Responding to People and Society as a Good Corporate Citizen

Material Issues

Basic Approach

Continually passing on the spirit of “Respect for humanity” that has been a hallmark of Canon since our foundation in 1937, we adopted the corporate philosophy kyosei as the cornerstone of our business activities in 1988 in line with the global development of our business. kyosei is the aspiration to create a society in which all people, regardless of race, religion or culture, live and work together for the common good.

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected everyone’s lives along with economic activity, strengthening the demands across society for safety and security both at work and at home. With the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), companies are expected to create the scientific and technological innovations to help realize a society in which everyone can play an active role.

Besides business activities, Canon’s response to this situation is to focus on implementing a range of multifaceted corporate citizenship initiatives to help people and society. A core aim in playing our role as a good corporate citizen is to ensure Canon’s continued growth and development as an enterprise. In addition, we hope to contribute to achieving the SDGs through this approach.


Under “Responding to People and Society as a Good Corporate Citizen,” we have identified the three areas of “Human Rights and Labor,” “Product Responsibility” and “Social Contribution” as the material basis for Canon Group business activities. We believe it is important to contribute to the continued development of society in the way we respond through our business activities to the societal changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and various other factors, and in the way that we strive to meet the expectations and demands of stakeholders. Besides global guidelines such as the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” and “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” by the United Nations, we evaluate societal demands and expectations based on the views of CSR consultants and other independent experts, and on the results of our stakeholder surveys. We consider all these aspects in assessing the suitability of our activities and revising where appropriate. Our latest stakeholder survey pointed to high levels of interest in initiatives under each of the areas of “Human Rights and Labor,” “Product Responsibility” and “Social Contribution,” as outlined below.

Going forward, based on this information, Canon will continue to revise programs and consider fresh initiatives by gauging the extent to which the interests and expectations of stakeholders affect our corporate activities.

Results of Stakeholder Survey (Top 5 Items of Interest)

Human Rights and Labor Product Responsibility Social Contribution

Inkjet printer production at Canon Hi-Tech Thailand

Quality evaluation in environmental test lab

Eye care project in India

Risks and Opportunities

Outlined below for the three fields of Human Rights and Labor, Product Responsibility, and Social Contribution are the risks that could potentially compromise the adequacy of our initiatives in each field and the opportunities created by undertaking them.

Major Risks and Opportunities in Each Field, Impact on Business Activities

  Risks Opportunities
Human Rights and Labor
  • Damage to public reputation
  • Litigation risk from workplace harassment
  • Difficulty in recruitment/retention of staff
  • Reduced productivity/motivation
  • Production and other impacts due to disasters/pandemics, etc.
  • Sustained business development
  • Improved diversity and employee productivity
  • Global business development
  • Creation of innovation
  • Transfer of expertise and skills, etc.
Product Responsibility
  • Damage to brand value
  • Loss of customer trust, etc.
  • Increased trust from customers and public
  • Enhancement of brand power
  • Sustained competitiveness, etc.
Social Contribution
  • Contraction of global market
  • Shortage of next-generation labor, etc.
  • Ongoing development of local communities
  • Acquisition of next-generation labor
  • Building trust with local community
  • Enhancement of brand image
  • Cultural support, sports sponsorship, etc.


  • GRI102-11
  • GRI102-15
  • GRI103-1
  • GRI103-2

Human Rights and Labor

At Canon, we believe that measures to enable employees with varied backgrounds and value perspectives to utilize their abilities while also boosting productivity are important aspects of ensuring Canon’s continued development and growth as an enterprise. Across the Canon Group, we are working to create workplaces based on mutual respect that exhibit diversity in terms of nationality, race and cultural background, and where everyone feels secure and is empowered to reach their full potential. We also have programs in place to support the health of employees.

The global community has high expectations of companies upholding human rights, as seen in international standards such as the UN’s “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” and “International Labor Standards” as set by the International Labor Organization (ILO), and as evidenced in the SDGs. The fact that the top item of interest in this section of the stakeholder survey was “Respect for basic human rights, prevention of discrimination and harassment” shows that this aspect of our activities remains in the spotlight. As a major corporation engaged in business globally, Canon not only seeks to improve compliance with national/ regional laws and regulations, but is also working to reinforce initiatives that underpin respect for the rights of employees, based on the regulations of Group companies.

Moreover, under Phase VI of the Excellent Global Corporation Plan that began in 2021, we are focused on supporting the development of a workforce with diverse capabilities and perspectives that is aligned with our business portfolio. Besides upgrading Canon’s internal education and training systems, we aim to promote consistent growth by ensuring every individual employee is motivated to act as a positive force within the organization through internal transfers that put the right person in the right job.

Product Responsibility

For manufacturers, quality issues that affect customer safety can have a significant impact on business, including negative business performance due to brand erosion and loss of customer trust. Conversely, our recipe for strong enterprise growth is to supply products that meet customer needs, offer high quality and added value, and are easy to use, while also constantly working to develop innovative technologies for our time.

Canon’s basic quality concept is to ensure that customers have “no claim, no trouble,” and we work hard to ensure “Canon Quality” throughout the entire Group. In line with this creed, we created a quality management system that follows the requirements of international standards, and we strive to improve quality across the entire product lifecycle, from planning and development to production and aftersales service. In the area of safety in particular, along with establishing in-house product safety technical standards that are stricter than regulatory requirements in each country and region, we created a system for gathering comments and requests from Canon users worldwide, which we share with relevant divisions, as a means to improve our products and ensure safety.

Additionally, we are working to promote the development of Canon products with an emphasis on usability by ensuring customers worldwide can use them easily and with confidence. These initiatives include designing product manuals to make them easier to understand and adopting Universal Design principles in product development.

Social Contribution

The spirit of contributing to society has been a part of Canon’s corporate culture since our foundation. We believe in returning profits to local communities by investing in various activities such as support for those affected by disasters; funding for education and academic scholarships; and the sponsorship of cultural, artistic and sporting events. Contributing to solutions to local issues not only helps to enhance trust in Canon as a company, but is also essential to the sustainable development of society.

Based on this approach, and in line with the Canon Group CSR Activity Policy, Canon seeks to develop Group operational sites by engaging in activities tailored to the characteristics and issues of different regions worldwide. In doing so, we draw on Group resources in our areas of strength, such as advanced technological capabilities, global business deployment expertise, and diverse, specialized human resources. Additionally, in terms of supporting development of the next generation, Canon supports the Children’s Rights and Business Principles developed by the UN Global Compact, and engages in social contribution activities to help protect the rights of children.

Relevant Guidelines

  • The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) International Labour Standards
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
  • Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • ISO 26000
  • Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) Charter of Corporate Behavior

Relationship with SDGs

Our activities in the field of “Responding to People and Society as a Good Corporate Citizen” are closely related to achievement of the SDGs outlined below.

Human Rights and Labor
Product Responsibility
Social Contribution
  • Quality Management
  • Ensuring Product Safety
  • Improving Product Usability