. In addition, the Company uses the Audit & Supervisory Board system, with the four Audit & Supervisory Board members auditing the business execution of the Board of Directors. Three of those four members meet the standards for independent, outside Audit & Supervisory Board members.
We are working to rapidly track and respond to management information. To that end, meetings of executives include the Group Business Report Meeting, which handles data and business reports from each Unit; the Group Management Meeting, which principally discusses Group management issues and strategies; and regular weekly report meetings. In addition, we have established the Personnel Committee and other committees. In this way, we have secured the governance framework.
What is the role of the Personnel Committee?
Asako: The Personnel Committee is an advisory committee to the Board of Directors. Its purpose is to objectively and neutrally consider personnel and compensation issues regarding directors. The majority of the members are independent, outside directors, and the committee has a strong focus on transparency. In addition to the Personnel Committee, the Company also works in other ways to ensure transparency and fairness regarding personnel issues. For example, in the appointment of new officers, the independent, outside directors hold interviews with the candidates, and their opinions are considered when decisions are made.
The Board of Directors is also evaluated by the outside officers.
Asako: It is difficult for the Board of Directors to evaluate itself, and accordingly objective evaluations are conducted by the Independent Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members Committee, which comprises outside directors and Audit & Supervisory Board members. Specifically, an annual questionnaire is distributed to all officers, and the results are used to identify issues where there is a gap between the comments of inside and outside officers. On that basis, the Independent Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members Committee evaluates the situation and provides its opinions to the Board of Directors. In this way, we can determine if there is a lack of objectivity on the Board of Directors, if the board is functioning effectively, etc.
What were the results of the evaluation from the Independent Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members Committee?
Asako: The strong points were considered to be the culture of the Board itself and the demonstration of leadership by all of the Directors, based on their recognition of their roles. The rapid formulation of an action plan in response to the opinions of the Independent Directors and Audit & Supervisory Board Members Committee was also evaluated. This fiscal year, we received opinions regarding tracking and responding to risks with a global perspective, strengthening the monitoring of major business companies, and taking steps to develop the next-generation of managers and executives. Moving forward, we will continue to respond rapidly to these opinions.
What steps are being taken to strengthen governance?
Asako: The Corporate Governance Code, which is formulated by the Tokyo Stock Exchange, was revised last year. In conjunction with this revision, we took steps to verify the Company’s corporate governance, and the results confirmed that our initiatives were generally in line with the demands of society. Nevertheless, we must continue to think about how to do an even better job. The BANDAI NAMCO Group includes more than 100 companies. We are active in a wide range of businesses, and our operating environment is continually changing. To identify risks and take full advantage of opportunities, we will work to further enhance our governance system, to ensure that the significance of that system is thoroughly understood throughout the Company, and to make sure that the system is functioning in a sustainable, effective manner.
Contributing to the realization of a sustainable society by building an environment that facilitates ongoing, independent initiatives
Would you explain the Group’s approach to CSR?
Asako: The Group’s CSR concept is “Fun For the Future!” As a company that provides “Dreams, Fun and Inspiration,” these words incorporate our wish to leverage BANDAI NAMCO’s distinctive strengths in order to contribute to the creation of a fun future. In organizational systems, we hold regular meetings of the Group CSR Committee. This committee is chaired by President Taguchi, and the members include the president of each Unit’s core company. The committee discusses and shares information about important CSR strategies. In addition, we are working to promote specific activities through the Group CSR Subcommittee. This is a subsidiary organization of the Group CSR Committee, and the participants include people working on the front lines.
There are four important themes.
Asako: Yes, there are four important themes that the Group is working on. These are “safety of products and services,” “environmental consideration,” “policies regarding influence on society of the Group’s content and products,” and “supply chain management.” We periodically verify the importance of these themes in line with such factors as the demands of the societies in which the Group operates and the influence of our businesses on those societies.
What is the Group’s focus in the implementation of CSR activities?
Asako: To foster spontaneity and continuity on the front lines, we are constantly asking whether or not our CSR activities are in line with our business activities. For example, changing lighting to LEDs at amusement facilities is effective not only from the viewpoint of environmental friendliness but also from the business perspective of reducing costs by saving electricity. Considering this business focus, employees who are on the front lines of product and service development can engage in independent, ongoing initiatives, thereby facilitating contributions to the realization of a sustainable society.
The Group is also implementing support for regions affected by disasters.
Asako: We continue to offer support activities in the regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. For example, Group employees are now visiting these regions three times a year and holding workshops that leverage BANDAI NAMCO’s distinct strengths through the use of IP and products. In addition, we offer shareholders the option to donate their shareholder benefits. We combine the amount donated by shareholders with a contribution from the Company and donate a total of ¥10 million to Save the Children Japan. The donated funds are used for support activities for children in the regions affected by the disaster.
We continue to implement support activities for children in regions affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. Photo shows activities held in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.
What issues does the Group face in CSR, and what areas require strengthened initiatives?
Asako: As we expand the IP axis strategy around the world, I think that we need to take an even more rigorous approach to considering the influence of our products and services on society. Furthermore, while we aim for business growth we also need to continue to implement countermeasures to address environmental issues. Up to this point, we have set CO2 emissions reduction targets and worked to achieve them, and from the current Mid-term Plan we are also starting to manage emissions intensity* for each Unit. As a company that provides “Dreams, Fun and Inspiration,” to customers around the world, we will continue to do our utmost on Groupwide basis as we move forward. * CO2 emissions per unit of activity
What is your motto for the development of managers and employees?
Asako: I strive to ensure that we maintain consistency in our interactions with our various stakeholders. This applies to our views and statements as well as to our policies and points of focus. On the other hand, the conventional wisdom in one market might not apply in another market, and the social environment also changes, and I need to continue to emphasize modesty in honestly accepting those facts. I am also working to create environments in which employees can have fun while positively and energetically doing their work. I think that building a favorable internal environment is one of my major duties, and moving forward I will continue to provide energetic support for the activities of our employees.
This article is an extract from the Newsletter, BANDAI NAMCO News, which was published in March 2019 and partially re-edited.