MESSAGE FROM CEO
President and CEOHiroshi Mikitani
The core value of the internet
The internet has brought about a transformation of society that goes far beyond simply using a computer to conveniently obtain information. With internet connectivity, anyone, anywhere in the world, can send and receive information. What is the core value of the internet? Put simply: Fairness.
With the internet, gaps in access to information and knowledge can be narrowed dramatically. For consumers, this means the ability to easily choose from a multitude of options the products and services that best fit their needs. For business owners, it means instantly being able to expand their market to all parts of Japan — and the world — at low cost, seizing business opportunities that would otherwise be inconceivable.
This characteristic of the internet is not only making our lives more convenient, it is accelerating innovation in all industries and substantially transforming the very structure of society itself.
A company that empowers both people and society
At Rakuten, we have dedicated ourselves to realizing our core value of “empowerment”, of people and society, since founding in 1997. We believe passionately in the potential of the internet, and we have challenged ourselves to pursue innovations that tackle a wide range of social issues.
Through these innovations, we aim to make it easier and more convenient for consumers and businesses everywhere to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the fair and accessible qualities of the internet. Empowerment is the word we use to express this commitment.
Since founding, the Rakuten Group has embraced this challenge and has worked alongside our many customers, business partners and stakeholders to achieve sustainable growth together. We will continue to work to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society by empowering people and society through innovation.
MESSAGE FROM CWO
Group Managing Executive Officer
CWO (Chief Well-Being Officer) Masatada Kobayashi
A company founded on sustainability
We launched Rakuten Ichiba in 1997 with the aim of leveraging the internet to solve the social challenges facing Japan due to the economic decline of its local communities. Our theory was that supporting the expansion of local businesses would revitalize regional economies, and in turn, Japanese society as a whole. We also believed that it would be venture companies, such as Rakuten, which would drive the economy of the 21st century.
I am now confident that Rakuten’s founding philosophy is also a commitment to sustainability. In every one of the Rakuten Group’s diverse portfolio of services, we place importance on growing together with our stakeholders. Our businesses serve and bring joy to a growing number of customers by staying true to our mission of empowerment and our commitment to improving society in the long term.
Achieving the well-being of all people through the pursuit of sustainability
Pursuing sustainability also means considering the well-being not only of our stakeholders, but of all members of society across the globe. Well-being is often understood as “a state of complete satisfaction physically, mentally and socially.” In other words, it’s about the ability to live the life we choose for ourselves, on our own terms.
Since my appointment as Rakuten’s Chief Well-Being Officer (CWO) in 2019, I have been working to realize well-being from three perspectives: the well-being of individuals, of our organization and of society.
Rakuten is made up of employees with many different backgrounds, and I believe this diversity is driving innovation and the growth of our organization. For this reason, it is vital to create working environments that enhance individual well-being, where every individual is shown respect and enabled to reach their highest potential.
The improvement of individual well-being is essentially tied to the enhancement of the well-being of the organization. For leaders and employees to build strong relationships with one another and work together as one team to reach a common goal, they need to fully understand Rakuten’s vision and share a common set of values and principles. We pay dedicated attention to the thorough communication to our employees globally of these values and principles — also called Rakuten Shugi — ensuring that our team members around the world are working together, aligned with the same mission, vision and values.
As each individual is different and we value that rich diversity, Rakuten will continue to adjust and improve our work culture in order to achieve an optimal balance between “well-being,” where each individual can pursue the improvement of their own life, and “doing well,” in terms of efficiency and productivity. This is at the heart of the Rakuten Health Declaration: Well-being First."
New sustainability strategy as our guide
In order to integrate sustainability into management decisions, it is essential to clarify our vision and priorities regarding social challenges. As the world changes, Rakuten itself undergoes major evolutions, including the recent launch of our mobile network operator business. We therefore need to regularly re-identify our priority issues in addressing sustainability by defining our materiality.
In 2021, we did so by engaging with over 5,000 stakeholders — including business partners, customers, shareholders and investors, NPOs and NGOs, local governments and employees — by asking about their expectations for Rakuten. In the end, we identified 13 material topics and clarified three priority areas.
With this new sustainability strategy as our compass for the years to come, we will accelerate our progress toward contributing to the well-being of society.
Creating positive social impact through 70+ Rakuten services
Rakuten offers more than 70 services, ranging from commercial services such as e-commerce, travel and digital content, to fintech services such as our credit card, bank, securities, smartphone-based cashless payments businesses, and to mobile services such as our mobile carrier service. While this means that improving the sustainability of our operations does indeed encompass a diverse and complex array of topics, it also means that we have a variety of opportunities and assets for addressing global issues as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We aim to make significant contributions towards tackling these global challenges through the innovative solutions we provide.
The scale of Rakuten's business translates into the magnitude of its social impact. On our e-commerce platform Rakuten Ichiba, for instance, by promoting more sustainable consumption habits, we can not only influence the behaviors of millions of consumers, but also drive changes in the business practices of over 50,000 merchants.
Rakuten recognizes this potential impact, and we are committed to proactively driving social changes together with our stakeholders toward a sustainable future that promotes well-being for all.