Top Management Commitment

President, Atsushi Hirochi President, Atsushi Hirochi

Strengthening CSV Management by Taking SDGs into Consideration

Based on his belief that "Good people make good silk yarn," Tsurukichi Hatano, the founder of Gunze, concentrated his efforts on educating female mill workers (employees) to improve the quality of silk yarn they produced. At that time, people spoke of the Gunze factory as "a factory on the outside but a school on the inside." His management philosophy of "respecting, fostering, and empowering people" has been handed down from generation to generation and is still preserved today at Gunze.

Throughout its history of over 120 years, Gunze has consistently lived up to its founding principles, which include a people-oriented approach, a commitment to quality, and harmonious coexistence. To use the analogy of weaving, these principles serve as "warp" threads that must remain unchanged, while business operations that must adapt to the changing needs of the times represent "weft" threads. With this in mind, we have continuously transformed ourselves and taken on new challenges. As such, all people at the Gunze Group will remain faithful to our founding philosophy as we move ahead toward the future.

When I became president of Gunze in April of 2017, I decided to reorganize the head office structure, by setting up two new organizations—the CSR Committee and the Working Style Reform Committee. Through the establishment of the CSR Committee, we aimed to further upgrade our CSR activities from the former style, which mainly relied on a dedicated section, to the present style of Group-wide initiatives that combine the knowledge and ideas of people at various positions and different organizations. By doing so, we seek to fulfill our social responsibilities through our business operations by more closely aligning with our founding philosophy. Moreover, a new Legal Affairs & Compliance Control Section was established under the Management & Strategy Department. This section is tasked with strengthening our risk management system through linkage with the Intellectual Property Strategy Section. The Working Style Reform Committee is responsible for reviewing our conventional styles of work, while introducing more flexible and creative workstyles. This will help us meet diverse requirements for working conditions and help employees achieve a better work-life balance.

Gunze's CSR activities conventionally focused on reform of corporate culture, including openness in the workplace and unity among workers, as well as donations, volunteer activities, and other social contributions. We have also sought to enhance our corporate value through activities centered on risk management, in order to take responsibility for the impact our corporate activities have on the environment and society. As society's expectations and requirements for businesses change over time, however, we must also seek to solve issues faced by our society through our core businesses.

In September of 2015, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. SDGs represent a universal set of objectives that the global community should meet by addressing high-priority issues by the year 2030. The Japanese government and Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) are also working in tandem with the global community toward the achievement of these goals. In light of this situation, we must also correctly adapt to changes in society and create new businesses and social innovations by drawing on Gunze's proprietary technologies and expertise. Doing so will allow us to achieve our goals for CSV (Creating Shared Value), which is an initiative aimed at resolving social issues through business. This concept conforms to Gunze's founding philosophy, so it is deeply rooted within the company's DNA. In other words, CSV remains as the backbone of our management practices, and thus everyone at Gunze is required to promote CSV activities both at the departmental and Group-wide levels, and on our individual initiatives.

With a firm determination to contribute to society through the supply of products and services that provide a "feeling of comfort," Gunze remains committed to enhancing customer satisfaction and corporate value. We meet this commitment by continuously serving as a company that fulfills the needs of society and that grows sustainably alongside society.

Fiscal 2018 marks the second year of the second phase (fiscal 2017 through fiscal 2020) of our medium-term management plan "CAN 20" (fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2020). Our main objective this year is to combine the efforts of all employees to address our strategic challenges of coping with the maturity of our main product lines and channels, as we work to promote further growth. Your continued support and patronage are greatly appreciated.

President, Atsushi Hirochi