Leverage the Weather for a Sustainable Future
January 1970, Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture. A cargo ship sank due to a rapidly deepening low-pressure system that struck Onahama Port. Fifteen precious lives were lost. The forecasting technology at the time was incapable of predicting such a cyclone, meaning that the sailors had no way to prepare for what was coming.
"Had truly useful weather information been provided sufficiently, this accident could have been prevented."
This incident changed the life of company founder Hiro Ishibashi, who advanced the private weather forecasting industry by establishing Weathernews Inc. in 1986.
Nowadays, we are witnessing extreme weather caused by climate change, such as super typhoons, heavy snowfalls occurring out of season, and raging wildfires that do not extinguish easily due to excessive dryness. Such unprecedented weather is causing the loss of precious lives and disrupting economic activities.
What has become one of the major social issues of our time is taking action to minimize the weather risks associated with climate change and mitigate the impact of disasters caused by rapid changes in weather. It is imperative that we work on mitigation of and adaptation (self-help, public assistance and mutual assistance) to climate change on the scale of the next 100 years.
Since its establishment, Weathernews has continued to tackle daily weather issues in order to protect people from weather disasters caused by the ever-intensifying climate change. With our core competencies of "Weather forecasting technology with an accuracy of 90% or more" and through application of the "world's largest weather database", we have taken on the mission to address the social issues associating with weather and climate.
Weathernews has created weather solutions together with its B to C customers. In particular, people living in areas directly affected by weather, voluntarily contribute observations under the philosophy of "sympathy and co-creation with supporters." These reports are used to provide a more detailed and precise forecast. For example, during the flood season, these volunteers, called "weather reporters", might send in photos of possible thunder clouds, which are analyzed to predict if, when and where a storm might develop. This forecast is then used to alert people in the relevant area of this possible sudden thunderstorm, which is very difficult to predict due to its unique characteristics. We believe that value creation like this will lead to solutions to the social problems that are emerging due to climate change and contribute to achieving the SDGs.
Weathernews will work with companies, individuals, and research institutions engaged in actions that contribute to the survival of the earth, create a framework for addressing climate change, and further strengthen the business and initiatives that we have cultivated along with our weather observation technology. We believe this will lead to fruitful contributions to a sustainable society.
From daily weather forecasts to measures to address climate change in the next 100 years, Weathernews will continue to pursue solutions to mitigate weather risks. We will work with supporters around the world--customers, shareholders and partners--to further value creation and resolve the major social issue of climate change, opening new doors to a sustainable and prosperous future.
Leverage the Weather for a More Sustainable Future
As a weather service company creating value through solutions centered on the weather, and in alignment with our philosophy to "help out in times of need", we aim to help realize a society in which communities, corporate activities, and the global environment are all sustained sufficiently.
In light of important social issues, our business and vision, we identified four priority initiatives as materiality targets (key sustainability issues) we aim to solve toward building a sustainable society.
In order to create value for society through our business, we identified "Climate Change Mitigation," "Building Resilient Communities," "Technological Innovation and Partnerships," and "Diversity and Inclusion."
In addition, all our corporate activities will be built upon the key principle of "Strengthening Governance".
Using Weather Data to Help Reduce Climate Change
What is the best route and speed for a freighter from San Francisco headed for Tokyo which can secure its safety and minimize emissions? If a power company finds that sensible temperature will be higher than the previous day, what measures should they take to stabilize power provision as well as minimize the CO2 created when they generate power? We help our customers find optimum solutions to such complicated issues using AI and other state of the art forecasting technologies, which will help them to minimize environmental impact while maximizing their earnings.
We are working with partners to assess the CO2 emissions that have been reduced through these efforts to enable sustainable growth for the said industries and society.
Building Resilient Communities
Adaptation: Living with the Changes in the Weather and Climate
We monitor changes in the weather and climate and provide information to protect people, property, and the economy from natural disasters. Furthermore, we aim to help build cities where danger and damage caused by disasters can be significantly minimized, and build resilient communities that can recover swiftly after such incidents.
Technological Innovation and Partnerships
Making weather information accessible to everyone
We pursue innovation and accessibility of meteorological and climate-related technologies that sustain the economy, society, and the environment to provide useful weather information to those who need it.
Diversity and Inclusion
Sharing the Passion and Working together
We provide opportunities for fair and equal employment as well as career development to help each individual leverage their talents. Regardless of gender, race, religion, or culture, we look for and work with people who share our passion in helping others and sustaining our beautiful planet.
