With the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen a few weeks ahead, world leaders are busy negotiating and pledging for solutions towards a low-carbon future. While the days of cheap, abundant fossil-fuel supplies are numbered. Countries are starting to put a price on carbon. Many industrialized countries have given targets for their greenhouse gas emission reductions. Nuclear power, or, the proposed strategies of carbon capture and storage (CCS) have been proposed as the primary means to achieve a low carbon economy while continuing to exploit non-renewable resources. However, none of these targets can be realized without the efforts of companies in the innovation of energy efficient technologies.
Founded in 1875, Toshiba Group consists of Toshiba and its consolidated subsidiaries throughout the world (in total 538 companies, with around 200,000 employees) as of end of March 2009. The group operates globally in the following four domains:digital products, electronic devices, social infrastructure and home appliance. After realizing the global demand for accessible, secure energy that can be generated at reasonable cost and with as little environmental impact as possible, Toshiba has repositioned itself: Energy technology to cut greenhouse gas emissions, not flashy consumer gadgets, is now the target. At Toshiba Group, the mission is to “deliver technology and products remarkable for their innovation and artistry-contributing to a safer, more comfortable, more productive life.” So how does the innovation and technology operating in Toshiba and what is the innovation and technology's current status in this modern world? Is there any other issues should be concerned when Toshiba pursues innovation?
At the second place is the term “CSR” in Toshiba. This is increasingly used to refer to the awareness by companies of the need to go beyond legal requirements and contractual obligations and strive to reflect an understanding of and response to social and environmental considerations in all of their business activities. Unfortunately, there is no standard agreement of what is CSR and what should be responsible for. It is seems like the CSR concept engage by the corporation's own purpose, so what is the Toshiba's CSR and how does Toshiba use their CSR to gain support from social and government? Otherwise, how does Toshiba commit to the future and people?
Toshiba Group promotes CSR-oriented management motivated by its deep convictions about its responsibilities as a “corporate citizen of planet Earth.” As the current Director, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation, Norio Sasaki, has pointed out, “Toshiba will constantly act with integrity, and through using our Group's powers of imagination that helps lead to continuous innovation, Toshiba will work to contribute to the achievement of a sustainable world.” So what is the deeply relationship between Innovation which is depend on technology and corporate social responsibility? How does corporate social responsibility and innovation interrelate and interact on each other. This is the last issue to be discussed, and it is the most important one because many corporations are dealing with such an issue for a long time to find an efficient pathway to get succeed both of social image and balance sheet.
Luecke and Katz (2003) defined that “innovation...is generally understood as the successful introduction of a new thing or method...Innovation is the embodiment, combination, or synthesis of knowledge in original, relevant, valued new products, processes, or services.” More and more companies and organizations increasing the investment in innovation. To maintain the competitive edge, product suppliers endeavor to improve their products by improving quality and performance. This includes incorporating new development, adding new models, keeping a watchful eye on their competitors' products and listening to the expectations of the customers. Following those activities, they can maintain and expand their market share and improve their profitability. However, the modern world give some large organizations an opportunity to accomplish environmental protection's mission when they pursue innovations, which is Toshiba try to involved during the past several years.
To finish this mission more efficiency and precision, Toshiba group is promoting their business activities in four domains, and capitalizing on the strength of each domain. This can execute the actions more accurate. The first efforts is in the social infrastructure business, the main purpose is the contributing to the prevention of global warming and better society with innovative environmental technologies which is the control of global CO2 emissions. The main activity to execute it is expanding nuclear power generation system, improving the efficiency of thermal power generation, promoting business such as carbon capture and storage globally. The second one is electronic devices business, it aims to contribute to a green IT society with advanced semiconductor technology, otherwise, to reduce environmental impacts at factories Toshiba provides electronic device products supporting a broad range of industries, while pursuing performance improvement and power. The third one is digital products business. Toshiba attempt to use the advanced technology and environmental awareness create products to offer new experiences to the customer, to awake their consciousness of environmental protection.The last efforts in its business domains is home appliance business which is to encourage customer to pursue comfortable and environmentally lifestyle. It would seem that the innovation in Toshiba already be a part of its culture and move into its blood. For Toshiba group, innovation is not just a simple activity to acquire moreer market share, its move into a higher level which is the human care. But, innovation must obeys its own concept and low, whether the purpose is profitability or environmental protection.
