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September 14, 2023
Sony Group Sustainability Meeting 2023
The social significance of Kando, initiatives to address global social and environmental issues, and
contribution to an inclusive society
Tokyo, Japan - Sony Group Corporation ("Sony") today held its Sustainability Meeting. First, Chairman and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida spoke on the social significance of Kando (emotion), and emphasized that entertainment has the power to bring people together.
Next, Shiro Kambe, Corporate Executive Officer in charge of Sustainability, presented the initiatives addressing global social and environmental issues, and Mitsu Shippee of the Sustainability Department explained Sony's efforts to contribute to an inclusive society, such as in the area of accessibility. Initiatives being implemented in the Entertainment, Technology & Services (ET&S) and the Game & Network Services (G&NS) segments were then introduced as examples of how Sony is improving accessibility to meet the needs of diverse users and creators.
Highlights from the presentation are below. For further details, please refer to the related materials, which will be available on Sonyâs Investor Relations website.
1. The Social Significance of Kando
Sony strives to create Kando and deliver it to the world based on its Purpose to "fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology." Entertainment has the power to bring people together and this Kando content enriches people's lives and plays an important role in society. Together with its employees, Sony aims to continue to create social value in addition to the sustainable growth of the Sony Group, to further extend the social significance of Kando throughout the world.
Contributing to society through creativity
Sony Pictures' animated film series, "Spider-Verse" expresses the importance of diversity based on the concept that "anyone can wear the mask."
"The Swallow," a song created by music unit YOASOBI with Midories, a children's group centered around SDGs, is focused on the theme of "living together" based on a story selected from works submitted by the next generation.
Contributing to society through technology
Technology empowers creators to exert their creativity, leading to the further evolution of entertainment.
Sony supports creators in many ways through technology and contributes to the realization of an inclusive society through initiatives such as developing products that expand the creative possibilities for people with visual impairments and enhancing accessibility on the front lines of video production.
2. Initiatives Addressing Global Social Issues
In response to global social issues, in 2020 Sony established two global funds to provide various forms of support: the 100 million U.S. dollar "Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19" and the 100 million U.S. dollar "Global Social Justice Fund."
Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19
Sony has supported more than 5,600 organizations worldwide in the area of "medical," "education," and the "creative community," and to date approximately 80% of the fund has been pledged or earmarked.
To support efforts to address social issues that have become more serious or more apparent since the outbreak of COVID-19, Sony announced today that it has entered into three-year partnerships with three international organizations the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and Save the Children to donate approximately 15 million U.S. dollars.
Global Social Justice Fund
Through a collaborative effort with the Sony Group entertainment companies, Sony has supported more than 500 organizations across nine regions and more than 70 countries over the past three years to direct investments toward four key pillars of work including "civic and community engagement," "criminal justice reform," "education," and "diversity through impact.".
Although approximately 95% of this fund has already been allocated, Sony, as a company that has evolved and grown based on the diversity of its business and employees, will continue its support activities in this area from a long-term perspective.
- *For further details on the updated progress of these global funds, please refer to the below press release issued today.
3. Contribution to an Inclusive Society
Sony promotes accessibility across its entire Group based on the theme of "Delivering innovation for an accessible future." To understand and support the needs of diverse users, Sony is working to incorporate inclusive design that considers products and services together with these individuals, and intends to implement their perspectives into its product commercialization processes by fiscal 2025. Diverse employees are also involved in inclusive design initiatives and provide feedback about products and services starting from the development stages through internal monitor programs. Sony is also a signatory of "The Valuable 500," a World Economic Forum initiative focused on the inclusion of people with disabilities, and has been selected as the only Iconic Leader in Japan, working together with other organizations and companies to promote disability inclusion.
ET&S segment initiatives
In order to increase each employee's awareness of accessibility, Sony Corporation launched an inclusive design employee training program in the previous fiscal year. This fiscal year, it also plans to conduct a training program for new employees in cooperation with Sony/Taiyo Corporation.
Sony Corporation aims to provide all global photographers with products and services that offer enjoyable shooting experiences. It introduced accessibility features such as those incorporated in the "Alpha 7C II" announced this August, including a screen reader function that assists users with visual impairments in operating the camera and a menu magnify display function for users with difficulty seeing the LCD screen.
Sony Corporation also launched the world's first Retina Projection Camera Kit "DSC-HX99 RNV kit" in Japan and the U.S. that combines Sony's Cyber-shot® DSC-HX99 digital still camera and a RETISSA NEOVIEWER viewfinder from QD Laser, Inc. and makes vision clearer for people who have low vision.
G&NS segment initiatives
Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE), the division behind the PlayStation® brand of products, continues to enhance the accessibility of its console platform, games, and accessories so that even more people can experience the joy and excitement of gaming.