In identifying these materiality topics, we referred to the SDG Compass issued by the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative), the United Nations Global Compact, and the WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development), as well as consulted with external specialists.
Basic Approach to Corporate Governance
Our management philosophy is to realize “value creation for supporters” by utilizing the diverse talents in the company, and by exchanging information with all stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, officers, and staff, keenly aware that we are open to the market, and making effort to maximize medium- to long-term corporate and shareholder value. In alignment of our philosophy to “help out in times of need”, we believe that our mission is to help realize a society in which not only human society and corporate activities, but also the global environment is sustained.
Another important philosophy for us is "transparency," for which we proactively disclose information beyond what is set forth by law, including our corporate philosophies, culture, business strategies, business models, and vision for future value creation. By demonstrating our fundamental approach to corporate value, we aim to earn the trust of supporters and work together to increase corporate value on a medium- to long-term.
Weathernews has an Audit and Supervisory Board. Based on the basic approach to corporate governance described above, the Board of Directors, consisting of directors well versed in the company's business, as well as independent outside directors, makes important business decisions in an appropriate and timely manner and oversees business operations in the company. The Audit and Supervisory Board is legally authorized to audit the performance of directors and reinforce supervision over the management with fairness and independence. We believe that the above-mentioned system ensures managerial effectiveness, fairness, and transparency and contributes to achieving sound and sustainable growth.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors consists of internal directors, well versed in our business, and independent outside directors for "managerial effectiveness, fairness and transparency." The Board makes important business decisions in an appropriate and timely manner as well as oversees business execution in the company. An executive officer system has been adopted to help the Board execute and supervise business operations effectively and efficiently, as well as oversee the business operation duties delegated to executive officers. The Audit and Supervisory Board members attend the meetings of the Board of Directors from an independent standpoint to monitor decision-making procedures and oversee the execution of director duties.
In order to ensure a good balance in knowledge, experience, ability and the diversity of our Board of Directors, we implement a skill matrix for selecting directors. At least one third of our Board of Directors consist of external directors with experience as corporate executives and expertise in a specific area.
Audit and Supervisory Board
The Audit and Supervisory Board is comprised by members who have deep insight into the business operations of the WNI Group and independent members with superior expertise. The Audit and Supervisory Board conducts operational and accounting audits of the duties executed by the Directors from a fair and independent standpoint. By enhancing the supervision function, they ensure the effectiveness, fairness and transparency of the management and contribute to the sound and sustainable growth of the company.
The Audit and Supervisory Board consists of no more than four members, and an alternate member may be appointed in case any vacancies occur, and the number of auditors falls short of legal requirement.
Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee
Nomination CommitteeAs an advisory body to the Board of Directors, this committee comprehensively evaluates any candidates for directors, Audit and Supervisory Board members, and executive officers as presented by the Board of Directors, in terms of their performance capabilities, character, etc., and reports the result to the Board.
As an advisory body to the Board of Directors, this committee evaluates the proposed system and amount of remuneration for the directors and executive officers as presented by the Board of Directors. Based on the competence and performance of each director and executive officer in regards to their position and responsibility, they make and report the evaluation to the Board.
Nomination CommitteeThe Nomination Committee is comprised by two directors (external), two Audit and Supervisory Board members (external), one representative director (internal), and two Audit and Supervisory Board members (internal).
Remuneration CommitteeThe Remuneration Committee is comprised by two directors (external), two Audit and Supervisory Board members (external), and two Audit and Supervisory Board members (internal).
Evaluation of Executive Performance
We respect the initiative of our staff by allowing them to determine their objectives, tasks, and specific challenges within the scope of their area of responsibility and in alignment with the company's business. This principle is called My & My Colleague Leader (MMCL), indicating an entrepreneur who leads colleagues by example. Officers and staff are encouraged to declare and share their targets and goals with others, whereby each person's performance is evaluated.
Performance evaluations are managed and confirmed in the Matrix Management Meeting (MMM) held quarterly by officers and leaders for company-wide assessment with objective perspective of the market. Staff are also evaluated for any unreached goals, because we believe in evaluation including the process taken and not just results, which leads to high transparency and persuasiveness.
Establishment of an Internal Control System
We have established and implemented an internal control system based on the "Basic Policy on the Establishment of an Internal Control System" resolved at a Board of Directors meeting.
