Focus Areas and Key Challenges

Background for Identifying Material Issues

In January 2019, the Asahi Group reformed its previous management philosophy and enforced it as the new Asahi Group Philosophy. With its enforcement, the Asahi Group decided to aim for its growth into a new stage by renewing the content of the Medium-Term Management Policy, which has been in force since 2016.
The acquisition of a business in Europe prepared the foundations for developing businesses globally. At the same time, however, the business acquisition means that the Asahi Group may face risks it has never experienced before. Moreover, the move made it necessary for the Asahi Group to once again review initiatives for raising its social value from the viewpoints of original strengths and competiveness.
In view of these conditions in the background, the Asahi Group reviewed material issues. The Asahi Group has been working to promote sustainability based on focus areas and key challenges that were established in January 2019.
In formulating these areas and challenges, the Asahi Group took factors such as recent social conditions, sustainable development goals (SDGs) and other international frameworks, various environment, social and governance (ESG) surveys, ESG-related guidelines and global risks into consideration on the basis of the content of the Asahi Group Philosophy and the Medium-Term Management Policy.

Processes for Identifying Material Issues

1Picking Out Candidates for Material Issues

As the first step, the Asahi Group clarified the items necessary for achieving the state it seeks to reach based on references such as the Asahi Group Philosophy and the Medium-Term Management Policy. After doing so, the Asahi Group made a list of candidates for material challenges, taking recent social conditions, various ESG surveys, the GRI Standard and other ESG-related guidelines and risk-related information, such as the Global Risk Report published by the World Economic Forum (WEF), into consideration.



Management Policy


Requests from society

  • GRI
  • SASB
  • FTSE4Good
  • Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes
  • MSCI

As the second step, the Asahi Group mapped the identified candidates for material issues from the viewpoints of their importance to society, stakeholders and the Asahi Group and clarified the candidates it should work on ahead of others.

2Rating and Analyzing Candidates for Material Issues

The Asahi Group examined the listed candidates closely by rating and analyzing them from two viewpoints – the elimination of the negative impact and the expansion of the positive impact.

  • Elimination of negative impact: promoting countermeasures for various changes in external conditions globally as risk management in a broad sense
  • Expansion of positive impact: strengthening initiatives for generating values and creating shared values (CSVs) that make the most of the Asahi Group's strengths

3Evaluating Adequacy

Asahi Group Holdings' management team members evaluated the adequacy of material issues through discussions they had at management strategy meetings from the viewpoint of “stepping up ESG initiatives,” which is one of the priority issues established in the Medium-Term Management Policy.

4Identifying and Updating Material Issues

Through the processes described above, the Asahi Group identified a total of 18 material issues as key challenges. It arranged risk management items that should be emphasized for developing businesses globally into three fields of activities - “Environment,” “Human rights and human resources management” and “Responsible business practice.” The Asahi Group also stipulated five challenges for items that contribute to solving social issues in the focus area of “Value creation utilizing strengths of the Asahi Group.”
The Asahi Group is implementing the PDCA cycle by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for the respective challenges and assessing achievements periodically.

Key Sustainability Challenges and the Initiatives and KPI
Focus AreasKey ChallengesSocial Challenges /
Assumed Risk
(KPIs apply to all group companies unless specified otherwise.)
Eliminating the negative impact


Responding to climate change Global warming, Extreme weather, Natural disasters
  • Aim for zero CO2 emissions (Asahi Carbon Zero) by 2050 *Efforts starting in domestic businesses
  • Aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% (compared to 2015) by 2030 *Domestic business
Ensuring stable procurement of materials Resource depletion
  • Aim for 100% sustainable procurement of materials by 2050 *Efforts starting in domestic businesses
  • Aim for 100% sustainable packaging by 2050 *Efforts starting in domestic businesses
  • Use recycled PET bottles and environment-friendly plant-derived materials, etc. for 60% of the total volume of plastic packaging (PET bottles, labels, caps, plastic bottles)by 2030. (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
Promoting sustainable water resources Water-resource depletion
  • Aim for 100% sustainable water-resource usage by 2050 *Efforts starting in domestic businesses
  • Achieve water neutrality at domestic beer factories by 2025
Circulating resources and preventing pollution Resource depletion, Environmental pollution
  • Promote recycling of by-products and waste
    * Domestic business
Providing environmentally and socially responsible products Global warming, Resource depletion, Environmental pollution
  • Reduce weight, simplify packaging, and promote use of recycled materials
  • Aim to reduce the volume of plastic packaging by using label-less bottles, etc. (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
  • Promote research and development of non-plastic packaging and new environment-friendly materials, etc. (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)

Human rights and human resources management

Developing human resources Shortage of human resources, Securing human resources
  • Enhance human capital by utilizing the Engagement Survey
  • Set up a global succession meeting by 2021
Enhancing diversity Lack of diversity
  • Achieve the major group companies' targets for female-officer appointment and managerial ratios
Upholding respect for human rights Human-rights abuses
  • Formulate the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles in 2019
  • Launch and implement human-rights due diligence by 2021

