We are focused on strengthening our corporate governance to enhance our sustainable growth and improve our medium- and long-term corporate value.
Approach to Corporate Governance and Our Governance System
To drive sustainable growth and enhance corporate value over the medium and long terms, the GS Yuasa Group is committed to establishing an organization and systems that enable fast, efficient responses to a changing business environment. At the same time, our basic policy on corporate governance is to make every effort to thoroughly implement and strengthen compliance and improve the soundness and transparency of management.
A new governance structure began in fiscal 2017 based on this philosophy. GS Yuasa Corporation, the holding company, is responsible for formulating management strategies for all of the Group's businesses, as well as management for the entire Group and oversight of the Group's business execution. GS Yuasa International Ltd., the Group's core operating company, is the key decision-making body for business execution, consolidating and strengthening business execution and making swift business-related decisions.
The Board of Directors makes quick, effective decisions by prioritizing strategic decision-making and supervisory functions for management policy. In addition, increasing the number of independent outside directors helps reinforce monitoring.
GS Yuasa is continuing to strengthen and enrich corporate governance based on this new structure.
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Board of Directors
The effectiveness of the Board of Directors was evaluated between January and February 2016. All directors and corporate auditors filled out a questionnaire and were interviewed on the structure, management, agenda and duties of the Board. After analyzing and evaluating the results, the Board of Directors was found to be running effectively. However, certain opinions held that some areas required reconsideration, notably the further deepening of discussions regarding medium/long-term strategic management as well as the decision-making process and the structure of the business group. In light of these findings, the Group resolved to reform the governance structure. Going forward, we will continue to assess the effectiveness of the Board of Directors and make further improvements.
Reasons for Appointing Internal Directors
GS Yuasa Corporation, to provide control over the Group as the holding company, applies a balanced approach to appointing directors with knowledge and experience that covers the business and functions of the entire Group and that have the necessary aptitude and competence to ensure fast decision-making.
Policy on the Independence of Outside Directors
Candidates selected as outside directors must meet the requirements for independence set out in the Companies Act and possess the experience and insight to objectively and fairly judge the legality and appropriateness of the execution of the company's duties from the shareholders' perspective without being limited by being in charge of business implementation. Also, we believe in the importance of employing people who are outwardly independent and use the Tokyo Stock Exchange's independence standards as their reference.
We are committed to promoting sound corporate management and daily company-wide risk management.
Internal Control System
To strengthen the management foundation, the GS Yuasa Group has improved the system and relevant rules to ensure the maintenance of ethical business practices based on the Companies Act. This system includes mechanisms to ensure effective auditing, information management, and risk management throughout the Group.
To comply with the internal control reporting system required under the Financial Instruments and Exchange Law, we are maintaining an internal control system and financial reporting mechanisms to meet all requirements.
Our international subsidiaries and other consolidated Group companies evaluate the status of the improvement and implementation of internal controls. Following external audits, reports on these internal controls are publicly disclosed.
Risk Management Based on Risk Management Sheets
The GS Yuasa Group has adopted risk management rules intended to avoid or reduce exposure to business risk and to minimize potential corporate losses. Every department assesses risk each month using a risk management sheet. On this form, the department first fills in the measures it is taking as a basic response to mitigate the risks it has identified and to avoid any critical events as well as the policies to minimize loss if a critical event does occur. Every department confirms the status of implementation of these measures and related polices each month. The department also fills in the details of any critical events that occurred, as well as a summary of the response and the investigation into the cause and measures to prevent a reoccurrence. These preventive measures are fed back into the "basic response" and the status of implementation is checked each month to provide a framework that ensures that similar events do not happen again.
The risk management sheets produced by the departments are compiled at the divisional level with the director in charge of the division verifying and assessing the status of response through a risk management committee. The deliberations by the committees are summarized and then fed back to each department as part of a mechanism to improve the effectiveness of risk management.
