First, I would like to express my sincerest condolences to the families and friends of those who have lost their lives due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and my profound sympathies to those that are suffering from it. I would also like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the medical professionals and others dedicated to stopping the spread of infection.
“Never ever stop the energy supply.” This is the phrase that immediately came to mind as the CEO as the COVID-19 outbreak began, and the slogan that I shared with all Group employees. I think that we as a utility company have three duties to meet in unusual or emergency situations, beyond just this ongoing pandemic, to ensure that all customers can lead normal lives.
The first is the duty we have as an energy provider that supplies electric power in addition to gas. Our Group supplies gas and electricity not only to general households but to medical institutions, public facilities, factories and other facilities that cannot close down. We have a responsibility to stably supply energy, even during emergencies like the one we are now experiencing. To fulfill this responsibility, we must procure raw materials without disruption, safely produce gas and electric power and thoroughly maintain and manage our supply and safety systems under any circumstances. These are the greatest, fundamental duties that we must meet as an energy supplier. Lifeval, the outlets of Tokyo Gas, have to serve customers using gas and electric power at home.Gaslight 24 bases must deal with a gas leak on site. I feel grateful for the staff of our Group, for their contribution to the stable supply of energy despite the mounting strain on themselves and their families.
The second duty is a social responsibility that we have as a corporate citizen to build a community where people can live safely, without worries. The current pandemic has caused many people to experience financial difficulties. Our Group has swiftly introduced a special measure extending bill payment due dates by up to three months for our customers who are having temporary difficulties making bill payments. To aid households experiencing financial difficulties, we donated food to food banks. We also provided 15,000 N95 face masks that we had stockpiled for a novel influenza to medical workers. We are thus carrying out support activities positively.
And the third duty is our responsibility to increase corporate value as a public stock company. We will not stop the implementation of our management vision, Compass 2030, or the FY 2020 - 2022 Medium-Term Management Plan And the third duty is our responsibility to increase corporate value as a public stock company. We will not stop the implementation of our management vision Compass 2030, or the FY2020 -2022 Medium-Term Management Plan as well as presenting our Group policies to stakeholders and gaining their understanding. While there are obstacles to business operations amid the outbreak, our employees are making diligent efforts to disclose information, including the publication of our Sustainability Report.
As I have mentioned, the current business environment is very harsh and uncertain for reason of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our Group's management vision Compass 2030 and the new Medium-Term Management Plan for FY2020 to 2022 formulated in March 2020 referred to our awareness of changes in market environment in the medium to long-term future. This view has not been changed. Rather, it is anticipated that the changes will speed up.
In the past, when our group formulated its long-term management vision, it had a forecast for the coming 10 years. For the latest vision, we started by foreseeing the situation 20 to 30 years into the future, and carried out backcasting from that future time to identify the things we should be doing now. Ten years from now, natural gas fired thermal power generation and natural gas as its fuel will have a greater role to play in line with the expansion of renewable energy, since it can make up for variation in the output of renewable energy power generation methods that depend on weather conditions. However, we thought that if we had only thought of the target for 10 years from now, the resulting plan would have failed to deal with the social change that will occur beyond that time, in the form of decarbonization.
We have selected four words starting with the letter D as key terms that represent changes in the business environment and in the trends of the times that we project. We believe that we cannot picture the future of our company without devising measures to address these four D challenges.
The first is Decarbonization. Today, society seeks decarbonization as well as low carbonization. In Japan as well, there are increasing discussions about whether it is really appropriate for businesses to merely seek low carbon emissions and whether they need to aim for decarbonization in the future. It is the top priority challenge for us. We have made it clear how our Group will respond to this demand.
The second is Digitalization. This change is gaining momentum. In recent years, some companies started to disruptively change society and the economy using the latest digital technologies. In the future, similar moves will emerge in the energy sector as well. Our Group has the policy of strongly pushing ahead with digitalization.
The third is Diversity, particularly in value. Many customers are no longer in favor of the conventional mass production of single items. They now choose items that are matched to their own sense of value. Meanwhile, increasingly people are happy to share goods instead of owning them. It is presumable that the way of using energy at households may change given that they can achieve self-sufficiency by effectively using renewable sources of energy, such as solar power generation, and storage batteries. Another important challenge is to address the diversification of our customers and their sense of value to improve the services of our Group.
The fourth is Deregulation. To survive the increasingly intense competition between operators, we will take actions, including the formulation of strategies involving not only our competitors but also other businesses beyond the boundaries of the industry.
Our Group launched its policy aiming Net-Zero CO2 with an eye to 2050 and beyond in our management vision Compass 2030. This created a great reaction, not only from the energy industry but also from many different business sectors. The term of Net-Zero CO2 embodies our aspiration to lead energy companies around the world, our sense of the crisis regarding the survival of companies that do not take action and see results for decarbonization and our sense of mission as an energy company. Personally, I felt obliged to provide an answer through the Management Vision to our young employees who nervously feel the changes in society and feel strongly uneasy about survival of the Tokyo Gas Group in its present state.
I see our employees as key stakeholders who invest their own lives in our Group. Personnel are the driving force behind corporate development. No matter how brilliant the vision we make is, it is personnel who carry it out. I realize that the biggest management issue is to motivate the personnel.
For our Group, dedication to the maintenance of the stable supply of energy and safety is an important part of our corporate culture that has taken root since our foundation. While it is a good thing, emphasis on protection may have led to excessive prudence regarding the changes required in the coming era of shifting paradigms.
I believe that in order for people to change, the corporate culture must change. It is the young personnel who can change the corporate culture. As these young personnel grow, the company will change significantly. Therefore, I hope that they will try many new things, even if they make mistakes. Without this progressive spirit, no company can develop.
That is why we established Engagement with Current and Future Colleagues at the end of Management Vision Compass 2030. In the process of formulating the Management Vision, we introduced two totally new approaches. One was backcasting. The other was to hold discussions with around 20 young employees. They are the closest to the future generations. They gave vigorous comments. For example, one said, "We would like to be a company achieving decarbonization," and another said, "We aspire to create new value in relationships with customers." The Management Vision declares that we will establish a value co-creation ecosystem that creates value together with customers, the local community, local governments, and business partners that include companies in different industries and venture firms.
This new attempt is based on these comments from our young employees.
In 1885, Tokyo Gas was established by Eiichi Shibusawa, the Father of Japanese Capitalism. The principles discussed in his book, Rongo to Soroban (The Analects and the Abacus), coexistence with multiple stakeholders and the balancing between social and economic value, has been passed down through the generations to us. In our history, there were tough times following the emergence of new energy and equipment. I think that we were able to maintain our business because he set a process for development. However, we must open the way towards the future ourselves and hand it down to the next generation. Through this value co-creation, we seek to help resolve wide-ranging social issues in energy, the environment, and many other fields, while contributing to the realization of the SDGs.
The Tokyo Gas Group now stands at the beginning of a “new age of innovation” towards 2030. The world has greatly changed from the spread of COVID-19. This is compelling all of us to alter our lifestyles, and has made various challenges such as urban overpopulation and the fragility of supply chains more salient. At the same time, we believe that these circumstances will likely require us to transform our social systems and daily lives by rethinking our values regarding a safe and secure way of life and our attitudes toward mental and physical health. Looking to the new age of innovation, the Tokyo Gas Group will further grow as a corporate group which continually creates value that advances social change while leading the next-generation energy industry. In doing so, our Group will contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.