Responsible business practice

Supply-chain management Environmental burden, Human-rights abuses, Quality risk, Regulatory violations
  • Refine the management system in supplier CSR procurement
  • Revise CSR procurement policies in accordance with the Asahi Group Philosophy in 2019
Securing food safety and reliability Concerns about food quality
  • Eliminate deficit accidents by improving the Group's quality-assurance system
  • Develop quality-assurance technologies by introducing advanced technologies
Promoting responsible drinking Negative health effects of harmful drinking, etc.
  • Execute the Global Industry Commitment (IARD Producers' commitments)
  • Promote efforts to reduce harmful drinking
  • Expand the non- and low-alcohol portfolio
Pursuing social responsibility through products and services Food-driven QOL improvements in mature society
  • Further develop the nutritious-conscious and health-conscious portfolio (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
  • Further develop the reduced-salt portfolio (Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
  • Increase use of nursing food by improving awareness (Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
  • Grasp the social impact of delivery lesson services such as those conducted by CALPIS Children's Lactobacilli Laboratory, Mitsuya Cider Classroom for the Future of Water and the Environment (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
  • Hold sessions conducted by CALPIS Children's Lactobacilli Laboratory at 33 schools in 2019 (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
  • Improve employee participation in walking campaigns, using a “point program” developed as an employee-health measure (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
  • Promote acquisition of “lactobacilli master” (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd.)
  • Achieve an attendance of 60,000 at “Wakodo Nutrition Consultation” in 2019 (Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
Reducing food loss Increase of business waste
  • Achieve the business companies' goals for product-disposal expenses (Asahi Breweries, Ltd., Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
  • Expand the range of items that show expirations of only “month and year” (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
Increasing the positive impact

Value creation utilizing strengths of the Asahi Group

Resolving social issues through new drinking opportunities Negative health effects of harmful drinking, etc.
  • Extend non- and low-alcohol beers in the portfolio, doubling sales revenue by 2021 (Asahi Europe Ltd.)
  • Expand the proportion of non-alcohol beers in the portfolio by 5% of volume by 2021 (Asahi Breweries Europe Ltd.)
Providing products utilizing yeast and lactic acid bacteria Food-driven QOL improvements in mature society
  • Start selling functional food using lactic acid bacteria by 2021 (Asahi Soft Drinks Co., Ltd., Asahi Group Foods, Ltd.)
Developing products with reduced sugar Food-driven QOL improvements in mature society
  • Make 90% of the non-alcohol portfolio (by volume) no-, low-, or reduced-sugar by 2025 (Asahi Holdings (Australia) Pty Ltd.)
  • Develop the no- and low-sugar portfolio by 2021 (Etika Beverages Sdn. Bhd.)
Expanding health-based business and business that contributes to a recycling-based society Concerns about food safety/security
  • Reduce quantity of feed grain needed to rear livestock by 2.5 million tons by expanding sales of CALPSPORIN.
    Based on the total sales of CALPSPORIN over the three years to 2021, conduct a trial calculation of the reduction of the quantity of feed grain used. The reduction of the quantity of feed grain is calculated from the feed efficiency (in-company research) through the use of CALPSPORIN. (Asahi Calpis Wellness Co., Ltd.)
Resolving Social Issues in the Agricultural Field through Agricultural Materials Using Yeast Cell Wall Concerns about food safety/security
  • Achieve business growth as a CSV business operator (Asahi Biocycle Co., Ltd.)

The Progress of Previous Key Challenges

The progress of Key Challenges prior to 2019 are as follows.

Focus AreasKey ChallengesKPIs 2018
Food and Health Responsible Drinking Aim to distribute over 50,000 copies of educational tools for primary school students throughout 2018 and make use of feedback on said tools in activities going forward
Food Safety and Reliability Achieve an average score of 90 points or higher (out of atotal of 100 points) customer questionnaires*
*This questionnaire is for certain customers who havesubmitted comments on the products of Asahi Breweries, Ltd.
Health and Nutrition Engage in dialogue with over 100,000 participants in 2018 through Wakodo Nutrition Consultations
The Environment Climate Change Formulate a new environmental vision during 2018 and release it in 2019
Recycling-based Society
People and Society Human Resource Development and Diversity Continue efforts to achieve the targets for the ratio of female managers set at each major Group company
Healthy and Affluent Society In keeping with the policy of the 1% Club established by Keidanren (Japan Business Federation), pledge to spend around 1% of core operating profit on social contribution activities
Sustainable Water Resources Formulate a new environmental vision during 2018 and release it in 2019
Sustainable Supply Chains Report the results of the Supplier CSR Survey, which will be carried out again in 2018, to the individual companies that submitted responses