Kubota is a Japanese tractor and heavy equipment manufacturer, initially founded in 1890 as a foundry. In 1922, it began to produce engines for the agricultural sector. In addition to tractors and agricultural equipment, Kubota develops construction machinery, water treatment equipment, air conditioning and pumps. Kubota strengthened its position in the global market with the acquisition of Norwegian manufacturer Kverneland Group in 2012, and today counts 186 consolidated companies within the group's portfolio.
Kubota operates in the agricultural inputs segment, in which it ranks 23rd out of 54. Compared to its segment’s peers and other agricultural machinery companies, Kubota performs well in the environment measurement area, although there is still considerable room for improvement. The company lags behind its segments peers on social inclusion due to a lack of disclosure on many policies and processes that show respect to human rights and ensure decent work.
Water use Kubota set a 2020 target to reduce water use per unit of production by 10% against a 2014 baseline and reports it has overshot the target, realising an actual reduction of over 20%. In addition, the company discloses evidence of a water risk assessment and discloses water consumption per production site. No new target has been disclosed yet.
Sustainable development strategy As part of its sustainability strategy, Kubota has identified priority issues related to the environment. The company discloses its process for identifying and prioritising the sustainability topics on which it has the most impact, which includes a materiality assessment. While Kubota sets targets for some of its priority issues, it has an opportunity to set targets for all. In addition, the company has an opportunity to also incorporate issues related to nutrition and social inclusion into its sustainability strategy.
Governance and accountability for sustainable development
While responsibility for the company’s sustainable development strategy lies with the environmental management strategy committee, the company has an opportunity to strengthen accountability by assigning this responsibility to its highest governance body and disclosing further information on its decision-making processes and oversight responsibilities.
The company does not disclose stakeholder engagement activities, including how it selects the stakeholders, nor an overview of the topics discussed or their outcomes.
Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions
Kubota has set targets to reduce its scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions in its Japanese and overseas operations and reports on progress against these targets annually. However, the company does not demonstrate that this target is aligned with a 1.5-degree trajectory.
Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions
Kubota reports on segments of its scope 3 GHG emissions and demonstrates a reduction over time. However, the company has an opportunity to report on all its scope 3 GHG emissions and set targets to reduce these.
Soil health and agrobiodiversity
The company does not disclose that it is developing agricultural machinery solutions that contribute to improved soil health.
Fertiliser and pesticide use
Kubota discloses evidence of developing smart farming solutions that contribute to an optimisation of fertiliser use. It has an opportunity to disclose quantitative evidence of the impact of these products, as well as to set targets to increase the share or sales of products that contribute to optimised fertiliser and/or pesticide use.
Food loss and waste
Kubota discloses evidence of developing agricultural machinery solutions that can contributes to reduced food loss, such as a sugarcane leaf remover that eliminates the need to burn the leaves, thereby reducing yield loss. Kubota has an opportunity to disclose quantitative evidence of the impact of its products, as well as to set targets to increase the share or sales of products that reduce food loss in agriculture.
Availability, accessibility and affordability of healthy foods
Kubota discloses a commitment around food security and tackling malnutrition. However, the company does not disclose evidence of relevant activities. Kubota has an opportunity to disclose commitments and activities aimed at improving the availability and accessibility of healthy and nutritious foods.
Kubota has set targets related to workforce nutrition, such as to increase the percentage of employees who maintain a healthy weight and decrease the number of employees who skip breakfast more than two times a week. However, it has an opportunity to develop this programme further to ensure the provision of healthy foods at work, nutrition-focused health checks and breastfeeding support for working mothers.
Child and forced labour
While Kubota commits to prohibit child and forced labour in its operations, it ‘requests’ business partners to comply with this. Kubota has an opportunity to disclose a policy statement requiring its suppliers to prohibit child and forced labour.
The company does not disclose that it pays its workers a living wage or requires its suppliers to do the same. Neither has it set targets to do so in the future.
Farmer and fisher productivity and resilience
Kubota commits to support the resilience and productivity of farmers and discloses evidence of activities to support them, such as providing them with access to agricultural machinery and trainings on farming techniques. However, Kubota has an opportunity to demonstrate that it is measuring the impact of its support activities and report on this externally.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators are part of the social inclusion measurement area. These indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Kubota commits to respecting the human rights of its workers. However, the company does not disclose a policy statement committing to respect the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in its operations and supply chain. The grievance mechanism Kubota provides is only available for workers in its Japanese operations and the company does not disclose how workers in other locations and third parties may raise complaints. Moreover, the company does not provide evidence of a human rights due diligence process nor disclose how it engages with affected and potentially affected stakeholders.
Kubota commits to respecting the health and safety of workers and places similar expectation on its suppliers, but does not demonstrate how it monitors suppliers nor report on the number of high-consequence injuries and fatalities in the workplace. As a signatory of the Women Empowerment Principles, Kubota is committed to gender equality. However, the company does not disclose a relevant target or report on pay gaps. No commitments and reporting on the other decent work topics – living wage, collective bargaining, working hours, and workforce diversity – were found in public domain.
Kubota commits to protecting personal data and has a privacy statement on its use. The company has a publicly available global tax policy but does not disclose its corporate income tax payments per jurisdiction. Furthermore, the company prohibits bribery and corruption in its own operations and supply chain, but does not disclose how it identifies and addresses bribery and corruption risks and incidents. No policy setting out the company’s lobbying and political engagement approach was found.