In partnership with expert consultants and charitable organizations that help and advocate for gamers with disabilities, SIE has created the Access™ controller, a highly customizable PlayStation®5 (PS5®) controller kit designed to make gaming more accessible. The Access controller works "out of the box" to help many players with disabilities play more easily, more comfortably, and for longer periods.
PlayStation Studios also creates a variety of industry-defining software titles with an array of vision, hearing, and motor accessibility settings.
With the PS5 console, SIE has introduced a wide array of accessibility options, including display and customization settings like zoom, color correction, text size adjustments, a screen reader feature, closed captions and chat transcription.
- *For further details on the accessibility initiatives of the G&NS segment, please refer to website.
[Supporting an Inclusive Society]
With the aim of realizing an inclusive workplace and society where people with diverse values and backgrounds can play an active role, in addition to evolving the diversity of its employees, Sony is implementing initiatives according to the characteristics of each business and region.
Initiatives according to business and regional characteristics
Sony Music Group launched the "Sony Music Group Global Scholars Program" and announced support for student scholarships globally with the aim of nurturing the next generation of leaders in the music industry.
SIE established PlayStation Career Pathways in 2021, a program that provides scholarships, mentoring, and career-readiness support to Black and Indigenous college students who are seeking career opportunities in the gaming industry.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has been supporting emerging creators aspiring to become television and film directors through the Diverse Directors Program which is now in its 9th year.
In Japan, where the gender gap is also a social issue, Sony is working to contribute to society through a university-enterprise partnership with the aim of supporting the development and growth of female engineers from a medium- to long-term perspective. Together with Nara Women's University Faculty of Engineering, Sony has held workshops on AI and programming for junior high school through university students.
Creating an inclusive work environment
Employees with various disabilities are playing an active role by making the most of their individuality and skills at Sony Taiyo Corporation, which engages in manufacturing high-quality headphones and microphones, and Sony Kibou/Hikari Corporation, which works closely with Sony's operating companies to develop AI functions. Sony is leveraging its expertise in employment practices across the entire Group to enhance accessibility within its facilities and foster an inclusive work environment.
4. Initiatives Addressing the Environmental Issues
Sony promotes environmental initiatives along two axes: "responsibility" and "contribution." As part of the "responsibility" axis, based on its long-term environmental plan "Road to Zero" announced in 2010, Sony has engaged in efforts to reduce its environmental footprint to zero by the year 2050 from four perspectives - "climate change," "resources," "chemical substances" and "biodiversity." Sony announced in 2022 that it would bring forward the goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10 years to 2040. Sony sets medium-term environmental goals every five years, and in terms of its "Green Management 2025" (GM2025) targets to be achieved by fiscal 2025, approximately 60% are on track as of the end of fiscal 2022.
By applying technologies to curb energy consumption during product use across even more models, Sony aims to achieve the GM 2025 target of "reducing annual energy consumption per product unit by a further 5% in fiscal 2025 compared to fiscal 2018."
The rate of renewable electricity at the Sony Group in fiscal 2022 doubled to 29.7% from the previous fiscal year. Through the expansion of solar panels installation at sites operated by its Imaging & Sensing Solutions business, and a newly signed virtual PPA in Japan, Sony is making steady progress toward its goal of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Sony is aiming to realize net-zero GHG emissions by 2030, which arise from the use of purchased power at the sites of Sony's major suppliers (Scope 2). Through its "Partner Eco Challenge Program," Sony shares expertise relating to its energy saving activities with suppliers and provides support for setting and obtaining approval for goals equivalent to Science Based Targets. Sony plans to accelerate these activities including the promotion of this program in China, providing further support for the procurement of renewable energy and educational courses on climate change.
The ET&S and G&NS segments eliminated plastic packaging materials* for 36 new product models in the previous fiscal year. In the ET&S segment, by utilizing its uniquely developed recycled material "Original Blended Material," Sony expects to achieve the complete elimination of plastic packaging materials for newly designed small products within the current fiscal year.
- *The scope of elimination of plastic packaging: the individual product box and packaging on and inside box. Coating and adhesive materials and tamper resistant hologram security seals are excluded.
Contribution to the environment through investment
The corporate venture capital fund "Sony Innovation Fund: Environment" is one example of Sony's "contribution." It was established in 2020 at a scale of 1 billion yen and has invested approximately 300 million yen in six start-up companies that are developing technologies that align with the four environmental perspectives that Sony is focusing on as part of its Road to Zero initiative.
One of the investee companies, Cruz Foam, extracts chitin from crustacean shell waste and develops biomass packaging materials with it. Sony has started the process of verification in the United States to determine if these materials can be used for Sony products.
- *For further details on the Sony Innovation Fund: Environment, please refer to website.