First of all, an organizations should clarify the strategy of innovation, the innovation must be at the core of its strategy and permeate everything it does. For Toshiba, the group should made some commitment which related to innovation. The innovation is the core of what the Toshiba does that should execute from the top management. As all we agreed that if any organization wants a change or want to follow a new strategy, the top management is the first target. Accordingly, the innovation is a responsibility of every single employee in the organization, its more than some special department, such as R&D department. And the innovation should happens in everything, from developing new products or services to new processes and new approaches to marketing. So Toshiba needs to organize each department more efficiency through enhance the communication system or reduce the unnecessary management process. Furthermore, Toshiba should try to avoid the speculative, innovation should not happen by chance or in a haphazard, piecemeal or tactical manner. The innovation must be encouraged, planned, facilitated and operated as just a part of the common business activities. After the previous discussion, a successful innovation is not simple, it is require deliberate plan, however, a clear vision of its importance and a culture that supported innovation must be formulated. The current situation in Toshiba is not allowed to invest too much cash into a particular innovation, so the vision and the culture could be act a more important role than any other organizations, otherwise, these visions should be tied into the reality of the market place, where the opportunities oringinated. Toshiba should not just focus on the environmental protection innovation technology, the issue of how to build an intelligence relationship between customers and the new environmental protection product is the priority.
It would seem that basic on the reality listed among previous content that innovation is difficult to define. It is about introducing new products, services or processes, opening up new markets, identifying new sources of supply of raw materials creating new type of industrial organization. But in nowadays business world, it is more than that, it is about breaking the mould and reorganize it, which is doing things different. For Toshiba, the original mould is producing high technology product which is just focus on “high”. The product could be extremely outstanding, such as an elaborate design, or ideal function, or dependable quality, but all of these attributes can not cover the most key element for Toshiba's existing innovation, which is the human care and environmental protection. Consequently, Toshiba should insist on its new dominate innovation ideas and make it sustainability. The sustainability includes environmental responsibility, ethical business practices and other issues often wrapped up in the term corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Blowfield and Frynas (2005) argue three dimensions of CSR. The companies have a responsibility for their impact on society and the natural environment, sometimes beyond legal compliance and liability of individuals. The companies have a responsibility for the behaviour of others with whom they do business. The companies needs to manage its relationship with wider society, whether for reasons of commercial viability or to add value to society. These three arguments could be think as an umbrella term for a variety of views and practices. Companies and corporations always chasing a force which can increase their social impact, especially the large corporations. The social impact could bring much more customer loyalty, government policy which could benefit the corporations development, and the social concern or attentions in a positive manner. In general, different industries usually have different sectors to concern about in dealing with their CSR. For example, mining, gas, and oil acquisition industry may focus on the local communities attitude. Tobacco industries may pay much more attention at the health impact of smoking. Fast-food chains would change their menu to remove or improve the food which can make people obesity. As the world develop, the corporations can not survive in a good condition if they do not concern about the CSR in their particular areas.
As the news story mentioned, Damian Thong, an analyst at Macquarie Securities in Tokyo, says that: “Toshiba is changing to meet market opportunities. Clearly there is gobal demand for accessible, secure energy, that can be generated at reasonable cost and with as little environment impact as possible.” Toshiba is not stand at the first place on the market share in their industries, but Toshiba has the ability to lead other main players in this industry, such as Panasonic and Hitachi, to acquire green energy and can be as a symbol in this kind of strategy. In 2009, Toshiba announced a Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the guiding ideology is to respect people, creation of new value, and contribution to society. In the other hand, Toshiba also made a commitment to two characters, the people and the future. For people, Toshiba will promise to help create a higher quality of life, for future, Toshiba will do their own part to ensure that progress continues within the world community. Such a commitment is not easy to engage, the corporation must possess a spirits which can face any difficult situation, and a plan which can arrange any detail to cope with any unknown risk.
There is a Chinese saying said that “Non-profit can not afford to early”. There is no individuals do not ask payment when they do a lot of work, corporations have no exception. There must be some force to push the corporation to engage a CSR plan or a trend to make the corporations have no option within the current sick situation. Toshiba is just one object of this kind of force or situation.
There are two reasons of why Toshiba must face this challenge in this modern world. In last year's balance sheet, Toshiba have a net loss of $3.8bn, the main reason of why Toshiba have such a huge loss is in chipmaker industry, because there are lots of competitors from Korea, China, and other Japanese companies, however, such a loss has the possbility to extend while consumer electronic also made a small loss after years of mediocre results. The second reason is Toshiba already stand at an awkward position. Toshiba portfolio includes personal and professional computers, telecommunications and medical equipment, industrial machinery, consumer appliances, electronic components, and semiconductors. Its portfolio also includes air traffic control and railway transportation systems. The new members in this long portfolio list are hydroelectric plants, high efficiency coal and gas power stations, solar power modules, and efficient electric transmission equipment. The wider your corporation involved in, the more risk your corporation would take. In this situation, depend on this difficult choice. Toshiba had clarify its core competence as the new green energy's development and application. However, Toshiba can not leave the other portfolio alone, the continued investment can not stop in that kind of industries. The problem of lack of capital exist all the time, at the end of this September it had Y1,223bn in net debt and shareholders' equity amounted to only 13.5 percent of total assets. So Toshiba needs investment from the government and the finance support from the bank., green energy is a fabulous idea to attract banks attention and win the support from the government, and it is perfect match the CSR's request in the meantime. Toshiba should never let such an opportunity escape. So in the CSR report which is announced in this year, environment protection and green energy are the main issue of Toshiba wants to focus on.
