What is Global Citizenship? By Naoki Inoue

naoki     I focused on a global company which is one of the members of global citizenship. I had a thought of gaining something through the history of Toyota. How has this company adopted to the changing of social needs? Why do we need to think about global citizenship? Our resources are limited and it’s essential to conserve them for human survival. Corporate growth is linked to the global crisis. We have to think about the way of coexistence with the Earth as a global citizen.
First, I would like to trace the history of Toyota. Toyota was established in 1933 by Sakichi Toyota. Since then, their history can be divided into major 3 steps in a success story. The first step is during the time after World War II to the 1970’s. Their corporate objective was to get a domestic sales share of No.1 with their hi-standard technologies. And they were eager to make the image that they had the fastest car. So they had an early entrance into motorsports in the 1950’s. However, the people at that time in Japan didn’t need a fast car but a cheap car that anybody could buy. They changed their policy to develop a low-end car with good quality in order to supply market needs.
The second step is from the 1980’s to the 1990’s. Their share accounted for No1 in the domestic market in the early the 1980’s. Their next object was to get the top share worldwide, especially in Europe and the USA. They had to adapt to global standards, the resource of materials, the system for fund-raising, the promotion of their cars, the response to market needs in each country, etc..
They caught up with the BIG 3, Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler, in the 1990’s. Toyota’s strength was the “kamban” system which is the production method for optimizing component procurement timing. It could realize that their inventories of cars were cut down to almost zero. And then, it brought their debt for asset management to be clear at minimum. They knew what the best way to cut waste in such as rapid transitional market was. On the other hand, they had to consider global citizenship. The resources for making cars are limited on the Earth. What moves cars? What do cars consist of? Why do people need cars? These basic questions made them take new developments and new activities for the environment.
Finally, they have entered third step from 2000 to the present. They developed a hybrid car that combines an electric motor with a gasoline engine. It has better fuel efficiency and lower gas emissions compared to a conventional car. Behind this background, there was constantly raising of oil price in a past decade. It needed to develop an alternative energy resource to oil for Japan which country owns little oil. However, It was difficult for Toyota to radicate this concept of the eco-car in people because it was more expensive than conventional cars. People might prefer a functional and reasonable car to a compact and costly eco-car for some time in the future.
In my opinion, it seems that many Japanese people are gradually getting a sense of values for protecting the environment after huge earthquake in 2011. At that time, we could have a temporally experience in no food, no clothes and no stuffs. Those experiences let us know the importance of resource, energy and life. These are limited, and it’s essential to conserve them for human survival.
According to WWF report on May 16, 2012, Two Earths will be needed to sustain the world population by 2030. (WWF; World Wide Fund for Nature, http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/341636/20120516/two-earths-consumption-wwf-living-planet-report.htm)
If companies go on like these lifestyle based on large-scale production, mass consumption, and mass disposal, global crisis must be inevitable.
As you may have already noticed from the history of Toyota, many global companies are confronted with the threat of lack of resources for their products including energy. It might happen the food crisis in the near future, too.
We have to escape these negative spirals of the circle, change our mind to get the way of coexistence with the Earth for our children and their children…as a global citizen. Global citizenship is the right of all the people live on Earth.

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