Chairperson and CEO Message

Everyone's "Waku-Waku"
Becoming a Driving Force to
Deliver Value to
People and the Planet

Shigeko Okazaki

Director, Representative Executive Officer Chairperson and CEO

Reason for adopting our belief that has not changed since the company's founding as our new vision

When formulating the Medium-Term Management Plan(FY2021-FY2023) of the Fuji Seal Group(hereinafter, "FSG"), we reviewed our vision for the first time in 10 years and determined that our new vision is "Our Value to People and the Planet." This is what Fuji Seal has always kept in mind throughout its 124-year history, and it is so natural to us that we feel a little embarrassed by putting it into words. However, we have now articulated it and have set it as our new vision because we have prepared ourselves to design packages that are conscious of people and the environment.

In line with this new vision, we have set three key aspects to realize it: "Sustainable and profitable growth in the packaging industry," "Our proactive impact to realize the Regenerative Society," and "Generate Waku-Waku." These key aspects were created by employees through repeated discussions over approximately a year. For the choice of words for the key aspects, in particular, members from the U.S. and Europe also actively participated in the discussions from an early stage. Consequently, we have obtained good key aspects that are easy to understand both in English and Japanese.

The term "Waku-Waku" used in one of the key aspects, "Generate Waku-Waku," is not translated into English but expressed as it is, and is very much welcomed by overseas employees, although I am often warned not to pronounce it with long vowels because it sounds like "Work-Work!". I am very happy that employees have chosen this unique term, which enables us to share a positive image both in Japan and overseas. I also feel that it is the goodness and strength of FSG that everyone accepts this expression flexibly without denying it, because it sounds playful.

Sharing value through the Waku-Waku Growth Cycle and passing it down to the future

In recent years, FSG has expanded rapidly. Under such circumstances, it is becoming increasingly difficult for employees to talk face to face with each other and communicate their opinions and thoughts while sharing the same atmosphere as before. In addition, we have many employees who play an active role all over the world, with the economic situation and backdrop of culture and religion varying from country to country. This means that the individual personalities of employees as well as their common sense are diverse. Even if common sense in daily life varies from person to person, it is necessary to have a common understanding that they will work together based on the same ideas, at least in terms of work. Accordingly, we have created a concept titled "Waku-Waku Growth Cycle," which will serve as a basis for common understanding. I hope that this concept will deepen employees' understanding of the growth FSG envisions for the future and the growth each employee should aim for.

In the Waku-Waku Growth Cycle, 12 items of value behavior, such as "Passionate" and "Action First," are listed, and among them is "Enjoy." I always say to employees, regardless of whether they are female or male, "If you have something you want to do, try to do all of it." You do not have to give up anything just because you are married or have children, for instance. If you think about what you can do in order to do what you want to do, including asking someone for support or allocating your time more efficiently, I believe that you will be able to find the answer yourself. By continually challenging what you want to do, you will find your work more and more enjoyable. If a task is not interesting for you, you will be mentally distressed even if you do it for only an hour. Meanwhile, if a task is fun for you, you will not be tired even if you continue to do it for five or six hours. If you enjoy working on various tasks in this way, you will surely come to the moment when you realize that what seemed to be disjointed is actually connected. I believe that you can then move on to the next stage of growth.

In FSG, every employee has an equal chance. Even young employees can take on various challenges regardless of their background. I hope that more employees will challenge themselves to undertake difficult tasks with strong ownership, while finding excitement (Waku-Waku) and fun in it.

Turning your work into fun and making it a driving force to keep moving forward

I was always asked by my father, Masaaki Fujio, who was the founder of the current Fuji Seal International, INC., "Do you enjoy your work?" He said: "Nothing is more unpleasant than working under someone who doesn't enjoy their work. If you don't enjoy your work, quit your work for the people around you, not for yourself." I think that there is truth in that. Partly because of his words, no matter what I do, I think about it based on whether or not it is fun for me. I feel that a mature adult or professional is a person who can turn work into fun. What is fun for me is to contribute to society, thereby growing myself. The important thing is to keep moving forward. Although I sometimes retreat temporarily, I never stop. Standing still is the last thing I want to do. As is often said, I can create a path behind me.

Speaking of "Waku-Waku," I prefer a chaotic state to a coherent state. For instance, when I have various issues and problems, I input all of them into my head and leave them for a while as if I' m cooking stew. After a while, a chemical reaction occurs, and what seem to be answers appear as if the stew is complete. I am always excited (Waku-Waku) at this moment.

What is contribution to the environment from the perspective of diversity?

When it comes to contribution to the environment, I strongly feel that we should never talk about it superficially.

In Japan, there is currently a goal of increasing the effective usage rate of PET bottles to 100%. This is based on the premise that caps and labels are separated from the PET bottles and the insides of the bottles are washed clean. Meanwhile, as common sense varies across the world, environmental awareness and initiatives differ from country to country. In the U.S., for instance, there is no habit among consumers to separate labels from PET bottle, unlike in Japan. Accordingly, FSG has developed the RecShrinkTM label, which can be recycled together with PET bottles into PET bottles, under the label-to-bottle approach. It has already obtained certification from the Association of Plastic Recyclers, a public institution in the U.S., and already on the market.

We should be friendly to the environment as a matter of course. However, if the perspective of diversity is included, I am not sure what kind of initiative is better: an initiative in which we take measures as common in Japan, setting conditions that are difficult to meet, or an initiative in which we take reasonable measures as common in the U.S. and Europe so that even children can be easily involved.

In Japan, separated labels are sorted and collected as plastic waste and are incinerated together with other plastics for energy conversion or are reused as lower quality products. Of course, this kind of recycling also contributes significantly to reducing environmental impacts. However, aiming to go one step further, specifically to establish a full circular recycling system, in which labels are recycled into labels (label-to-label approach), FSG is proceeding with demonstration experiments in cooperation with business partners.

Realizing our vision together while mutually understanding the situation of each country and region

What kind of materials, such as plastic, aluminum, and paper, are environmentally friendly? For environmentally friendly materials and life cycle assessment, research institutes in each country use different calculation formulas and have different opinions. In such a complicated situation, someone needs to make a decision and decide on a direction. In order to do so, we must firmly grasp the essence of environmental issues.

In the new Medium-Term Management Plan, FSG has set the goal of shifting 100% of turnover to "Regenerative Packaging." However, we will not blindly follow the environmental policy in Japan, but work to achieve the goal while choosing a method with the lowest environmental impact based on the situation and way of thinking of each country or region, such as the U.S., Europe, and the ASEAN region. There should be more than one correct answer. Sharing this recognition with each other, we would like to realize our vision "Our Value to People and the Planet."