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Global Sustainability Report: Honda Striving to be a Company that Society Wants to Exist

Honda Motor Company, Ltd. is a Japanese public multinational conglomerate corporation primarily known as a manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles, and power equipment. The company adheres to a corporate culture of “Free and Open, Challenge, Co-evolution.” This means, in other words, “taking up challenges without fear of failure, unshackled by conventional thinking, and with a foundation of teamwork built on trust.”
Honda believes in achieving both the creation of growth opportunities for the Company and sustainable society. To enable both, the company has set ‘Striving to be a company that society wants to exist’ as its direction for the 21st century. It is also advancing initiatives known as “Creating the Joys,” “Expanding the Joys” and “Ensuring the Joys for the Next Generation.”
The company has set a “2030 Vision” as a milestone indicating in concrete terms the direction Honda ought to take toward realizing these objectives. For Honda to achieve sustainability, it is important to meet stakeholders’ expectations and needs by providing value through its products and services. Equally important is to fulfil its corporate social responsibility, for instance by considering its impact on the environment and society and to contribute to the resolution of social issues through its business activities. To this end, Honda devises medium- and long-term strategies that are based on the perspectives of both stakeholders and the company itself.

1. Honda’s 2030 Vision

The 2030 Vision formulated by Honda is expressed in the statement, “Serve people worldwide with the ‘joy of expanding their life’s potential’— Lead the advancement of mobility and enable people everywhere in the world to improve their daily lives.” To embody this Vision, the Company set the direction of its specific initiatives from three perspectives as action guidelines for the 21st century: “Creating the Joys,” “Expanding the Joys” and “Ensuring the Joys for the Next Generation.”
From the first perspective of “Creating the Joys,” Honda will work on “creating value for ‘mobility’ and ‘daily lives’.” The Company will focus on three areas, namely mobility, robotics and energy, as it seeks to provide people with the “joy and freedom of mobility” and “joy of making their lives better.”
From the second perspective of “Expanding the Joys,” Honda will strive to “accommodate the different characteristics of people and society.” In this area, the Company will seek to further expand joy by offering products and services that are optimized for all people reflecting different cultures and values and diverse societies, irrespective of whether they are in developed or developing nations.
From the third perspective of “Ensuring the Joys for the Next Generation,” the Company will make progress “toward a clean and safe/ secure society.” Striving to become No.1 in the areas of the environment and safety, Honda will invest more resources in these areas and will strive to become a company that leads efforts to realize a carbon-free and collision-free mobile society.
In this Vision, Honda has returned to its universal passion and made a major shift in its direction from quantity to quality. This is how the Company has set its corporate attitude to realize “growth through the pursuit of quality.” The Company will aim to expand the circle of joy and let the Honda brand shine even brighter through the steadfast pursuit of the “quality of value Honda provides” and “quality of its initiatives.”
To realize this Vision, the Company will make effective use of limited corporate resources to transform and evolve existing businesses and create new value.

2. Honda eMaas – Aiming for more fulfilling Mobility and Livelihood

Honda eMaaS is a service to seamlessly connect the mobility and daily lives of customers through mobility services (MaaS*1) and energy services (EaaS*2).
Honda eMaaS connects a series of processes for customers, from their homes (places where they live) to the mode of transportation (mobility), activities at the destinations and returning home, thus offering attractive experience value. By providing an efficient means of mobility, it will also help resolve social issues, such as an increase in the number of people having less mobility options (including elderly people living in underpopulated areas) and shortages of drivers for delivery services.
As mobility becomes progressively electrified, a group of batteries distributed throughout the market can be viewed as one large energy storage by centrally managing various information, ranging from information on vehicle position and battery charging status to such other information as power supply, weather and traffic conditions. In other words, Honda’s electrified mobility products and energy equipment can serve as a temporary power storage and discharge device in the Honda eMaaS environment.
In this way, Honda eMaaS makes it possible to reduce peak power demand, shift the power peak and adjust the power supply, thereby contributing to the stabilization of the power grid and lower electricity bills for customers. For society, it can help increase the ratio of renewable energy use by connecting renewables with Honda’s products.
Through Honda eMaaS, Honda aims to realize the 2030 Vision, which declares to serve people worldwide with the “joy of expanding their life’s potential.”

