Identifying Critical ESG Themes
and Strengthening/Advancing Initiatives
The Suzuken Group’s business domain is health creation and our mission is to continue contributing to rich and fulfilling lifestyles that are full of smiling faces. We, therefore, aim to work through our business activities to increase our Group value by fulfilling our function as social infrastructure, while also helping to solve social issues and providing society with value.
Working with suppliers, partner companies, customers, local communities, and other stakeholders is crucial to our value chain. As we nurture even greater trust in our stakeholder relationships, we aim to achieve sustainable growth by giving rise to even greater value that helps to resolve social issues.
Critical ESG Themes and Main Initiatives
Amid increasingly complex ESG issues facing companies, the Suzuken Group has identified ESG themes of particular importance. We have selected these themes from the perspectives of expanding business opportunities and risk mitigation, and–in light of our entire value chain–changes in the business environment and directions in which society is moving. The table below presents critical ESG themes that the entire Suzuken Group is addressing.
In addition, we have identified ESG themes that are specific to certain business segments. Initiatives for addressing these are discussed in the sections of this report that cover individual business segments.
Critical ESG Initiatives
Strengthening of ESG Initiatives
To continue creating new value and growing sustainably, we are strengthening and advancing initiatives concerning the critical ESG themes we have identified. As part of that process, we regularly make revisions based on ISO 26000, GRI, and other international standards; criteria for socially responsible investment; stakeholder opinions; and other information sources.
Going forward, we will establish concrete objectives for our initiatives, and move forward with ESG management and information disclosure initiatives from an integrated Suzuken Group perspective.
Critical ESG Initiatives Pharmaceutical Distribution Business
Strengthening BCP Measures
Creating an Unprecedentedly Resilient BCP Network
Utilizing lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011, we have constructed a resilient nationwide distribution network with key facilities in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. When a disaster strikes, this network will be used to work with administrative authorities and pharmaceutical companies to swiftly deliver pharmaceuticals to hospitals and other medical institutions in disaster zones.
Key BCP Facilities
＜Facilities with On-site Generators＞
- 72-hour self-sufficiency: The Toda, Meinan, Hanshin and Seishin distribution centers.
- Other distribution locations are equipped with on-site power generation facilities and small generators.
＜Facilities Storing Diesel and Gasoline＞
- Chuo Unyu Co., Ltd. keeps fuel sufficient for approximately one week of joint distribution in the Kanto region.
＜Satellite and priority phone systems＞
- Satellite phones (Installed at main bases and distribution centers).
- Priority phones (All branches).
＜Employee Safety Conrmation System＞
- A system is in place for confirming the safety of all Group employees via email and periodic training is conducted.
Promotion of Diversity
As part of its efforts to become the No. 1 group for customer trust, Suzuken promotes diversity to foment a climate that draws on individuality, where unique employees with different genders, ages, nationalities, values, ways of working, and so on grow while competing with one another.
Developing Human Resources for the Future
Group Personnel Exchanges
The Suzuken Group actively uses personnel exchanges to present employees with various types of challenges and opportunities for growth. In fiscal 2018, we implemented a Group-wide project to advance our medium-term growth strategies. Under this project, employees were assembled from throughout the Group to help create Group growth opportunities by connecting or combining the four business segments.
Furthering the Development of Young Employees
In fiscal 2018, the Suzuken Group invited young employees to submit essays on how they would like to see the Suzuken Group develop going forward. This activity was undertaken as part of the Group's efforts to develop future leaders. Those whose reports were selected were given opportunities to participate in special training and discussions with top management. They are also now being given chances to participate in new projects and other opportunities for career development.
Reducing CO2 Emissions and Energy Usage
Reducing Gasoline and Electricity Usage
Suzuken has established environmental policies and is undertaking measures to save resources and energy, reduce waste and promote recycling, cut CO2 emissions, and increase operational efficiency, all as companywide initiatives.