With the advent of sustainable development, it is contended widely that corporate social responsibility and technology innovation are interrelated and interacted on each other.
Little (2006) argues that CSR initiatives can lead to innovation with 'social, environmental or sustainability drivers to create new ways of working, new products, services, processes and new market space, namely, to be better fulfilling its CSR, the organization has to more widely and deeply commit to the society, which also motivate the organization to be more innovative and creative. On the other hand, by the advanced innovation and technology will greatly support the achievement of CSR, such as Toshiba Group addresses itself as a corporate citizen of plant earth and contributes to a sustainable world by deploying the environmental technologies, innovative products and services, technically corporate social responsibility works on the premise that the support of the technology innovation. In a word, it is believed that CSR and innovation works together would create a virtuous circle in the organization.
Toshiba determined to build a higher quality of life for all people, and for the future. According to this objective, Toshiba announced two commitment to all of the world, commitment for future, and for the people.
Toshiba believes that companies are part of the fabric of society and can only survive and prosper in the long run if they work for, andearn the trust, of society. We recognize that short-term progress and profit cannot come at the expense of long-term environmental sustainability. That is why Toshiba has created a stream of essential, life-enhancing products and services that have earned society's trust.
Growing concern about global warming, waste disposal and other environmental issues reflects heightened awareness of the vulnerability of our environment. Prompted by an earnest desire to hasten the emergence of a recycling-based society,Toshiba strives to create environmentally conscious products with minimal environmental impact throughout their lifecycles.
According to its 2009 corporate social responsibility report, it can be seen that Toshiba Group will continue developing its innovative technologies mainly focus the fields of electronics and energy and strive to create products and service that enhance human life which lead to a thriving, healthy society.
On purpose of fulfilling its promise to the society, they have to develop and innovate the relevant environmental and energy technologies to support them, such as application of power generation systems which has greatly reduce the emission of carbon dioxide in its social infrastructure business. Furthermore, they also deploy the advance green IT technologies in their digital product business which maximize the products to be more consideration lower consumption with better quality and maximum recyclable.
Toshiba works to reduce the environmental load of every product it manufactures and seeking to reduce the load during the product's use and to ensure its suitability for recycling or easy disposal at the end of its life cycle.
Apparently, it is impossible to achieve the commitment to environment with such advanced technologies, especially in the energy-consumption industry. Therefore, the art-state-technologies are the premise on environmental commitment. On the other hand, with the achievement of corporate social responsibility successfully, the organization will obtain the trust and credit from the society, intangibly the organization has to take more responsibilities for the society and their commitment needs to be more widely and deeply, namely the new innovation needs to be developed to fulfill new responsibilities and that is reason why originally, the Toshiba target its SCR only at reduce energy aspects to develop new-energy.
Basically, the commitment to future, to some extend is also commitment to people. Toshiba Group's corporate philosophy emphasizes respect for people, creation of new value, and contribution to society, in other words, Toshiba is trying to creating products and services that enhance human life, and which lead to a thriving, healthy society. Expect that environmental issue, this part mainly emphasizes the relationship between technology and human medical care.
There is no denying that the healthcare has already posed a great challenge all over the world. The European Commission (2009) states that the medical care insurance as a major social problem in response to the aging of society. In particular, the European Commission is promoting medical service innovation using state-of-the-art technology developed by private companies and calling for active health management by citizens themselves. As a major medical appliance supplier, Toshiba has been developed a medical image diagnostic system that helps early detection and diagnosis.
European people are strongly averse to X-ray exposure during the health checkups, as evident in their very stringent attitude towards the management of chemicals in products. Overcoming such resistance is a major challenge faced by the medical community. For instance, in order to minimize such concern of the patients, Toshiba Group provides a CT system, which enables a heat image to be captured without sticking a needle into an artery. This system helps in the early detection of heart disease, such as myocardial infarction which is a leading cause of death alongside cancer.
Toshiba as the globally innovation company, they are liable to use their creative imitation to continues innovating in every business they are in. Toshiba has become from good corporate citizen juts obey the relevant standard to a corporate try to benefit the whole community and try to enhance quality of life for all people. This is also the outcome of interaction and interrelation between corporate social reasonability and technology innovation.