Rakuten's Sustainability Strategy
To create long-term value for all of its stakeholders, a company must carry out sustainable business activities that incorporate economic, social, and environmental perspectives into its decision-making process.
Rakuten's materiality and sustainability strategy define our vision and priorities for all Group companies to “walk together“ in improving the sustainability of operations and services.
Sustainability encompasses a wide range of topics and, with more than 70 services, identifying which ESG aspects are of particular importance to the Rakuten Group can be challenging, but this is crucial to our combined efforts to have an impact.
In 2017, we first created this list of important topics, also called materiality, and updated it in 2021 to reflect our latest business developments and changes in stakeholder expectations.
Based on our materiality analysis, we have categorized important issues into four areas.
The first covers topics that are at the foundation of all our activities as a provider of internet services. These are of the highest importance and management systems are already in place to continue to address them appropriately.
The three remaining areas will be the focus of particular attention in the years ahead. They will be central to cross-organizational discussions aimed at both clarifying the vision of the Group and its role in driving positive social transformation, as well as determining any initiatives for improvements required in governance, goal-setting, communication or other fields.
Growing with our employees
Attracting talented employees and developing their potential remains critical to realizing our vision of a Global Innovation Company. Ensuring employee safety and well-being is also growing in importance. In addition, diversity and inclusion are the conditions to unleash their potential, to provide more inclusive services and, in turn, promote a more inclusive society.
Providing sustainable platforms and services
Positive change across a value chain that includes more than 1.5 billion members and an enormous array of business partners has the potential to have a significant impact on society at large. By promoting sustainable business practices with our partners, we will contribute to the achievement of more sustainable lifestyles for all.
Addressing global challenges
Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the core of our corporate mission. Combined with the potential of our growing portfolio of businesses and assets, these also have the capacity to solve some of the most pressing issues facing society, including climate change.
In 2021, we established the Rakuten Group Sustainability Committee made up of a cross-border management team chaired by the CWO (Chief Well-being Officer), with the goal of strengthening the Group's framework for implementing sustainability measures. The Committee discusses and makes senior management-level decisions on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) risks, notably challenges associated with our materiality focus areas. It is a place for sharing information, such as stakeholder expectations and industry best practices, and for decision making on strategy and target setting for example.
We have also established Subcommittees for challenges that require long-term, cross organizational discussion, namely the environment, human rights, and diversity and inclusion. Each Subcommittee deliberates on more concrete matters, gaining an understanding of the situation on the ground, and conceiving, proposing and implementing action plans.
The Sustainability Committee also deliberates on and makes regular reports to the Board of Directors on items such as proposals and decisions made by each Subcommittee, updates on progress towards targets, implementation into business strategy, and compliance with international guidelines, laws, and regulations.
Engaging Employees in Sustainability
Employees play an important role in our ability to design sustainable services, improve operations, and to make a positive impact on society. Continuous engagement fosters employees' understanding of their role, guides their actions in their daily work, and fuels their capacity to innovate for sustainability. We share regular updates on sustainability initiatives at Asakai, Rakuten's weekly meeting attended by all Group employees. We also hold annual training for all employees to enhance their awareness of sustainability challenges. The training covers Rakuten's sustainability-related policies and goals, including issues such as human rights and the environment in our direct operations and procurement activities. Additionally, an employee-led network called the Social Empowerment Community offers further opportunities to examine and discuss sustainability through a number of regular events, newsletters and other communication tools.