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Sony Corporate Blog

What Sony Can Do for the Planet and Society

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Q1: What was the most important message that Sony wanted to convey through the recent ESG Briefing?

Shippee: At Sony, we have been holding ESG Briefings every year since 2018 to enhance understanding towards our sustainability initiatives. In this year's Briefing, we presented primarily how Sony has integrated sustainability into management more so than in the past, and that sustainability has become an integral part of the activities of each Group business, and of our employees. I believe that we were able to evolve in this direction by having each business within the Group truly understand the importance of sustainability and take action.

Shiga: Sony has been actively involved in environmental activities since the early 70s, but I really feel that, in recent years, the activities have accelerated not just at the Sony Group headquarters, but in each business.

Q2: Why is Sony so strongly committed to addressing environmental and social issues?

Shippee: The main reason for this is that Sony believes that based on its Purpose, sustainability-related initiatives are essential for sustainable business operations, and that our business is only possible with a healthy global environment and society.

  • * Sony's Purpose is to "Fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology.

― Do you believe this approach is becoming even more important as increasingly environmental and social issues become part of our daily lives?

Shippee: Yes, the ongoing spread of COVID-19 since last year and the many instances of extreme weather events occurring in many parts of the world are a clear reminder to Sony's management, and its over 110,000 employees, that the global environment and society are not unchangeable, and are in fact something that we have to protect.

Shiga: In his first blog to employees, our CEO, Yoshida-san described Sony in the context of "Sony and the Planet Earth," referring to the fact that Sony's business is possible only when the global environment is healthy, as Shippee-san just mentioned.
When people think of corporate stakeholders, they often think of shareholders, customers, and employees, but at Sony, we also consider our business partners, local communities, and even the Earth itself to be an important stakeholder.

Q3: First, looking at the Environment. What is Sony's approach in this area?

Shiga: Sony approaches its activities for the environment from the two perspectives of "Responsibility" and "Contribution," that is, our "Responsibility" to the earth as a global corporation, and the "Contributions" we can make to solve global environmental issues with our businesses and technologies.

― This is the approach that Yoshida-san explained at the recent ESG Briefing. Could you explain more about the specific initiatives?

Shiga: The foundation of our "Responsibility" activities is Sony's "Road to Zero" environmental plan to reduce our environmental footprint to zero by 2050. To achieve this goal, we are promoting energy conservation and the use of renewable energy in our offices and factories. In addition, to reduce the use of plastic, we have started using our Original Blended Material made from bamboo, sugar cane and post-consumer recycled paper for product packaging. We believe that these activities add value to our products and make them more appealing to our customers.

One example in the area of "Contribution" is our development of the world's first intelligent vision sensor equipped with AI processing capabilities. As the amount of data to be processed is expected to increase exponentially in the IoT era, we would like to provide solutions that contribute to reducing electric power consumption with our sensors and AI technology.

  • * AI Processing within the image sensor make it possible to significantly reduce data volume flowing to the cloud.
Q4: Contributing to the environment through technology is very much aligned with Sony's strengths. Is Sony also engaged in any unique initiatives in the area of entertainment?

Shiga: Yes, many. For example, this year, Sony Pictures Entertainment released Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and launched a global campaign featuring Peter Rabbit and his friends in collaboration with the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the United Nations Foundation, calling on fans to "Be a Food Hero like Peter Rabbit!"

Shippee: By working with these beloved characters, we hope to encourage kids and their families to be food heroes by taking actions like eating healthy food, buying at local gardens and farmers markets, reducing food waste and planting their own gardens.

Shiga: Exactly. We have also put together a video that summarizes other examples of our contributions in the entertainment field, as well as many other initiatives across the Sony Group, including new materials that Sony has originally developed to purify water and air, investment funds for start-up companies specializing in new environmental technology, and our efforts for augmented ecosystems. I hope that many people will watch this video, and that it will inspire more people to join us in taking action for the environment.

Q5: Looking at the area of social issues. What is Sony's approach to diversity and inclusion among its employees?

Shippee: Sony aims to create value for society through its portfolio of businesses centered on people, and the foundation for such value creation lies in the diversity of our employees.

Shiga: As a company that operates its business all around the globe, Sony considers diversity a strength, as well as one of its most important corporate values to be shared by all employees.

Q6: Since last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on society, and there have been renewed calls for social justice and equity around the world. What is Sony doing to address these global issues?

Shippee: Last year, we launched two global funds of 100 million US dollars each.
One is the Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19, which aims to provide assistance to those who have been severely impacted by the pandemic, and the other is the Global Social Justice Fund, which was established in response to the movements for anti-racism and social justice, especially in the United States.

― We've previously looked at the Global Social Justice Fund on the Sony Corporate Blog, so today please could you tell me more about the Global Relief Fund for COVID-19?

Shippee: Yes. Through this fund, we are developing support activities for people affected by COVID-19 in the three areas of healthcare, education, and the creative community. In terms of direct contributions to date, we have delivered support to about 5,500 organizations, including monetary donations from each Sony Group company to international organizations and NPOs, donations of face shields and "aibo" entertainment robots to medical institutions, and donations of KOOV® the all-in-one coding, robotics and design kit to educational institutions in Japan, the United States and China.

Shiga: The support activities we have enacted through these funds have been driven by the strong ideas and passion of our diverse employees, and I think this truly represents the diversity of Sony.

Q7: With Sony continuing to strengthen its sustainability initiatives in recent years, where have you have noticed the most significant changes? Also, where you would like to see even more progress going forward?

Shiga: When Yoshida-san was appointed CEO, sustainability became a core element of Sony's management strategy, which was a major change. As the industry as a whole accelerates its sustainability efforts, I hope that Sony will maintain its position as a proactive leader in society.

Shippee: I also feel that sustainability has become a core part of management over the past few years. Internally, we are collaborating with corporate planning departments, and externally, I feel that sustainability has become part of our conversations with investors more than ever before. One big change is that starting from this fiscal year, efforts to address sustainability issues have been included in the company's mid-range plan, and each business has established sustainability KPIs that will be part of the business performance evaluation process.
I want to keep communicating with our stakeholders about Sony's sustainability activities as we continue to evolve on this front.

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