Interview: What is the message Honda is sending through Face?

2013 / 10 / 7 | Author: EcoNetworks

“It’s people, real people, who are working to protect the environment.”

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Speaker: Hisashi Kato, Environment & Safety Planning Office, Honda Motor Co.
Interviewer: Kazunori Kobayashi

Introduction

In September 2013, Honda received an outstanding evaluation for its environmental reporting.

In the results of the CDP Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013, Honda achieved the highest disclosure score among all Japanese companies and was named one of the world’s most advanced companies.

Also in January 2013, Honda’s Japanese environmental website won the Measures Against Global Warming Prize in the goo Environment Awards. One of the reasons it won was because of “Honda Face.”

The background to the creation of the series is detailed in the “Passions behind Honda Face.”

One purpose is to inform as many people as possible about Honda’s unique culture and qualities. We work to deliver good products to the customer, to contribute to society, and importantly for pursuing our ideals.

We don’t do what we do just because it’s our job and the company tells us to. We do it because we think we should. While this may seem somewhat arbitrary, this behavior is grounded in our convictions, and everyone comes together to work toward the goal at the critical moment.

This unique manufacturing culture of Honda’s manifests itself similarly in Honda’s environmental initiatives.

People who are passionate about the environment drive Honda’s environmental initiatives. Thanks to the presence of such people, Honda continues to be a leading environmental company. “Environmental Documentary — Honda Face” came about because we wanted people to know about this.

Another reason was because we wanted to make a record of what these people are doing easily available to anyone at any time. Honda’s environmental initiatives are a permanent part of Honda’s business. For this reason, we would like as many people as possible to see the work of these people as part of the ongoing and ever evolving story of Honda.

With these goals in mind, the medium of the Internet was the best option. We hope you take a moment to read this narrative of people and technology, which forms the background to Honda’s environmental initiatives.

I spoke with Hisashi Kato of the Environment & Safety Planning Office, who serves as an editor-in-chief of both the Honda environmental annual report and Honda Face.


Interview

How did Face become what it is today?

After I became responsible for Face in 2011, we took a fresh look at our means of communication.

When we produced our environmental report 16 years ago, there were few other companies doing so and it received a lot of attention from students and other people. But while at first the 20 – 30 thousand copies we would print would all be snapped up, it seemed that fewer people read it each year.

I felt that this method of information publishing had become too normal. It seemed to be pointless to adhere to the same old methodology, and a change was necessary.

In the end it’s people, real people, who are working to protect the environment.

Up until 2011, we had prepared a collection of case studies as part of the Honda Environmental Annual Report (HEAR).

Face was brought about by switching from the more formal collection of case studies to reports incorporating people’s intensions and a more human perspective.

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How did the audience respond?

Despite all the articles being quite large at around 4000 words, a surprising number of people told us they had read Face.

Face was certainly effective as a tool to support the environmental annual report.

That being the case, we thought it might be possible to take it one step further and develop it into a standalone channel of communication, not just a supplementary reader to the report.

When we did this, the results were beyond our expectations. In addition to our usual readership, there was feedback from each person covered in Face and their families explaining how happy and motivated the articles made them.

Also, people in the media have recently started to bring printouts of Face when coming to report on Honda.

I feel we have finally started to reach our audience.

I hope we can reach the point where people say how transparent the Honda environment has become or recite back to us specific projects we are undertaking.

So the message is consistent with what Honda puts into practice every day.

We were committed to representing the inclusive approach of the company in Honda Environmental Annual Report 2013 as well.

This is also something the president is always impressing on employees.
“Work as a team, from top to bottom.”

I think it is important that company employees can also identify with this.


After the interview

Reading the articles in Honda Face, one can certainly feel Honda’s enthusiasm.
The words in “Passions behind Honda Face” strike a resonant note.

One purpose is to inform as many people as possible about Honda’s unique culture and qualities. We work to deliver good products to the customer, to contribute to society, and importantly for pursuing our ideals.

We don’t do what we do just because it’s our job and the company tells us to. We do it because we think we should. While this may seem somewhat arbitrary, this behavior is grounded in our convictions, and everyone comes together to work toward the goal at the critical moment.

This unique manufacturing culture of Honda’s manifests itself similarly in Honda’s environmental initiatives.

Face leads me to believe that Honda’s practical and purposeful approach to delivering innovation also applies to the theme of the environment.

Kazunori Kobayashi