3. Multi-pathway Strategy for the realization of Carbon-free Society

Honda seeks to motivate people to go out and pursue their interests by providing mobility and to help them make their lives better by letting them share “real-world” experiences with their families and friends. This entails a responsibility to provide sustainable mobility with a minimum impact on society.
Honda will be delighted if its original technologies win customers’ hearts and if all customers using its products truly recognize the joy of mobility. Keeping in mind this aspiration as well as the responsibility for future generations, Honda is pushing ahead with the research and development of carbon-free technology on a daily basis for the resolution of related issues.
In doing so, Honda has drawn up a scenario to promote the use of renewable energy through multiple pathways.
Electricity generated by using renewable energy can be directly fed to battery electric vehicles (BEV). It is also possible to convert the electricity into hydrogen and feed it to fuel cell vehicles (FCV). Another option is to combine the hydrogen and CO2 and supply the resulting synthetic fuel to hybrid vehicles (HV) and aircraft. Thus, there are multiple forms, or pathways, to carry renewable energy other than electricity. Honda’s multi-pathway strategy represents its approach to seek a carbon-free society through multiple forms by exploring the potential of technology in all directions in order to achieve the highest energy efficiency.
Needs vary significantly across the world, depending on each country’s energy policies and regional characteristics. Honda’s response should be tailored to these different needs. As a global business operator, Honda has a responsibility to make its carbon-free technology ready for adaption in the most suitable manner according to the needs of each country and region. Through this strategy, Honda intends to provide optimum mobility to all customers.

4. Honda’s Approach for Realization of Collision-free Mobile Society

In the 2030 Vision, Honda states its aspiration to “serve people worldwide with the ‘joy of expanding their life’s potential’.” While mobility provides joy and convenience, it can occasionally result in serious traffic accidents. Recognizing that mobility is such an integral part of daily life, Honda is determined to eliminate these accidents.
Honda aims to play a key role in creating a collision-free mobile society, serving people worldwide with the joy of expanding their life’s potential. As such, the Company has drawn up a roadmap for automobile safety technologies, shown below.
Honda will also proactively leverage the outcome of its research on automated driving technologies to assist safe driving and reduce the number of accidents. At the same time, Honda will deliver the freedom of mobility for a longer period of time to everyone by eliminating the anxiety of unconfident drivers, including elderly and novice drivers.
While caring about each road user, Honda seeks to add new forms of joy to mobility, stimulating curiosity such that people spontaneously want to go out.

5. Initiative for Preservation of Clean Air

With the aim of preserving clean air, Honda is working to eliminate harmful substances in exhaust emissions from the tailpipe in the usage phase.
The engines of all commercial motorcycles have been switched to four-stroke, with fuel injection (PGM-FI) being applied to at least 80% of models sold worldwide.
With regard to automobiles, Honda has gradually expanded models that are LEV*1 3- SULEV*2 30 emissions compliant, beginning with the Accord Hybrid released in 2013, thus meeting the California exhaust emissions standard, deemed to be the toughest in the world. The Accord Plug-in Hybrid was the first in the world to achieve SULEV20 status. Amid application and strengthening of exhaust emissions regulations in emerging countries, Honda is promoting response early on in various countries in Asia and the Middle East.
As for power products, Honda has cleared compliance of United States Environmental Protection Agency Phase 3 regulations, the most stringent in the world, through engine enhancement technology.
In addition, Honda is pushing ahead with initiatives in production, the process with the largest impact on the air, in an effort to preserve clean air.
In the production of automobiles, solvents found in paint and thinner used mainly in paint processes can generate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), the cause of photochemical oxidants. Honda’s production activities in the past have sought to reduce VOC emissions such as through the introduction of a highly efficient paint process using robots; overhaul and increased recovery rate of thinners used for cleaning; and installation of equipment to incinerate and purify VOC. In addition to these initiatives, the Company introduced Honda Smart Ecological Paint that eliminates a middle coating process from a commonly used 4-coat/3-bake auto body painting process to realize a 3-coat/2-bake water-based painting process, thus reducing the generation of VOC. The technology was rolled out at the Yorii assembly plant, which sets the benchmark for environmental initiatives. Honda is working to bring in the state-of-theart technology to all automobile plants worldwide.
In Japan, Honda set FY2011 VOC emissions intensity as the control value pursuant to the goal established by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and introduced voluntary efforts aimed at reduction from there. The Company has cleared this value every year since 2010. Honda will continue with these voluntary efforts going forward.

