About Konica Minolta’s integrated reporting journey
Konica Minolta is a Tokyo-based Japanese listed company with approximately a $9Bn revenue and 40,000 employees globally. In 2015, we transformed our annual report to an integrated report which included sustainability and corporate governance information. The Konica Minolta integrated report today is used as our primary stakeholder communication tool – particularly for discussions with investors.
Japan’s securities report, the YuHo
Japan requires companies to file a securities report called the Yukashoken-Houkokusho report (YuHo). The YuHo is similar to the 10-K required in the United States. The YuHo is the responsibility of Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) and all the Japanese listed companies, major Japanese unlisted companies, and Japanese Real Estate Investment Trusts (J-REITs) are required by Japanese law to submit audited YuHos to the FSA within 3 months of the end of the fiscal year.
Expanding the YuHo to include non-financial information
The FSA has responded to the global move to sustainability reporting standardisation by evolving the YuHo to include non-financial information and absorbing integrated reporting concepts. The YuHo, as a standardised and audited report requiring comprehensiveness and completeness, is quite different from the integrated report which focusses on the company’s value creation story and each company’s individual materiality. This difference is important. An integrated report is more flexible in its ability to apply principles whereas the YuHo requires the disclosure of standardised metrics for comparability. The timing of the issuing of the reports is also a factor as time is required to add value to the YuHo, providing more information across the various capitals and highlighting company areas of emphasis and future focus. I have been working with the FSA for the last three years on this endeavour.
Non-financial information as a competitive differentiator
At Konica Minolta, we have found that non-financial information, especially intangible assets, such as human assets, technologies, and customer assets, are important drivers for our business growth. We include in our integrated report, the ‘voices’ of our key stakeholders, including our customers, employees, and alliance partners over and above those of the board, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and the heads of the various business lines. We do this to better express our value creation story and show the role and power of people in that story. Importantly, at Konica Minolta, we consider our integrated report as a competitive differentiator.
The uniqueness of each integrated report
Treating our integrated report as a competitive differentiator drives us to report on our unique story. It is challenging to describe the linkages between our non-financial information and financial information in a quantitative way, but we are developing our own logic to develop such clear relation and integration between this information. This linkage will again emphasise the uniqueness of our value creation story. Through the process of building our integrated report, we hold many stakeholder engagements, and many strategic discussions, to review and align our activities with our story. These engagements and discussions are important as we treat our integrated report as a working medium for such discussions to continually develop our company’s unique strategy and value creation story. Konica Minolta’s integrated report builds relationships with our stakeholders and aligns our management and employees, driving integrated thinking.
Understanding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the integrated report
Our unique story involves a range of different types of people, including those from different functions, business units, positions, ages, genders and nationalities. We find strength in this diversity as we bring everyone together in our common story. It is possible to record this diversity as indices in a regulatory security report, such as the YuHo, but we have found that the integrated report shows the strength of this diversity for our company in a much more tangible, vivid, and visible manner. As we build our integrated report, we collaborate closely with our different business units, functions and people, and have found that this engagement process builds a corporate strength. Most of those with whom we engage, are not corporate reporting specialists, but can very readily understand the cross-functional and cross-business integrated thinking of our company’s value creation story through our engagement with them. This engagement not only provides an opportunity to ‘grow’ the understanding our company’s core purpose across the company, but it also promotes alignment with the company’s value creation story. There are also ‘rewards’ for participation as their own ‘stories’ are disclosed in the company’s report.
Improved stakeholder relations resulting from integrated reporting
Initially Konica Minolta published an annual report for communications purposes. This was an English report, based on the YuHo. The primary target audience for this report was our investors. Over time, we evolved this report to the integrated report we have today, and this report remains important for our investors. With the changes brought about by publication of the Japanese corporate governance stewardship code in 2017, our integrated report has been used extensively by those responsible for voting on company resolutions. Recently, in preparation for our company’s annual general meeting, the Chief Executive Officer and I met with some of our significant shareholders, one being the largest asset manager in Asia. At this meeting, we received feedback on our integrated report, which they had reviewed. It was a very positive meeting as while they had highly rated our report, they also provided areas for improvement. This is an extremely positive response for us as it noted the importance and value that our integrated report was providing to our key stakeholders, beyond the compliance reports which we are required to publish.
Continual improvement driven by stakeholder engagement
The improvements suggested by our key stakeholders included the setting of quantitative targets related to specific non-financial/sustainability areas. Following the annual general meeting this year, we will engage further with our stakeholders to explore such improvements and understand how we can best meet their requirements. It will not be an easy task to identify those specific people with whom we should engage as sustainability is not yet generally a well-defined corporate practice. In some organizations, non-financial information is the responsibility of the Head of Stewardship, in others it is the Head of ESG. There are a lot of different titles and positions. Our integrated report has not only been read by these key stakeholders. We are aware that it has also been read by our employees, those looking to join the company, as well as our customers. We specifically provide our large enterprise customers with our integrated reports, as we know that it has assisted them to understand from whom they are going to purchase products and services. We publish our integrated report contents via other media such as a company profile leaflet and internal communication booklet. Importantly the message I want to leave here is that today, in Japan, integrated reporting has become an important corporate trigger to promote stakeholder engagement and strengthen stakeholder relations.
The most important benefit of integrated reporting is in the process
The unique corporate story, the strength from diversity, equity and inclusion, and the deepening of stakeholder relations are all important benefits from integrated reporting. The most important, from my perspective looking over our integrated reporting journey, has been in the process itself — the process to develop and build the integrated report. The process:
Japanese companies have the highest uptake of integrated reporting in the world and the reasons for this lie in the benefits integrated reporting brings to our companies.
The integrated report building process involves gathering inputs, the integrated report itself as the process output and importantly, the outcome of the integrated report being those impacts realised from the use of the integrated report to engage stakeholders. The outcomes themselves, as I have shown, should then be used as input for the next revision of the integrated report. In this way, we can ensure a continually improving integrated report and focussed growth in corporate value.
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Yasu is an experienced Investor Relations Officer backed by strong financial skills and management capability. His experience includes international experiences in the European Head Quarters in Germany (8 years) and Director positions in the United Kingdom operation, covering Europe and the United States.
Yasu is experienced in the role of Chief Financial Officer and in the areas of Supply Chain Management, Strategy formulation, Mergers and Acquisitions and Post Merger Integration.
After returning to Japan, Yasu has focused on improving corporate value through engagement and discussion with institutional investors.
Yasu received his Bachelor’s Degree in International Business/Trade/Commerce from Doshisha University and Post-Grad Diploma in International Management from the University of London. He has graduated from the Financial Leadership Program of Hitotsubashi University and is currently a candidate on the Alliance Manchester Business School’s MBA programme.
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