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Jan. 04, 2018
Sumitomo Corporation

2018 New Year Message

A Happy New Year to everyone.
My best wishes go out from Tokyo to everyone in the Sumitomo Corporation Group worldwide.

This year will be a true turning point for the Sumitomo Corporation Group.
The mid-term management plan, BBBO2017, which we have tackled as a team will come to an end, and a new plan will begin in April under Mr. Hyodo’s leadership, who will be the next President & CEO from April 1 this year. In autumn, we will relocate our head office from Harumi to Otemachi. And it is still a little way off, but 2019 marks the centennial of the company’s founding.

2018 will be a major turning point in many respects, and is an important year for the Sumitomo Corporation Group to evolve and leap forward to a new stage.

< Outlook for the business environment in 2018 >

Sumitomo Corporation Global Research perceives a growing trend in 2018 where countries with strong economic power and those promoting the expansion of military capabilities tend to prioritize their own interests above harmony with the international community and neighboring countries. Consequently, it has described this year as “the start of an era where hard power once again overwhelms engagement and diplomacy.”
It seems that the growing worldwide geopolitical risks will not be readily resolved.

Developed countries’ monetary easing policy following the collapse of the economic bubble enters its final stage, and there are concerns about its negative impact on the emerging economies, but the stable world economic growth is expected to continue this year.

In technology and business, we are seeing faster changes in the patterns of people’s behavior and reform of business models through IoT and AI, and they are having a major impact on existing industries overall. You may have already started to use new services, such as sharing services, in your personal life.

In these changing times, I wish to suggest the following four items, which are needed for the Sumitomo Corporation Group to evolve and leap forward to a next stage that we are aiming for.

< Continuous efforts for work style reform: ”Act now” and “Half & double” >

The first item is the continued reform of everybody’s work style.

In last year’s New Year message, I described the key slogans: “act now” and “half & double.”

I really feel that implementing these measures throughout the company has helped each person to change their approach towards use of time and how they organize and engage in their work.

This year, as a company, we will continue to expand measures which lead to work style reform, under the slogans “act now” and “half & double.”

For example, as we relocate our head office this autumn, we will introduce teleworking to achieve a self-sustained and flexible way of working that reflect the diversity of individuals' lifestyles and life stages. We will combine functional office space and ICT infrastructure to develop an environment where people can create new value and produce innovation.

We will eliminate waste at work and increase efficiency, thereby producing spare time to develop new business and for self-improvement to enrich ideas. By successfully managing work and life, we will maintain mental and physical health and create the foundation to realize high added value work.
Such work style reform is also a reform that makes work more rewarding for us.

< Transcending barriers: Cross-organizational collaboration and new challenges >

The second is transcending barriers.

We are living in an era of dramatic change. If we do not continue to evolve and leap forward through new challenges so that we can adapt to change, we will be quickly eliminated.

It is important that we make fearless efforts to overcome the barriers of preconceived notions. As the move towards borderlessness progresses, there is more business that cannot be handled by a single organization which only operates in a specific industry. I therefore feel strongly that further collaboration beyond our organizational barriers is needed.

We recognize that developing and implementing strategies beyond organizational barriers is essential to create new business and for sustainable growth, and we will proceed with measures to support this.

This year, I ask that everybody widen their awareness a little and renew their interest in areas other than their own organization, to see what kind of strategy and business other organizations are undertaking and what strengths they have to offer.

Seek information spontaneously, with curiosity and eagerness. Think about whether you can use the business platform of another team for your own business. You should also be aware that information of your department may be useful for others, and therefore actively share the information.
I believe that everybody having this awareness will lead to strengthening collaboration between organizations.

The strength of Sumitomo Corporation Group is its global footprint across a wide range of sectors, having many points of contact with society. In addition to this, let's further refine collaboration between organizations and create new value by combining these numerous contact points in more formats than before.
We must make cross-organizational collaboration our greatest strength and an integral part of our corporate culture.

< Realizing our dreams and growth of the organization >

The third is to have professional dreams and the determination to make them happen.

The dream I speak of is an enthusiastically held belief that anything can come true, leading to lively and exciting professional goals.

I have continuously spoken about my dreams since my appointment as president. Through the practice of our Management Principles, I want to ensure that Sumitomo Corporation Group will enjoy stable and sustainable growth in step with society for the next 50 years, 100 years, and even longer.

Our Management Principles begins, "We aim to be a global organization that constantly stays a step ahead in dealing with change, creates new value, and contributes broadly to society," describing what we should aim for. This is our ultimate corporate image and is the starting point which I constantly return to.

I ask that you consider what your dream is and how each of you can realize your dream through our business activities.
I also ask each of you to talk about your dreams with trusting colleagues and work toward realizing your dream with a strong spirit. The higher the ambition of our members, the more job satisfaction we will enjoy, and the motivation we feel for work will make for bright and energetic workplaces.

Sometimes we fail in attempting to realize our dreams. But we must nurture a corporate culture in which people who make fearless efforts will be rewarded. The sum of our combined individual efforts towards our goals will boost the competence of the Sumitomo Corporation Group.

< Material Issues: Growth of the company and resolution of social issues >

The fourth item is about material issues.

Now, companies must address the challenges facing society, and will be closely questioned about how they address these issues through their business activities.

Moving forward, companies must achieve a balance between their growth and the resolution of social issues.

Based on Sumitomo's business philosophy and Management Principles, passed down through our 400-year history, last April, Sumitomo Corporation Group has identified six material issues as priorities to leverage its strengths through business activities.

We must sincerely face these material issues, make use of our strengths, and resolve them one by one.
To the extent that each of us can pursue and implement such efforts and attitudes, Sumitomo Corporation Group will become a formidable entity with character that is relied upon and trusted by partners and other stakeholders.

Finally, according to the Chinese zodiac, 2018 is Year of the Earth Dog.
It carries the connotation that plants that have grown until now will further flourish, but it also means that, if you do not carefully discern the vital energy residing within and prune them, they may overgrow and wither.

For the Sumitomo Corporation Group, 2018 will be the year in which we complete the current mid-term management plan BBBO2017, and embark on the next plan, by bringing together all members evolving and leaping forward to a next stage.

Let us keep changing whatever we need to, leaving no stone unturned. Let's make this a year of determination and breakthrough by working together as one.

In ending this New Year’s message, let me express my sincere hope that 2018 will be a wonderful year for you and your family.


Corporate Communications Department,
Sumitomo Corporation

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