Third Party’s Opinion

Ms. Mika TakaokaProfessor of Rikkyo University, College of Business

[Profile] Graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University, School of Business. Received a doctorate degree from the University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Economics. Worked as an assistant professor at Osaka City University and as an assistant professor at Rikkyo University, College of Business, before assuming the present post in April 2009. Major research themes are Distribution theory, CSR and brand value, Retail management and consumer behavior. Her writings include “Sustainable Lifestyle Navigation” (Japanese Union of Scientists and Engineers Publishing Company, 2007).

Areas of high value

This is the third time for me to express a third party’s opinion to the AEON MALL CSR report. This report describes multi-facetted corporate activities of AEON MALL with its management philosophy of “Life design developer that works with communities and produces future lifestyles” along with feature articles and AEON MALL’s Five Pillars of CSR. I have the impression that this year's report is easy to read because all feature articles are configured on facing pages, and the contents are enhanced. Furthermore, the report can be considered excellent in terms of CSR communication because it carries many voices of the stakeholders and on-site photos, continuing from the previous financial year.

What I highly evaluate is that AEON MALL has been contributing to local communities from various aspects. This can be read from Feature 1 (from page 12 to page 17) and the description concerning "Continuous contribution to local society" (from page 28 to page 31). I feel that various ways of contributing to residents in the region such as fully enhancing the health-promoting mall walking activity, opening the city library that is a symbol of cultural promotion, holding rakugo (traditional comic story telling) and traditional handicrafts exhibition, installing early voting places, and implementing the coming-of-age ceremony are all proof that AEON MALL has steadfastly focused its attention on local communities. In addition, considering that the e-commerce at home will gain more power in the future as mentioned in “Message from the Top”, there is a high possibility that regional contribution activities through which many customers visit the mall and have a fun time will have a favorable effect on AEON MALL's original business activities. I would like to appreciate the efforts of creating value in collaboration with local communities and promoting activities from the point of view of CSV (Creating Shared Value) that aims for sustainable growth.

About one year has passed since the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake. In Feature 2 (from page 18 to page 23), AEON MALL’s stance to face the disaster is introduced together with voices of the actual situation. At that time, as reported by many media, the AEON Group delivered supplies to the disaster-stricken areas after the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake in cooperation with Japan Airlines, partner companies, central government, local governments, etc. Furthermore, malls in Kumamoto Prefecture immediately opened the facilities for residents in the region. These kinds of activities can not be accomplished without routine preparations for disasters. AEON MALL has also been continuing the restoration support to Higashimatsushima City in Miyagi Prefecture that suffered severe damage due to the Great East Japan Earthquake. I would like to highly evaluate the CSR activities that are unique to AEON MALL that runs malls closely connected with people's lives.

For AEON MALL’s CSR activities of this fiscal year, the promotion of diversity has made steady progress (Refer to page 34). Moving forward to become “a company where diversified employees can play an active role” while both the number and the ratio of female managers have increased, and the globalization of organizations and human resources can be seen with the increase in the number of local staff members in overseas subsidiaries. In March 2016, AEON MALL visualized systems and initiatives in which success and growth can be continuously expected, and newly established a “Management Diversity Promotion Group” under the Personnel Management Department to promote the creation of an environment where the strengths of our company can be leveraged. In addition, in June of the same year, “AEON Association Shops Committee” with specialty stores that have been opened within the mall as its members newly established a Diversity Promotion Working Group and installed day-care centers and relaxation rooms to improve the working environment for employees of specialty stores. In order for an enterprise to grow continuously, it is indispensable to utilize diversified human resources who rejuvenate the organization. I would like to highly evaluate that an institutional framework concerning human resource diversity and work-life balance was newly constructed.

My request to AEON MALL

I think that AEON MALL is positioned at the highest level in developing environment-friendly malls both in Japan and abroad, and has reached a high level in terms of contribution to communities and consideration towards working people. I recommend that action plans be included in this report of the next fiscal year. Among CSR items summarized as the “Five Pillars”, note which items and to what extent are to be implemented. Implementing the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) cycle including setting goals for each one separately, showing the outline of activities that have been carried out, and checking the degree of achievement of the goals will certainly be useful for further promotion of the CSR activities of AEON MALL.