Adamant Namiki’s Long-Term Commitment to Work on SDGs
By President and CEO Riyako Namiki
From this month, I would like to discuss my thoughts on topics related to SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).
Recently, we have often heard the word “SDGs” in a variety of news media. SDGs refer to a set of 17 global goals to achieve a sustainable and better world during a period from 2016 and 2030. The objectives were endorsed by the United Nation and its 193 member countries and none of the objectives are hastily crafted. The agenda includes poverty eradication, quality education, gender equality and other goals, for which various initiatives have been proposed.
Since its foundation in 1939, Orbray Co. has also been making various efforts to become an enterprise that can sustain for 100 years. Though there didn’t exist the word “SDGs” in those days, our company has tried to realize the values underlining SDGs.
For example, Adamant Namiki opened a nursery facility within the company, named Jardin (“a garden” in French). It also offered after-work subsidized classes for flower arrangement, cooking and dressmaking for female employees, named Wakakusa Gakuen (Greengrass School). The company has also planted trees in Thailand, the location of our overseas factory, and opened a winter-ski school for employees’ children.
Jardin, the nursery school, was established in 1969 to help recruit female employees. In those days, there were many housing complexes in the Shinden area of Adachi Ward in Tokyo, where Adamant Namiki’s head office is located. Many young families with small children lived in those complexes. Jardin enabled the region’s mothers to put their children in daycare while they worked. I believe the project was a progressive corporate social responsibility action and it was very much appreciated by people in the area.
I had wanted to know how Kazu Namiki, the company founder and my grandfather, was motivated to start the projects contributing to the company’s employees and the region. So, I interviewed Shoji Namiki, who is the current advisor of Adamant Namiki and Kazu’s successor. Following is what I heard from Shoji, who is my father:
Kazu had always sought the happiness of his family and employees. At the age of 12, Kazu entered the business of jewel-polishing to support his five siblings because his father was out of work. Kazu maintained that the secret of success is to work sincerely and assumed a strict attitude to employees. Even so, he was gentle at the bottom of his heart and always hoped to make employees better off.
Kazu also liked new thing very much. He attempted to catch information quicker than others and tried to put it in practice as soon as possible. He was a man of great enterprise, not only in the field of business.
“The age of women working outside the home is coming,” he said and created a comfortable work environment for female workers. After watching the Winter Olympic Games in Sapporo in 1972, Kazu predicted that more and more Japanese people would enjoy sports and he provided Adamant Namiki employees with opportunities to play sports.
As part of such efforts, Kazu opened a recreational facility for the company’s employees in 1972, dubbed Chalet Namiki, in Echigo Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture, which is a major ski resort in Japan. In the following year, he launched a winter ski school there for employees’ children and took care of the youth at the end of the year, which was a busy season for their parents. Their lessons and accommodations were free of charge. The first principal of the school was my grandmother, who was succeeded by my mother. I assumed the position between 2009 and 2014. Chalet Namiki also offered to children the programs such as summer camps, rice-planting, rice-cropping, golf and soccer lessons. The facility enabled the children to share moving experiences for years.
According to Shoji, Kazu was eager to share the activities he found enjoyable with others and this concept lay beneath the all activities at Chalet Namiki. I think the philosophy was passed onto Shoji, the second president. Kazu, however, believed what’s fun for him must be the same for everyone and he sometimes overdid it and inconvenienced others.
In December 2020, Chalet Namiki completed its mission. Even so, I will continue to respect the ambitions of Kazu and Shoji to contribute to company employees and the region. I would like to develop new initiatives to realize their goals.
SDGs are for the future of our planet and children. These ideas aren’t necessarily foreign to Japanese people as we have saying such as “don’t waste anything”; “it’s mutual benefit,” and “don’t waste rice because each grain hosts rice spirit.” I suppose the wisdom of our ancestors has contributed to preserve beautiful natures in Aomori and Akita Prefectures, where our factories are located.
To attain the targets of SDGs, our individual efforts lead to generate a big force. For example, daily usage of reusable shopping bags helps to reduce plastic wastes. I hope we will find measures to promote SDGs without trying too hard.
Please click below to check Adamant Namiki’s efforts to promote SDGs.
- My speech at Kuroishi High School – Realizing Our Dreams through Courage and Effort
- Orbray’s Initiative for SDGs-- Orbray Registers Patented Technologies to SDGs-Support Database of U.N.
- Islander Summit Ishigaki – to Reflect on SDGs from Global Perspective
- Special Event for Children’s Summer Vacation
- Family Business Network “One Company, One Family” – a speech by Orbray’s Third-Generation President
- Adamant Namiki’s Initiative for SDGs: Mid-term Report Meeting on ‘Fro-pro’