Critical ESG Initiatives Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Business
Chemical and other substances used as pharmaceutical ingredients can impact ecosystems when they are emitted or disposed of in the course of a manufacturing process. Therefore, strict management based on environmental laws and regulations intended to minimize those impacts is essential. Furthermore, it is important to not only ensure pharmaceutical eectiveness and safety but also see to it that manufacturing plants are properly managed from environmental and sanitation/hygiene perspectives.
Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co., Ltd. has established its Environmental Committee and formulated targets with an action plan for environmental protection. Eorts are underway to identify emissions of chemical substances and to exercise proper management in accordance with the PRTR system※2 in order to reduce emissions of air pollutants. High-eciency systems are being adopted and visual representations of energy usage are being advanced to save energy and counter climate change. The amount of material recycled is being increased to steadily reduce the nal waste disposal rate.
- ※1EHS (Environment, Health and Safety): More and more pharmaceutical companies are giving weight to EHS evaluations when selecting a manufacturing subcontractor
- ※2PRTR (Pollutant Release and Transfer Register) system: System whereby the volume of chemical substances (that may be harmful to human health and the ecosystem) discharged from a place of business into the environment (atmosphere, water, soil) and the volume of such substances included in waste transferred from a place of business are monitored by the business operator and reported to the national government, which compiles and publishes discharge and transfer volumes according to notification data and estimates
Quality and Safety Management Initiatives
Quality Assurance and Stable Supplies of Pharmaceuticals
Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho is building a quality assurance system in line with international standards and has moved to ensure the stable supply of its main products by introducing double-line production at two facilities, one each in Fukushima and Kumamoto prefectures. It is also pursuing production technology R&D and has devoted significant attention to transferring production technology knowledge and experience to further the development of younger employees.
Education on Diabetes Prevention, Treatment, and Recuperation
Cosponsoring and Participating in World Diabetes Day Activities
In October and November of every year, the Suzuken Group engages in activities aimed at raising awareness of diabetes prevention, treatment, and recuperation. These activities are undertaken in support of World Diabetes Day, which the United Nations has decided shall be marked every year on November 14. During October and November, Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho MRs and Suzuken Group wholesale companies' MSs wear a pin badge in the shape of the Blue Circle, which symbolizes World Diabetes Day.
Initiatives for Raising Patient QOL
Use of Innovative Pharmaceutical Technologies
Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho offers services for improving the QOL of people seeking to better their health. Also, with its patented OSDrC (One-Step Dry-Coating) technology, it is able to manufacture a wide variety of pharmaceuticals with high quality and low cost for patients.
Critical ESG Initiatives Pharmacy Business
Preventing the Accumulation of Unused Prescription Drugs
Information Gathering and Advice by Pharmacists to Patients
In Japan, prescription drugs left unused by elderly and other patients have become a significant issue for society. Unused medicines can pose health risks if they are taken by mistake. Pharmacists can help to remedy this situation by gathering information on patient medication usage and advising patients on how to properly take and manage their medications. Suzuken Group pharmacies provide simple, clear advice on how to take medications, and they use one-dose packaging※1 and perform brown bag reviews※2 to help patients take their medications as prescribed.
The Suzuken Group views the resolution of social issues and the minimization of social costs as important management themes.
- ※1One-dose packaging: Combining drugs to be taken at the same time in a single package
- ※2Brown bag review: Pharmacists taking the lead in monitoring the amounts and types of prescription drugs, OTC drugs, and supplements patients regularly use to check for side effects, interactions, and other problems
Supporting Education for the Next Generation
Accepting Students for Long-Term Practical Training and Internships
Highly skilled pharmacists–as medical professionals–are required for responding to the social need for being able to use pharmaceuticals safely. In 2007, Japan implemented a six-year course of study for pharmacology and changed the pharmacy internship from a several-week observational activity to an 11-week participatory internship. These developments show a growing awareness of the need for educational support for pharmacy students.
The Suzuken Group’s pharmacies support the education of pharmacy students by accepting them for long-term practical internships. They also conduct early experiential learning programs for first-year college students to help them understand what pharmacies and pharmacists do. Pfercos Co., Ltd. and S-mile Co., Ltd. together have 159 certified practical instruction pharmacists to lead the practical training of future pharmacists.
