Message from the President

Toward the next 100 years, we will treasure Fair play, Friendship and Fighting spirit and contribute to making people around the world happy with the power of sports.

We are seeing the global growth of enthusiasm for sports to watch, such as mega sports events and professional sports. We are also seeing the rising popularity of sports to participate in, such as fun runs. Sports constitute an essential part of our everyday lives today.
Japan has entered the era of a super-aging society ahead of other countries around the world, and the extension of healthy life expectancy has become a major issue in our country. In addition, there are concerns about the decrease in the physical strength and athletic performance of children, which is attributed to the decrease in exercise opportunities and the change of lifestyle. It will therefore be very satisfying if sports energize many people and help solve these social issues as something more than mere pastimes.

At Mizuno, we have established “Creating the new 100 year brand” as one of our long term management policies. Sports-related industries are seeing fierce global competition, and poor business performance is a problem in some counties/regions and product fields. From the viewpoint of global social trends, however, trying to make people around the world happy with the power of sports is the right direction for us to take. We are determined to keep creating new value for our stakeholders by advancing better sporting goods and promoting sports.

In today’s globalized society, the business activities of companies are subject to increasingly strict social monitoring by consumers, NGOs, civil society, and others. As the relationship between sports and businesses grows closer, companies involved in sports like us must engage in business activities in a more responsible manner in consideration of sustainability. We must therefore pass the baton called “sustainable future” to future generations.

Based on this long term policy, we at Mizuno identified issues of materiality in fiscal 2016 from the viewpoint of the impact of the business activities of the Mizuno Group on stakeholders and society.

First, the most important responsibility of a sporting goods manufacturer is product liability. These days, we are held responsible for ensuring environmental consideration, respect for human rights, and other matters throughout the entire value chain, from materials purchase,production, sales, use, and disposal, in addition to providing safe, secure, high-quality products. At Mizuno, we ensure that we carry out comprehensive prior evaluations of new suppliers, and we audit and provide instructions to all our primary suppliers thoroughly in accordance with our CSR standards, including those on the environment, human rights, and labor. We believe that moving forward, we will need to expand the targets of these activities to secondary and subsequent suppliers one by one, starting from high-risk domains.

Next, the promotion of sports is also an important responsibility for us. In addition to helping to maintain and promote good health, sports are a powerful means for generating communication that transcends national borders and generation gaps, helping to enrich people’s lives. At Mizuno, we provide a variety of programs throughout Japan and also collaborate with local governments and local communities to help improve the athletic ability and physical strength of young people and extend the healthy life expectancy of senior citizens. Moreover, we are now engaged in a public-private partnership project for introducing the Hexathlon(*) program to public elementary schools in Vietnam. We are working on this project to achieve the goal of improving children’s physical strength, judgment, and communication capability.

(*) Hexathlon: An exercise program provided using tools that have been uniquely developed by Mizuno.

We are also committed to the encouragement of diversity of employees. While the ratio of women in managerial-level positions is still low at present, the average proportion of female new graduates in the past four years is 47%, which is above the industry average, while the rate of those who return to work after childcare leave is 95% and the retention rate is 100%. At Mizuno, we have already begun to proactively encourage the participation of female employees in product development, store planning, and other operations to apply the viewpoint of women, who are highly influential in purchase decisions, to our business. We carry out these activities as measures that are linked directly to our business, as well as for helping women to work actively.
The purpose of the encouragement of diversity is to create an environment and corporate climate that allow all employees, both men and women, to perform to the best of their potential. We are currently implementing a range of initiatives to achieve this aspiration with the aim of increasing the proportion of women in managerial-level positions to 8% (at Mizuno Corporation only) by 2020.

What business and sports have in common is the fact that the observation of rules is the basic requirement. Compliance with laws, regulations, and other rules is the minimum requirement, and a company operating globally must keep in mind that it is also a type of rule to respect various international codes of conduct that are deemed important internationally.

I consider that we should promote specific activities concerning the issues of materiality specified in our CSR Report 2017 globally across the entire Mizuno Group. This, I believe, is how the Mizuno Group acts responsibly in accordance with international rules.

Mizuno’s founder Rihachi Mizuno left a precept that reads "Rieki no Ri yori Dori no Ri.", which suggests that it is vital to make profits without breaching moral principles. To promote sports, he began holding baseball tournaments at a grassroots level during the Taisho Period (1912 to 1926). These tournaments have developed into the high school baseball tournaments held in spring and summer every year and the Intercity Baseball Tournament. We are committed to promoting sports, which results in the development of sports-related markets and ultimately in the improved profitability of our business. This approach has remained unchanged since our foundation. The idea has been passed down to us in the form of our corporate philosophy, “Contributing to society through the advancement of sporting goods and the promotion of sports.”
Based on our corporate philosophy, we will continue to take on challenges toward the next 100 years together with our stakeholders by applying the ideas of sustainability and CSR, which are essential in contemporary society, to our management.

Akito Mizuno
Mizuno Corporation