The pursuit of societal value, like the pursuit of economic value, is absolutely essential for a company to achieve sustained growth. As a core element of Sumitomo's business philosophy, this is an idea that has been passed down from generation to generation throughout Sumitomo's 400-year history.
By continually providing "The World's Best Value" for all of our Stakeholders, the Sumitomo Rubber Group always aims to be a corporate group that achieves sustained growth while at the same time contributing to the development of a sustainable society.
Announcing a Visionary New Technological Development Concept & Expanding Our Sports Business
In our Tire Business, the Sumitomo Rubber Group has long been actively engaged in developing and expanding sales of environmentally friendly tires. Then, in 2017, we unveiled our "SMART TYRE CONCEPT," a new technology development concept that aims to develop truly groundbreaking tires that will achieve a whole new level of Environmental Performance and Safety Performance. Our Tire Business will continue working to bring our SMART TYRE CONCEPT to fruition as soon as possible so that we may further enhance our value to society, while at the same time developing new products with high added value for speedy delivery to market.
In other news, the Sumitomo Rubber Group acquired the trademark rights to the DUNLOP brand from Sports Direct International in 2017, alongside the company's sporting goods business and licensing business. Following this move, our Group integrated DUNLOP Sports into Sumitomo Rubber Industries at the beginning of 2018. Moving forward, we will take full advantage of the corporate resources of Sumitomo Rubber Industries (including our strong financials and cutting-edge materials development and R&D capabilities) and DUNLOP Sports (including talented staff who are well versed in the sporting goods industry) as we work to enhance the value of the DUNLOP brand while expanding our Sports Business. In addition, with the recent implementation of our Trilateral Global Management System, we will work to further strengthen our global organizational capabilities to facilitate the growth and development of the Sumitomo Rubber Group over the mid-to-long term.
Strengthening Our Global Management System toward the Accomplishment of Our Long-Term Vision-VISION 2020
VISION 2020 is the Sumitomo Rubber Group's Long-Term Vision, reflecting our basic corporate stance as we simultaneously pursue both economic and societal value under our stated goals of "Becoming a True Global Player with High Profits and Rapid Growth" and "Pursuing Enhanced Value for All Stakeholders and Greater Happiness for All Employees." Toward the accomplishment of these goals, we have chosen "Go for NEXT" as our rallying slogan for VISION 2020 in the hope that it will unite all of our employees with a strong, shared desire to contribute to society for future generations by actively taking on New Challenges. In addition to this slogan, we have also defined three key Growth Engines as pillars to support our overall efforts to take on various New Challenges: the "Challenges of New Markets," an "Insatiable Drive for Innovation" and "Entering New Business Fields."
As part of our efforts to take on the "Challenges of New Markets," we are pushing forward with rapid business expansion in developing countries and other growth markets while also striving to promote harmonious coexistence with local communities through expanded local recruiting to create jobs and contribute to regional development, reducing the environmental impact of our operations and so forth.
Embracing Our "Insatiable Drive for Innovation" to Provide New Value in Terms of Safety, Comfort & the Environment
In keeping with our "Insatiable Drive for Innovation," we have been actively engaged in research and development activities that aim to answer the key question: "What can tires contribute to the global environment?" with a focus on three key areas of environmentally friendly product development-Fuel Efficiency, Raw Materials and Resource Savings. In 2020, our Group plans to begin mass production of a new tire that incorporates Performance Sustaining Technology to maintain the performance of a tire like brand new for longer. That same year, we also plan to unveil a concept tire that incorporates LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), adopting new materials designed to enhance environmental performance throughout the entire lifecycle of a tire-from raw materials and tire production to shipping, usage and even recycling. Then, in 2023, we plan to unveil a new concept tire that incorporates our proprietary Active Tread Technology, which allows a tire tread to adapt to road conditions for optimized performance in any environment. The Sumitomo Rubber Group will continue these and other research and development efforts towards accomplishing our goal of completing an all-new type of tire that incorporates all of our SMART TYRE CONCEPT technologies by the end of the next decade so that we may provide even more new value in terms of Safety, Comfort and the Environment.
When it comes to "Entering New Business Fields," we are focusing our efforts on expanding our Healthcare Business. In particular, having acquired a Swiss manufacturer of medical rubber parts in January of 2015, we are now taking advantage of the High Quality and High Performance that we have cultivated in the Japanese market to deliver safety and peace of mind to medical and caregiving facilities throughout the world.
Striving to Be a Truly Valuable Company with a Strong Sense of Purpose
The Sumitomo Rubber Group will continue to harness these three Growth Engines to tackle the challenges of societal problems toward achieving sure and sustainable growth. With the aim of fully meeting the expectations of all of our Stakeholders, we established the SRI WAY in order to clearly define the specific Values and Action Principles that we hope all of our employees will practice and exemplify as they go about their day-to-day work. Toward this same aim, we also strive to engender a corporate culture in which all employees feel a strong sense of purpose while creating workplaces with a free and open atmosphere, where employees can encourage one another to do their best and set the bar higher together.
With the recent rise of ESG investment, which emphasizes the importance of non-financial factors (i.e. Environmental, Social, Governance), it is safe to say that the ideals of SDGs (Social Development Goals) are beginning to take root. Guided by our Basic CSR Philosophy and our CSR Guidelines as encompassed in the acronym "GENKI," as well as our CSR Message-"For You, For the Earth"-the Sumitomo Rubber Group is not only working to fulfill our various social responsibilities in terms of compliance and environmental preservation, but are also actively applying our advanced technology and research and development capabilities toward solving societal problems and contributing to global progress with an eye toward future generations.
On behalf of the Sumitomo Rubber Group, I sincerely hope for and look forward to the continued guidance and support of all Stakeholders.