6. Conserving Water Resources

Cognizant of the potential for business activities to impact upstream and downstream water resources, Honda is also focusing on the conservation of water resources.
Since Honda seeks out communities where harmonious coexistence with nearby water sources is viable as potential plant locations and builds plants in compliance with host countries’ environmental assessment laws and regulations, no water sources are significantly impacted by the Company’s water use. In addition, no water sources are affected by wastewater from Honda facilities since it treats wastewater and discharges treated water in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. Under these circumstances, Honda appropriately manages the amount of water used and works to manage and provide information on wastewater, which includes thorough quality control and disclosure of water quality test findings.
In addition, to minimize water use, various business sites are implementing initiatives based on regional circumstances, such as the utilization of recycled water and water conservation. The Company is also working to recycle and reuse water in manufacturing processes, which utilize about 4.8 million cubic meters of water each year, or about 20% of all water use by Honda. This ongoing effort includes consideration of installing full recycling systems that allow reuse of almost 100% of all water at Honda Engineering Co., Ltd. (Japan), the No. 2 Plant at Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd. (Thailand) and the No. 2 Plant at Guangqi Honda Automobile Co., Ltd. (China).
Honda strives to reduce environmental impact during product usage. The Company’s lineup of engines for outboard motors consists solely of 4-stroke engines with the aim of reducing water contamination in the outboard motors being used around the world.
Besides promoting the conservation of water resources on its own accord, Honda manages a water conservation fund in North America under the Honda Marine Science Foundation, which supports the improvement and preservation of coastal areas for future generations through initiatives for marine ecosystem restoration and promoting resilience to climate change. Around US$200,000 is provided as support every year, which contributes to the preservation of the local environment.
Honda has undertaken conservation activities for forest watersheds continuously since 1999 as part of its social contribution program. Production sites protect and manage the forest watersheds that they benefit from and strive to keep them optimized for each region. Aware of the fact that water is an indispensable resource supporting its business, Honda will continue implementing this activity.

7. Honda’s Initiatives for Biodiversity Conservation

Recognizing that its business activities can have an impact on biodiversity, Honda has long been putting a great deal of effort into activities that have led to the conservation of biodiversity. The Company carried out tree-planting and water-recycling initiatives at its plants in the 1960s and launched the Community Forest program in 1976.
In 2011, the Company established the Honda Biodiversity Guidelines. As the basic statement, it stipulates as follows: “We recognize, under Honda’s Environment Statement, that biodiversity conservation initiatives are an essential part of our commitment to the preservation of the global environment. We will continue to work toward harmony between this commitment and our activities.”
Honda believes that minimizing the environmental impact resulting from its products and business activities represents the greatest contribution the Company can make to biodiversity conservation. The guidelines specify the priorities, including the development of environmental technology, initiatives based on corporate activities and initiatives for living in harmony with local communities, and Honda is actively promoting them.
Honda recognizes the emissions of GHGs and various other pollutants as two of the greatest impacts of business activities that threaten biodiversity. Consequently, the Company has set priorities under the Guidelines and is working systematically to minimize both impacts. Each of Honda’s key business sites in Japan also conducts a survey on the actual conditions of biodiversity and is promoting various activities that are appropriate for the applicable species, such as thinning, pruning and eradication of non-native species. Moreover, Honda continues to carry out fixed-point observation and reporting on ecosystems in collaboration with “Monitoring Sites 1000” (a project for promoting the monitoring of survey sites of important ecosystems) implemented by the Japanese government as a member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), which creates an annual Red List.

8. Approach for Management and Reduction of Chemical Substances

Honda works to ensure the appropriate management and reduction of chemical substances contained in automotive components from the product design and development stages in order to reduce those materials that impact the environment.
Laws and regulations have been introduced in each country to ensure the appropriate management of chemical substances and the reduction of harmful substances contained in automotive components. These legislations are based on a goal set by the United Nations in 2002 of minimizing the impact of chemical substances on people and the environment by 2020.
The International Material Data System (IMDS), a mechanism for collecting information throughout the supply chain on materials and chemical substances contained in components making up the vehicle, was developed in response to this trend largely by the German Association of the Automotive Industry. Honda is also tabulating and managing chemical substances via our independently developed global management system called the Management System of Chemical Substances (MoCS), which collects information based on IMDS.
Honda is moving ahead with the reduction of four types of heavy metals (lead, mercury, hexavalent chromium and cadmium) that are considered to have negative impacts on the environment while promoting the management of chemical substances via MoCS. As an example, for all new and redesigned vehicles sold in Japan in FY2020, components that do not use mercury were chosen for combination meters. The Company is striving to eliminate the use of mercury on a voluntary basis.

9. Social Contribution Activities of Honda

Honda’s social contribution activities are centred on four core policies: supporting our youth for the future; protecting the global environment; promoting traffic safety; and addressing local community needs. Based on these policies, the entire Honda Group engages in activities that recognize the value of its bonds with local communities.
Honda pursues a variety of activities in seven regions, taking maximum advantage of its resources in line with its Global Policy for Social Contribution Activities.