Risk Management Sheet
System for Dealing with Crises
To prepare for the possibility that a risk materializes, we have established a system that includes an emergency contact network to swiftly implement crisis management. When a serious crisis occurs, members of the Group Risk Management Committee are appointed to organize a crisis management headquarters, under the president, to minimize corporate losses. The system we have set up enables us to implement an effective response swiftly and with appropriate care.
Risk Management under the Group Risk Management Committee
The Group Risk Management Committee - headed by the president with the chairs of departmental Risk Management Committees - holds semiannual meetings to promote Group-wide risk management and to encourage the sharing of key information related to risk management. The Risk Management Committee confirms that the appropriate risk management measures have been implemented and the committee chairs report on progress in this area. We also actively exchange opinions and share information on the different styles of risk management.
Risk Management Structure
Solid, multifaceted measures ensure that every person takes initiative with a strong awareness of compliance.
Basic Philosophy on Promoting Compliance
By training our personnel according to our philosophy of "Innovation and Growth" while manifesting our commitment to society and preserving the global environment, we are ensuring that all employees are guided in their behavior focusing on compliance with laws, company regulations and ethical standards.
Multifaceted activities with innovative methods are being used to promote compliance and ensure that the different themes cover all levels of employees. When promoting compliance, it is also essential to establish rules and a structure to follow, as well as a strong sense of commitment. In this spirit, we adopted Compliance Promotion Regulations in line with the Compliance Declaration made by the president. The GS Yuasa Corporate Ethical Standards cover the 10 items that all employees must support and the corporate ethical behavior guidelines that outline responses to specific situations. Other activities are aimed at enhancing awareness, or getting every employee to think about what he or she should do for compliance.
We distribute a compliance manual to all employees that includes company regulations related to compliance. The 10-item Code of Conduct includes commentary in a Q&A format, innovative ways to promote understanding with content based on actual practices, an introduction to the GS Yuasa Group corporate ethics hotline, the Group's internal whistleblower system and an emergency contact system for use in a crisis. In addition to distributing the manual, in fiscal 2016 we began spreading awareness of the content via an in-house email newsletter throughout the year with the aim of boosting awareness of compliance among employees.
Workplace Meetings on Compliance
Workplace meetings on compliance have been conducted for five consecutive years since 2012. The purpose of these meetings is to improve employee awareness of compliance. The meetings, including active exchanges of opinion, were held at 391 workplaces in fiscal 2016 with 96% of the sites commenting that the activities were effective. Many topics were covered, including prevention of inappropriate actions, management of work hours, harassment, occupational health and safety, waste management, personal information protection, product safety, handling of confidential information and subcontracting laws. The meetings use educational materials made by the division in charge on each topic and including content related to the circumstances of the Group. We intend to continue running these meetings and upgrading the content to ensure that it is both up to date and educational.
GS Yuasa Group Corporate Ethics Hotline
We established GS Yuasa Group corporate ethics hotline regulations and set up a corporate ethics hotline. Accessible both internally and externally, the hotline enables employees, temporary workers, business partners and others to provide information anonymously if they become aware of behavior by a Group employee that violates the law or company regulations or is unethical or otherwise inappropriate or any matter that is at risk of becoming a violation. In fiscal 2016, five reports were made (eight in fiscal 2015), including one case of harassment. We conduct inquiries and take appropriate action, while remaining committed to protecting whistleblowers.
|Number of reports to the GS Yuasa Group corporate ethics hotline|
﹡Period: April to March of the following year
A survey related to compliance is conducted every year for all employees in which the Company's president gathers questions on compliance in daily operations via email. In fiscal 2016, 2,936 people responded (response rate: 89%) with information on unethical or inappropriate behavior collected from 27 people. The details were carefully investigated to not disadvantage the person who divulged the information and appropriate steps were taken. In addition, we will plan and implement activities to raise awareness of compliance within the Group in light of the opinions provided on topics to be addressed in the future.