The World at a Crossroads
August 11, 2021 4:45 PM EDT

CONTENT FROM SOMPO HOLDINGS

The coronavirus pandemic is proving to be an agent of change. Our efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 have produced some positive trends, including accelerated digitalization and a transition to net-zero emissions. However, the crisis has exposed a lack of international cooperation, worsened already widening disparities, and deepened a decline in births. The world is now at a crossroads. Will we continue down old pathways? Or will we move forward, overcoming social challenges and beginning the transformation to a sustainable society?

As a businessperson, I believe we should embrace transformation, and I would like to propose three keys to achieve it.

First, we need to emphasize long-term prosperity over short-term profits. We must prioritize social values, which are broader and more inclusive, must take precedence over economic values.

The principles of Bushido, the traditional Japanese code of moral precepts, emphasize the common good of society and the balance between altruism and self-interest. I believe these principles can serve as a compass to guide us on our journey to a sustainable world. In addition, we need to examine whether our capital markets are evaluating social value creation by companies appropriately.

Second, businesses should take practical actions to lead by example. Companies must use their compass to understand what various stakeholders want and provide solutions. To create social value, we must be willing to tackle social challenges. In doing so, business can become the driving force for transformation.

Third, to solve social issues in our diverse and complex societies we can’t rely on the methods of the past. Transformation requires innovation. And innovations that are meaningful, impactful and enduring are often the result of collaborations among diverse players.

Building a sustainable society demands commitment. As part of my commitment, I created “the SOMPO Manifesto,” in which I incorporate Bushido philosophy into the business of SOMPO.

The manifesto is a code of conduct to help SOMPO achieve its purpose of “realizing a society where all people can enjoy their lives in health and prosperity.” As with Bushido, the manifesto emphasizes the common good. It guides the practical actions of every SOMPO employee.

SOMPO is striving to solve social issues in the areas of security, health, and wellbeing. We do this by utilizing “real data”* obtained from the fields of insurance and nursing care. SOMPO’s “Real Data Platform” can create innovative solutions to social challenges. It connects the know-how and cutting-edge technologies of diverse partners with the “real data” of SOMPO. The result is new value for society.

While business should lead, behavioral changes among the public and support from government policymakers are also essential. The social system can only be recalibrated through multi-stakeholder collaborations. I understand the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics promoted by WEF are not just about ESG disclosure. They have been designed to launch a multi-stakeholder discussion on what the value of a company should be for humanity and society. This is a crucial conversation, and we welcome it.

My desire is to work with diverse partners to accelerate the transformation to a sustainable society. Our ultimate goal should be to leave a better world for future generations. Join us!

* “real data”: Data with clear origins from the real-world activities of individuals and companies (e.g. health information) unlike virtual data generated from activities on the Internet, such as SNS.

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