9.1 Japan: Beach Cleanup Projects Implemented by Honda

Based on a desire to use company technologies to benefit the world, Honda developed the Beach Cleaner in 2006 that cleans up the beaches without harming their ecosystem. Currently, members of the Honda Group across Japan plan and operate cleanup activities. So far, since getting underway the activities have been carried out at more than 100 locations nationwide, with approximately 7,000 local residents taking part each year. The amount of beach trash collected by the project was 45 tons in FY2020, with the cumulative total since its launch reaching 500 tons. The project seeks both to create beaches that can be walked on barefoot with peace of mind, and to nurture mindsets whereby people pick up rubbish when they see it. Going forward, Honda will continue to provide opportunities to think about the environment in an enjoyable manner

9.2 North America: Providing Educational Opportunities to the Youth

In 1993, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. opened Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center. Eagle Rock School is a nationally recognized high school that supports the expansion of educational opportunities for students who have not found success in traditional school settings, as well as research into new educational methods. The school emphasizes experiential education, an integrated curriculum and project-based learning. The companion Professional Development Center (PDC) collaborates with high school educators and administrators around the country who wish to study how to re-engage, retain and graduate students.

9.3 South America: Participating in “Virada Sustentável” Campaign

Moto Honda da Amazonia Ltda. participates in the “Virada Sustentável” Campaign (meaning “to become a sustainable society”), which takes place annually in different parts of Manaus City in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. The event provides information and education about sustainability to people of different backgrounds, using an upbeat and inspiring approach to the theme. In the 2019 event, 109 Honda associates took part as supporting volunteers. They took the initiative in cleaning the sandy beaches of the Amazon River and actively supported education activities on the environment and traffic safety for both children and adolescents. Approximately 550 persons participated in the event.

9.4 Europe: “Local Hero for Sustainability” Award

In FY2020, Honda Motor Europe Logistics NV (HMEL), based in Aalst, Belgium, was appointed by the city of Aalst as one of just four companies to receive a “Local Hero for Sustainability” award. It was as the result of its 17 years of support for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The city recognized HMEL’s environmental activities to date, which included the thorough implementation of a recycling project and establishment of efficient transportation routes, and noted how HMEL has reached its sustainability goals while still maintaining economic progress. HMEL also received the “Charter for Sustainability” award in FY2017.

9.5 Asia and Oceania: Striving for its Best for a Traffic Safety Society

In order to raise awareness about wearing helmets while riding electric bicycles and motorcycles among citizens, especially children leading the future of Vietnam, Honda Vietnam Co., Ltd. (HVN) in cooperation with the National Traffic Safety Committee (NTSC) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) has been carrying out the Helmet Donation Project for first-grade students under the theme “Keep Full Dreams Together” since 2018. Over the course of two years, HVN has donated nearly 4 million helmets directly to all first-grade students nationwide with the wish that these will make them gradually aware of traffic safety and remind their families and communities of complying with helmetwearing regulations in particular and traffic safety in general. In 2018 alone, the helmet-wearing ratio of 6- to 18-year-old children increased from 35–40% to 52%. In the future, HVN hopes to increase this ratio to 66%.

9.6 China: Afforestation in Inner Mongolia

Honda Motor (China) Co., Ltd. initiated afforestation activities in Inner Mongolia as part of a long-term environmental conservation project. Since 2008, the entire Honda Group in China has been involved in the activities. The project has succeeded in afforesting 967 hectares of land by 2017. In its five-year plan starting from 2018, it aims to afforest an additional 467 hectares.
In 2019, a total of 207 participants, including associates of 16 joint ventures and students who had received support from the Honda Dream Fund, a project that supports the dreams of children growing up in poverty, carried out afforestation activities. These activities provided the participants with an opportunity to experience the Honda Philosophy firsthand.

9.7 Africa & Middle East: Holding a Motorcycle Safety Seminar in Nigeria

Honda provides a seminar for riders to learn appropriate motorcycle riding and maintenance in Nigeria. The seminar teaches the importance of performing pre-ride checks; appropriate riding posture (when applying a brake or clutch); the benefits of motorcycles that use Honda’s genuine parts and engine oil; and regular maintenance.
Dealers in Nigeria hold this seminar every month, with a total of 4,202 and 6,300 riders participating in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Honda is the only motorcycle manufacturer conducting such activity in Nigeria. The Company intends to continue the activity to help increase traffic safety in the country if by only slightly.
Disclaimer: This article primarily contains excerpts from the Honda Sustainability Report 2020 published earlier this year.