Interview with Shuichiro Nishioka, General Director Mitsubishi Corporation Bucharest Liaison Office.
In 1954 the new Mitsubishi Shoji was founded and the same year was listed on both the Tokyo and Osaka stock exchanges. In 1970, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) decided to participate in the Brunei LNG Project—a project requiring a massive investment of unprecedented scale. The courage and determination of members involved in the project paved the way for the MC Group’s success in the LNG business. This was the first large–scale investment and was undertaken to help secure and stable supply of energy in Japan. In 1971, the company made Mitsubishi Corporation its official English name. Nowadays with over 200 bases of operations in approximately 80 countries worldwide and a network of over 500 group companies, Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) employs a multinational workforce of nearly 60,000 people.
Could you please describe, in a few lines, the activity of Mitsubishi Corporation Romania and Mitsubishi Corporation the group?
Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is a Japanese trading and investment company that develops and operates across virtually every industry including industrial finance, energy, metals, machinery, chemicals, foods and environmental business. MC’s current activities are expanding far beyond its traditional trading operations as its diverse business ranges from natural resources development to investment in retail business, infrastructure, financial products and manufacturing of industrial goods. As an example BMA is Australia’s largest coal miner and exporter, and the world’s largest supplier to the seaborne coking coal market. BMA was formed in June 2001, as a partnership between BHP Billiton and Mitsubishi Development Pty. Ltd. (subsidiary of Mitsubishi Corporation), under which the two companies share equal ownership and management of eight Central Queensland coal mines: Goonyella Riverside, Broadmeadow, Peak Downs, Saraji, Norwich Park, Gregory, Crinum and Blackwater, and the Hay Point coal export terminal near Mackay.
Mitsubishi Corporation opened Bucharest office in 1965 focusing on trading, reaching a pick the mid 70’s – 90’s. In 2001 due to structural changing of our business model, the decision was taken to close down several offices in Europe, including Bucharest. The office in Bucharest was re-opened in April 2006 in recognition of Romanian market potential and MC strategic interest in the region. Mitsubishi Corporation’s is active in Romania in both, projects and products. We are involved in support of plant execution for environmental protection for power plant and chasing various infrastructure projects. We are also supporting sales value chain of automobile, general merchandise chemical products, steel related materials and equipments.
What is the key philosophy of MC?
Our corporation strategy is “Generating and creating sustainable economic value, sustainable societal value and sustainable environmental value”. The Company believes that by helping to enrich society, both materially and spiritually, it will also meet the expectations of shareholders, customers and all other stakeholders. A key management theme in achieving these goals is to strengthen corporate management on an ongoing basis, as the foundation for ensuring sound, transparent and efficient management. MC is thus working to build a corporate governance system, based on the Corporate Auditor System, that is even more effective. To this end, the Company has strengthened supervision by appointing independent outside directors and independent outside corporate auditors, and also separated management and execution further by introducing the executive officer system.
When MC invests in a business, we share risk with our partners and add value to the business by leveraging MC’s organizational strength and global networks to procure necessary business resources. In addition, we provide optimal solutions for all stages of business – from development, procurement and production, to logistics and sales. Supporting the realization of these solutions, linking businesses and coordinating customer affiliations are all important MC functions. Furthermore, MC also anticipates trends in the market and society and takes initiative to develop new business. At MC, we constantly work to reinvent ourselves and seeking out cutting-edge functions required by the present fast evolving business world. For this purpose, our strong financial resources and risk management capabilities are of course invaluable, but we believe the foresight, initiative and ingenuity of our human resources represent our greatest assets.
After Lehman’s crisis the world economy has shrunk drastically and many countries, corporations and individuals still find themselves in the process of adjustment of their balance sheets. It will continue towards 2012.
Now people recognize sustainability is very important for all societies around the world. As I mentioned before, our company strategy is “Creating Sustainable Corporate Value” which means we are very much concerned not only with economic value but also with sustainable environmental value. The Electric Vehicle is one of our responses towards building a sustainable and ecological society.
What can you tell us about your interesting logo? What’s the story behind it?
The Mitsubishi logo is a registered trademark of Mitsubishi Corporation. In the 1870s, the shipping company Tsukumo Shokai, which was the precursor of Mitsubishi, used a triangular water chestnut icon on its ships’ flags, and it is from this icon that the current three-diamond Mitsubishi icon originated. In 1875, the company was renamed after the logo: Three Diamonds, or in Japanese, Mitsubishi. From then on, all the companies that would later grow from that original shipping company would bear the Mitsubishi name. The logo in its final form was registered in 1914.
Most people do not know that Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Motors Europe are different. What can you tell us about this?
Mitsubishi Motors Europe is a separate entity. We share the same umbrella group but Mitsubishi Motors Europe (MME) is the European HQ of Mitsubishi Motors Corporation. I want to underline that Mitsubishi Corporation Bucharest is not related to MME.
How important is for Mitsubishi Corporation protecting the environment?
Protecting the environment is part of our company strategy. When we do business we always think of this. From my point of view the environmental issue should always be considered extremely important.
At Mitsubishi Corporation we consider the Earth itself to be our most important stakeholder and are continually working towards the realization of a sustainable society through our business activities. So, we will strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by continually implementing new efficiency measures and embracing new technologies, we will promote the sustainable use of natural resources are committed to protecting ecosystems and mitigating any potential impacts on biodiversity. Also, we will strive to create and enhance environmental benefits by undertaking conservation activities and reducing our environmental footprint. I also believe that we have to continue to work with our various stakeholders openly and transparently and disclose information on the environmental impact of our business operations in an appropriate and timely manner.
Could you tell us a few words about I-MiEV, the electric car, in Romania?
In 2010 automobile market dropped compared to the peak of 2007. It’s the same trend not only in Romania but also in the other European countries as well. But even so it is a good signal we can give Europe commercially launching the electric vehicle. At MC BUC Liaison Office we are very happy to be among the first buyers of a Mitsubishi electric car (I-MiEV). We applaud the government’s initiative of granting subventions for this type of vehicles and hope these will be accompanied in the near future by measures to modernize the existing infrastructure, to promote a sustainable and ecological development of Romanian society.