Code of Conduct
Weathernews believes that the value of weather information lies in "protecting human lives and property," and our mission is to provide such information. In order to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society and to continue to be a company that is trustworthy to society, all executives and staff of the Weathernews Group must recognize the importance of and take action to fulfill our social responsibilities.
In order to meet our social obligation and achieve sustainable growth and development, we have formulated the following Code of Conduct that clarifies the standard by which each Weathernews person should abide. This mindset will help enhance the value of our company, shareholders, and weather content, as well as contribute to building a prosperous society that coexists with nature.
In addition, to ensure that each staff understands this Code of Conduct sufficiently, the following initiatives are being taken:
1) Conduct annual training on the Code of Conduct for all staff.
･Ensure that each staff member has a thorough understanding of the Code of Conduct and applies it in their work.
･Promote understanding of harassment.
･Promote understanding of what to do in case of harassment and where to go for help.
2) Established "Pit in Spot," an organization where staff can seek help if they see or become a victim of any behavior that violates the Code of Conduct. It also serves as a hotline for reporting any cases of whistle-blowing.
･There are four functions to Pit in Spot: a) provide consultation in regards to physical and mental health; b) provide consultation about work and workstyles; c) provide opportunities to refresh the body and mind with fellow staff; and d) provide opportunities for learning with fellow staff (English conversation, Japanese conversation, etc.).
･Hotline: An external contact to which staff can report with anonymity and maintain personal protection. They can either call or send an email to the contact.
Coexist with Nature
In 2018, approximately 60 million peopleᶤ around the world were affected by extreme weather related to climate change, causing many to lose homes and even lives. Addressing climate change has become a pressing challenge for the survival of humankind. Reducing CO2 emissions is one of the important themes for mitigating climate change, towards which countries, companies, and individuals around the world are working to address. However, due to the scale and uncertainty of the matter, it is difficult to assess how effective these efforts are.
Weather forecasting begins with an accurate observation of the actual situation. Good observation data will help make reliable forecasts with which people can take concrete and effective actions, such as deciding whether they should take an umbrella with them or put snow chains on vehicles. We believe that the first step in mitigating climate change is to understand the earth's vital signs appropriately. This will help each one of us think of actions that can be taken now to build a sustainable society leading to a better future.
Our shipping weather service team provides information to about 10,000 ships--equivalent to about half the world's large vessels--and each ship carries devices onboard with which we collect information on wave height, wind strength, and engine speed every few hours. By analyzing this information, we are able to make highly accurate weather forecasts and suggest the safest and most fuel-efficient routes and engine speeds, thereby helping to reduce approximately 2.8 million MT of CO2 emissions per year.
We believe that by understanding the current condition, taking appropriate actions, and visualizing how much environmental impact was reduced, nations, corporations, and individuals around the world can make a deeper commitment to help mitigate environmental impact and accelerate such efforts. In order to do this, many stakeholders, including governments, corporations, universities, and individuals, need to work in strong partnership and put their heads together. There will also be a need to build new observation networks and platforms for collecting information specific for measuring CO2 and environmental changes, as well as help each person realize that climate change mitigation is an issue they need to tackle and engage in as a personal responsibility.
Since our first days, Weathernews has collected weather data from around the world, developed proprietary weather analysis and forecasting technology, and even deployed unique observation infrastructure, such as weather observation satellites. We also work with approximately 2,500 companies around the world, as well as with the many individual supporters who send us over 180,000 reports daily through our interactive platform. By combining these experiences and strengths, we will take on the challenge of visualizing the current status of the global environment as an important step to mitigating climate change.
For example, the earth's current condition could be monitored real time if satellites could constantly observe the amount of CO2 and weather changes from space. Another effective method would be to mount monitors for collecting CO2 concentration data onto all ships and aircrafts in the world, making it possible to measure and access the data for CO2 concentration and atmospheric conditions from anywhere and at any time. In addition, we continue to collaborate with other entities to conduct research on weather modification with the aim of mitigating natural disasters, such as heavy rain and lightning strikes caused by extreme weather. Such research is being conducted by using cutting edge science and technology, as well as careful consideration to the natural and delicate balance of the entire planet.
Weathernews has been and will continue to be the top runner in raising global awareness on the current status of the global environment and helping people take action today and tomorrow to realize a sustainable future for the next century and beyond.
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