Fair Business Practice
We established and faithfully implement “Our Code of Conduct and Its Practical Guide,” which stipulates action guidelines for each employee to fulfill their responsibility as a member of our Group and contribute to sustainable development of international society.
Activities in 2015
As in the previous year, we continued to conduct the following activities in accordance with Our Code of Conduct and Its Practical Guide:
Prevention of Corruption and Bribery
In addition to ensuring that employees abide by our legal guidelines on the prohibition of bribery, we provided education on countryspecific anti-bribery laws for organizations concerned within the Group to make sure that they strictly comply with anti-bribery laws in their respective countries.
Conformance to the Antimonopoly Act
We ensured that all organizations concerned within the Group observe the Act on Prohibition of Private Monopolization and Maintenance of Fair Trade (“Antimonopoly Act”) and engage in free and fair competition by providing them with education on our Antimonopoly Act Compliance Manual and rules concerning what they must and must not do when they need to interact with competitors to make sure that they strictly adhere to the manual and rules.
Antimonopoly Act workshop
Security export control
For all export products, Showa Denko’s Security Export Control Committee, established under the CSR Committee, determines whether or not government permission is required, investigates customers, and makes a decision on whether to enter into each transaction through systematized procedures.
As part of our social responsibilities, Showa Denko will engage in steady efforts to ensure that our products never threaten international peace and security.
Efforts to meet environmental and social demands
The movement toward selecting and procuring products that have the minimum possible environmental impact throughout their life cycles, from material procurement to use and disposal, is rapidly spreading around the world.
The Showa Denko Group responds appropriately and in good faith to meet customer requests to reduce the use of harmful substances and to reassure customers that the Group's products do not use or incorporate harmful chemical substances subject to regulations in the EU or other regions.
Showa Denko undertakes CSR procurement, attaching importance to the society- and environment-conscious business activities in
the entire supply chains from the procurement of raw materials to manufacture and sale. To promote CSR procurement, Showa Denko implements the following policies:
- 1)We will take a comprehensive approach in selecting most suitable supplier partners based upon economic rationality by taking into consideration quality, price, delivery period, credibility of management, safety, services, technological competence and attention to environment and society.
- 2)In selecting our supplier partners, we have an open-door policy for business opportunities with sincerity, fairness and honesty, disregarding the nationality, past records of transaction and the corporate group relationship of the candidate companies.
- 3)Our purchasing activities shall be in compliance with laws and regulations, as well as our internal rules.
Activities in 2015
Our CSR procurement aims to mutually improve the corporate value of both our business partners and Showa Denko by sharing with them and requesting their compliance with the Showa Denko Group CSR Procurement Guidelines (http://www.sdk.co.jp/english/about/procurment/csr.html).
The guidelines provide specific CSR activities that we request our business partners to conduct. In order to confirm their compliance
with the guidelines, in 2015 we continued performing three activities: asking business partners to assess their own CSR activities (“selfassessments”), visiting them for inspection purposes (“CSR visits”), and doing follow-up checks on their improvement (“follow-up”).
We also spread these CSR procurement activities to our Group companies in Japan and carried out self-assessment surveys of the
business partners of four Group companies, with the agreement of those Group companies.
We ask our business partners to fill out self-assessment questionnaires to check how well they meet the Showa Denko Group CSR Procurement Guidelines. The survey is conducted once every three years in the case of major business partners and at the time of starting transactions in the case of new business partners. We carefully check every response and the analyzed results are fed back to the respondents for continuous improvement.
The objective of CSR visits is to check that CSR activities are conducted properly by our business partners at their actual sites. Purchasing personnel from each plant visit about 40 business partners every year to confirm that their responses to the self-assessment questionnaire are true and correct and to interview them to communicate our policies to and gather necessary information from them.
If any area needing improvement is found at any business partner as a result of a self-assessment and/or CSR visit, we work closely together with the partner for improvement to ensure that they will meet the guidelines.
■ Examples of advice
- We requested business partners in the areas of raw materials, construction, packaging, logistics, etc. to develop regulations and provide education on compliance to mployees to increase their compliance awareness.
- We requested business partners in the areas of raw materials, packaging, etc. whose business continuity plans for emergency situations were inadequate to develop and aintain a sufficient system that will assure us a stable supply of their products.
- At the request of Oita City, we held a seminar on our CSR procurement for small and mediumsized enterprises as part of an industry-academia collaboration support event rganized by the city to promote their CSR activities.
Protection of intellectual property
Acquisition of intellectual property rights and establishment of patent networks
As the majority of Showa Denko's businesses are operated globally, we aggressively apply for patents in foreign countries with the aim of supporting those businesses from the intellectual property side.
The chart shown below is a composition of data shown in "Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2016" and SDK's own data on the number of applications for patents. It illustrates that the Showa Denko's global application ratios were about 10% higher than those by all applicants.
We also make every effort to secure our superiority based on intellectual property rights, especially in the principal businesses
and newly developed important products by establishing patent networks.
One of our Codes of Conduct is to respect the intellectual property rights of others. Starting in 1996, we have built a patent monitoring framework to constantly grasp trends in the intellectual property rights of other parties.
We started digitizing this monitoring process in 2005 and, in 2011, established a system that enables us to monitor foreign patents as well.
System relating to employee inventions
Following the revision of the Patent Act in 2014, we changed our system related to employee inventions twice, in 2005 and in 2011
(with the latter change enforced on July 1, 2011). We have also revised the commendation system for employee inventions to promote the filing of more valuable patent applications. Conventionally, only the top 3 employees in numbers of patent applications filed in the previous year were applicable for commendations. However, in 2013, we started to also commend the top 3 employees in numbers of patent obtained in the previous year. In 2015, we reported in our Group newsletter the patent applied for by us which was quoted by Japan Patent Office examiners most frequently of all our patents pending during the previous fiscal year in
rejecting patent applications from other companies.