Contributions to Regional Communities
Sharing Sterile Drug Preparation Rooms with Local Pharmacies
In Japan, the number of patients receiving terminal stage care for cancer and other illnesses at home is rising. To respond to their needs, the Suzuken Group is increasing the number of its pharmacies equipped with sterile drug preparation rooms, which are needed to prepare transfusions and other injectable drugs. It is also supplying total parenteral and enteral nutrition products.
Operating under the concept of “pharmacies supporting pharmacies,” our pharmacies with sterile drug preparation rooms share access to them with other local pharmacies, while also providing instruction in medication preparation techniques. In addition, they perform advanced pharmaceutical management functions to support the management of oncology and other drugs.
Promoting the Health of Local Residents
To promote good health for local residents and actively participate in local community life, the Suzuken Group’s pharmacies sponsor various types of health-related events throughout Japan. These include health checkups and advice as well as events for having children experience the work of a pharmacist. In fiscal 2018, 69 Group pharmacies sponsored 97 health-related events that attracted a total of over 4,000 local residents.
Critical ESG Initiatives Healthcare-Related Services Business
Environmental Management and Eco-Driving Initiatives
Implementing Safe, Environmentally Friendly Vehicle Operation
In fulfilling our mission of reliably delivering pharmaceuticals, while rising to demands for even greater quality management in distribution for manufacturers, it is critical that we provide for the security and safety of employees and local residents. Safe driving practices are a must, and we believe they will help to lower CO2 emissions and result in eco-friendly driving.
Chuo Unyu Co., Ltd. has put forth a policy on environmental activities, has obtained Green Management certifications for all of its business locations, and is pursuing environmentally conscious management. The company uses digital tachographs to record data for the analysis and evaluation of individual drivers from environmental and safety perspectives. As a result of this initiative, individual drivers have become more aware of the need for safe, environmentally friendly vehicle operation, and are improving their driving skills. The company also conducts vehicle maintenance and training for drivers regularly to promote eco-driving.
Greater Safety through High-Quality Distribution
ISO 9001: 2015 Certifications Obtained
S.D. Logi Co., Ltd. obtained ISO 9001: 2015 certifications for nine of its manufacturer distribution centers by 2018. It has also transferred to its wholesale distribution centers the techniques and know-how it gained in operating its manufacturer distribution centers. Going forward, the company will actively work to maintain and enhance its quality management system to provide distribution services pharmaceutical manufacturers can rely on.
ISO 9001: 2015 Certified Manufacturer Distribution Centers：
Koga Distribution Center, Sugito Distribution Center, East Japan Distribution Center, Tsukuba Distribution Center, Amagasaki Distribution Center, Kobe Distribution Center, West Kobe Distribution Center, West Japan Distribution Center, Rokko Distribution Center
Initiatives for Collaboration with Local Communities
Healthcare Events for Local Residents
Japan’s population continues to age and the number of people with dementia is rising. Therefore, in striving to provide long-term care services that respond to local needs, it is important to hold events that deepen relationships with the elderly and their families to help create communities where people can continue to live as they age.
Sanki Wellbe holds seasonal events at its nursing facilities for its users, their families, and local residents. It also organizes classes aimed at developing care helpers to support local residents with dementia and their families. Employees who are Caravan Mates (trained instructors for developing care helpers for people with dementia) act as instructors and hold regular classes for local residents. In fiscal 2018, the company’s employees conducted 60 of these classes.
S-Care Mate Co., Ltd. holds social studies tours to introduce local elementary school students to the importance of long-term care. In fiscal 2018, the company held two of these tours.
Reducing Pharmaceutical Disposal Losses
Inter-Pharmacy Distribution for Obsolete Inventory
The Suzuken Group provides inter-pharmacy distribution services for pharmacy chains and helps to curb social costs by reducing pharmaceutical disposal losses. Pharmacies keep large numbers of pharmaceuticals in inventory, so it is inevitable that there will be obsolete inventory, and pharmaceuticals that have passed their expiration dates must be disposed of.
Suzuken aggregates obsolete inventories of pharmaceuticals at its distribution centers and then redistributes products that are still usable to pharmacies that need them.