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September 15, 2021
Evolving Sustainability Management: Initiatives to Create Value Through Sony’s Business
Sony Group Corporation (“Sony” or “the Company”) continues to operate its business with a long-term view centered around “people”, based on its Purpose to “fill the world with emotion, through the power of creativity and technology.” At its ESG Briefing held today, Sony outlined the evolution of its sustainability management, focusing on initiatives that aim to create social value through its diverse business activities and technology. Highlights from the presentation are below. For further details, please refer to the related materials, which are available through Sony’s Investor Relations (IR) website.
1. Dialogue with Stakeholders / Integration of Sustainability Activities into Businesses
Sony greatly values dialogue with its diverse stakeholders, and incorporates insights gained from this interaction into the management of its businesses. As part of this dialogue, ESG Briefings have been held every year since 2018.
Sony is integrating sustainability into its business activities and accelerating the social and environmental measures it is taking through its business and technology. Having identified the most important materiality topics for the overall Sony Group as “technology” and “employees”, the Company has defined and disclosed the type of social value each of its businesses aims to create, and the key priorities relating to sustainability within each business.
2. Initiatives Relating to the Global Environment
Based on its “Road to Zero” long-term environmental plan leading up to 2050, Sony is implementing initiatives to reduce its environmental impact across all Sony Group companies, manufacturing sites, supply chains and product life cycles, based on four perspectives: climate change, resources, chemical substances and biodiversity.
Initiatives in the Imaging & Sensing Solutions (I&SS) Business
“Responsibility” regarding the environment:＜Energy Conservation＞ At the newly constructed Fab 5 within Nagasaki Technology Center, installation of the latest energy-saving technology has resulted in a 30% improvement in the energy efficiency of clean rooms*. Additionally, 70% of the water used on the production lines is collected and reused.
- *Estimate based on data from the Nagasaki Technology Center for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016 (FY2015).
＜Renewable Energy＞ Sony is proceeding with the installation of solar panels at its manufacturing sites in Japan. In addition, Sony Device Technology (Thailand) Co., Ltd. is moving forward with the largest scale installation of solar panels among any facility within the Sony Group. Together with the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates, the site is expected to run on 100% renewable electricity by the end of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2022 (FY2021).
“Contribution” to the environment:
The “IMX500” intelligent vision sensor developed by Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corporation is equipped with AI processing functionality within the logic chip of the image sensor. This technology is expected to support advancement in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT). Processing data on the sensor itself, at the edge of edge systems, makes it possible to extract only the required metadata (semantic information). As a result, this technology contributes to a reduction in power consumption by lowering the volume of data sent to and processed within the cloud, while also enhancing latency (response speed) and having positive implications for privacy.
“IMX500” is being used in trials of solutions addressing social issues such as traffic congestion and accidents in urban areas, and as part of the effort to reduce the energy consumed by air conditioning systems in buildings.
Initiatives to Enhance Product Energy-Efficiency, and Reduce Plastic in Packaging
- Sony is dedicated to improving the energy efficiency of its TVs, game consoles and other consumer electronics products. In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021 (FY2020), the quantity of power consumed annually per product was 54% lower than in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2014 (FY2013).
- Regarding small-sized products, for which Sony plans to eliminate plastic packaging entirely by 2025, Sony is now using its “Original Blended Material,” a newly developed paper material made from bamboo, sugarcane, and recycled paper, in the packaging of headphones. The use of plastic has also been significantly reduced in the packaging for XperiaTM and PlayStation® 5. For TVs, which continue to increase in size, Sony is accelerating the use of its SORPLASTM originally developed flame retardant recycled plastic material.
Applying Sony’s Environmental Technologies within Society
- Sony is proceeding with the development of its VISION-S Prototype electric vehicle (EV) incorporating its latest automotive sensing technologies, and a cloud platform that connects with the vehicle via 5G. Electric vehicles are capable of functioning as large capacity storage batteries in a microgrid, while the cloud platform enables vehicle functions to be continually upgraded through software update. As such, Sony intends to contribute to the evolution of mobility and to the environment through these technologies.
- The “Open Energy System (OES)” developed by Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. is a microgrid system that enables residences to mutually exchange electric power via direct current. The results from feasibility testing of this system were made available on an open source basis at the end of last year.
- SynecO, Inc., which was established as the inaugural project of the Sony Innovation Fund: Environment, aims to contribute to biodiversity and solutions concerning climate change, through its knowledge and support technologies related to Synecoculture and other augmented ecosystems.
- In order to provide people with experiences that reaffirm the relationship between “The Planet Earth and Space,” Sony is engaged in joint technological demonstrations and the exploration of business opportunities with the support of the University of Tokyo and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). This includes the co-development of an ultra-small satellite equipped with Sony camera technology, capable of capturing images in all directions. It is scheduled to launch into space next year.
3. Initiatives Relating to People and Society
The diversity of Sony’s employees is its strength, and the Company continues to promote diversity, equity and inclusion across the Sony Group. At the same time, it also engaged in initiatives focusing on diversity and social justice within society and all of the communities in which it operates.
Inclusion Initiatives in Product Development and the Work Environment
- Sony consults people with disabilities and involves them in usability tests right from the planning and development stage of its products and services. By reflecting their feedback and making improvements, Sony is able to enhance the accessibility of its products, user interfaces and services.
- Each Sony Group company is engaged in efforts to promote the creation of an inclusive work environment. For instance, Sony Kibou/Hikari Corporation employees with mental and intellectual disabilities are members of Sony’s software and product development teams for mirrorless cameras, where they are able to flourish by applying their own individual skillset.
- In December 2019, Sony joined the “The Valuable 500,” an international initiative which aims to promote the participation of disabled people in business. Sony was also selected as one of the 13 Iconic Leaders of this initiative.
Supporting the Medical and Education Fields, and the Creative Community
- In April 2020, Sony established the “Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19” to support people around the world affected by the COVID-10 pandemic. Sony Group companies have engaged in wide-ranging activities to support medical care, education, and the creative community through their businesses and technology, and the allocation of approximately 80% of the 100 million US dollars pledged through the fund has now been determined. To date, Sony has provided support to a total of approximately 5,500 organizations through this fund.
- Sony Music is collaborating with organizations such as non-profit organizations (NPOs) in the US, UK and other countries to provide support for artists and help construct an environment where creators can immerse themselves in their work, in a positive state of both physical and mental well-being. Measures are also being taken in Japan to support both the mental and physical health of artists and creators signed to exclusive management contracts, as well as the staff that support them.
Promoting Social Justice and Diversity
- In June 2020 the Sony Group established a 100 million US dollar Global Social Justice Fund following the protests against racism and the social justice movement in the US and other countries. Through this fund, Sony Group companies in the US and around the world are supporting organizations that work towards social justice and the protection of human rights, while also promoting diversity inside and outside of the Company from a long-term perspective. The allocation of approximately 70% of the 100 million dollars pledged through this fund has now been determined.
4. Governance that Supports Sustainability Initiatives
Sony considers governance to be a framework that enables the Company to carry out its sustainability initiatives, and is continually working to reinforce this structure.
- From FY2020, Sony has adopted an index for evaluating sustainability initiatives as a factor determining performance-linked compensation for Senior Executives.
- From FY2021 onwards, Sony is integrating sustainability initiatives areas such as employees and the environment that have been identified as key priorities by each business, into their respective Mid-Range plans. It is also setting related KPIs and evaluating the results as an integral measure of business performance.