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Risk Management

View Sumitomo Corporation's Sustainability : Risk Management

We define “risk” as “the possibility of losses due to the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated situations,” and also as “the possibility of not achieving the expected return on business activities.” We have set the following three items as the goals of our risk management activities.

  1. Stabilize Performance:Minimize discrepancies between the plan and actual results and secure stable profits
  2. Strengthen Financial Base:Maintain Risk-weighted Assets within the buffer (shareholders’ equity)
  3. Maintain Corporate Reputation:Fulfill CSR requirements and preserve corporate reputation

We categorize our business activities into investments and commercial transactions and manage risk after identifying both common and category-specific risk factors. By studying advanced methods and processes, we have created an effective risk management framework that anticipates changes in the external environment.

Our goal is to implement the best practice in risk management while maintaining the flexibility to adapt to changes in the business environment.The business environment is continually altering, and new business models that we could never have imagined are emerging on a daily basis. To respond to such situations in a timely and effective manner, we continue to evolve our risk management activities under the leadership of senior management.

As an example, we have established rigorous investment discipline as the common basis of judgment to select more appropriate investments among diverse investment opportunities in a wide range of business domains. At the same time, we have built an optimal governance structure for improving the value of each business after investment and introduced an incentive plan linked to investment performance.

Risk Management Framework

Maintain Risk-weighted Assets within our buffer / Maximize Risk-adjusted Return
Deliberate and monitor important projects through Business Unit Investment Committee and Company Investment Committee

Risks in invetment activities/Risks in commercial transactions

Selective investment & strengthening of post-investment value creation

We have adopted a unified framework that covers everything from the entry into the investment to the exit and that takes into account changes in the portfolio as a whole, as well as the nature of the risks involved in each individual investment opportunity, while reviewing the process for assessing and following up investment projects as appropriate.

When assessing investment projects, we clarify the investment theme at the initial stage of the process and verify its appropriateness as a key point of due diligence. In addition, by applying a discount rate appropriate to each business risk, we are able to calculate an “appropriate price” for the investment and evaluate the opportunity from both quantitative and qualitative aspects.

With regard to the decision-making process, the Business Unit Investment Committee or the Company Investment Committee meets at each stage of consideration and implementation, depending on the scale and importance of the project. From an early stage, these committees conduct in-depth discussions from various perspectives regarding the strategic positioning of the project, the background to and the reasoning behind the selection of the project, ESG, and the various factors that may affect the success of the investment.

In addition, we have enhanced the mechanisms for improving the probability of investment success at each investment stage. We will increase the value of each business by steadily implementing measures, including establishment of strict investment discipline for selecting investments, development of an optimal governance structure for increasing the value of each business after investment, reviewing strategies and establishing a medium-term plan for addressing changes in the external environment, and investing the right resources at the right time. Furthermore, to increase our commitment to value creation, we introduced a new compensation system linked to investment performance in 2022. Stepping up our monitoring efforts, we set a clear time frame and make improvements to business investments that do not increase in value as expected. If improvement is not expected, we will continue to engage in thorough asset recycling.

Investment Risk Management Framework

Investment Risk Management Framework

Basic Principles on Social and Environmental Risk Management

The Sumitomo Corporation Group operates businesses dealing in different products and business models in various regions of the world and its business activities have a variety of impacts on the global environment and on different stakeholders such as local communities, business partners, and our officers and employees. To achieve sustainable growth together with society, we work to control the social and environmental impacts of each business of the Group, and, by monitoring its entire supply chain, to ensure that the impact of the associated business activities is not a threat to people’s lives or the global environment and does not constrict the sustainability of our management. As the basis for these initiatives, we have established Environmental Policy, Human Rights Policy and CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chain Management to clarify our approach to social and environmental issues in the Group’s business operation. Because the impact of each business on society and the environment and the nature of the risks requiring management focus differ depending on the products dealt with, the business type and the region where it operates, risk management needs to be adapted to the specific character of the business. Specifically, for each of our businesses, we obtain the relevant data, including information on its interface with society and the environment and the associated risks. In addition, we ascertain whether serious issues are present by maintaining communication channels with local communities, employees, and other stakeholders, and check not only that the business is legally compliant across the range of social and environmental issues but also that its response in the area complies with international standards on the environment and human rights. Within the Sumitomo Corporation Group and its diverse range of businesses, the responsible business department of individual businesses and the related corporate departments are working jointly to raise the standard of social and environmental risk management groupwide, utilizing the knowledge of outside experts.

Major risks business may pose to society and the environment

Framework for Social and Environmental Risk Management

The Sumitomo Corporation Group has established a companywide framework to perform appropriate monitoring of the social and environmental impact of the Group’s entire business activities. We have prepared a self-assessment sheet on relevant social and environmental risks to be used at the time of investment application to identify anticipated risks and opportunities in terms of the nature and regional characteristics of each business. Decision-making is then carried out considering impacts on society and the environment. This includes having the Corporate Sustainability Department participate in discussions as a specialist organization that addresses social issues depending on the risk. We also engage outside experts to check that the business is soundly managed and does not have serious impacts on stakeholders by using environmental assessment by an environmental consultant and assessment of human rights and labor issues by a law firm, considering the specifics of each business. As follow-up to the investment, the responsible business department and related corporate departments work together through dialogue with group companies to carry out regular monitoring from the viewpoint of the environment, human rights, labor management, the supply chain, and other aspects. If an issue arises, remedial action is taken in line with the specifics of the case. Internal audits that take into account special characteristics of the business are used to confirm that management operations are legally compliant and meet international standards on social and environmental issues. When a case relating to the impact of the Sumitomo Corporation Group’s business activities is referred to by a local community, a non-governmental organization (NGO), or another stakeholder, we ascertain the facts and engage in dialogue and discussion toward improvement. If, as a result of this process of review and monitoring of investments, an important social or environmental risk is confirmed, the individual response is reported or referred for further discussion to the Management Council and the Board of Directors through the relevant internal committees.

Framework for management