Japanese eyes in Europe (2) — Author’s pick at the Geneva Motor Show 2014

The 84th Geneva International Motor Show was a good opportunity to discover a number of “what’s new”. I’m not particularly a car lover but the show offered many things that satisfied my curiosity.

Please share with me my picks of the day.

View of Hall4, that hosted major Japanese brands.

1. Electric cars, Audi

I saw for the first time a car that receives the power source from its front nose (photos below). In the car, batteries are laid out under your feet. This signals that the shift of the power source of the car will change its design, structure, drivers’ habit to charge energy, location of energy supply, knowledge needed for garages, and more.

Taking the power source from the front.
Taking the power source from the front.
Loaded with batteries.
Loaded with batteries.

2. Autonomous drive – A half-way through to a robot, Nissan

It’s a dream!

Your car drives itself for you (Photos below). Moreover, the car controls its own movement and position in relation to other cars on the road to ensure the safety.

And this dream is under development in Nissan in Japan.  Market launch is planned in 2020, a bit far from now but it’s OK.

The secrets are a number of small cameras and sensors attached to the car. These are the sources of the car’s intelligence. It’s a robot that moves autonomously, rather than a vehicle operated by huma beings.

Autonomous drive, a near robot car.
Autonomous drive, a near robot car.
A car with sensors and cameras.
A car with sensors and cameras.

3. Home charger, Toyota Prius

That is true! We request CO2 free cars. We welcome electric and hybrid cars as a solution. Our society however must install power supply infrastructure that feed those eco-cars. It’s a big task that requires time & investment.

Toyota’s solution is the “Home charger”, which allows you to supply electricity to your car at home. “Home charger” is sold in a package with Prius.

Home charger packaged with Prius (Toyota).
Home charger packaged with Prius (Toyota).

4. Wheel chair access to the stands, Nissan and Honda

Last but not the least, as far as I saw, only Nissan and Honda’s stands were designed to facilitate visitors on the wheel chair and families with baby buggies. Slopes to step in the exhibition space are sign posted with a wheel chair symbol.

Bravo for attention to diversity of customers!

Nissan. A slope and signpost.
Nissan. A slope and signpost.
Honda. A slope is also prepared and sign posted.
Honda. A slope is also prepared and sign posted.

Author’s pick of the day! = Autonomous Drive, Nissan

Special Prize for customer focus =  Nissan and Honda for slopes for wheel chairs

CSR Report Review – NEC

Review of CRS reports was one of the assignment during the CSR course of the University of Geneva.

I have selected NEC, a major company in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in Japan.

(Note: The information I used for the review is the one posted at the company’s web site in February, 2011.)

NEC has a solid tradition in integrating CSR in its corporate vision. When evaluated against the fifteen benchmarks used at the course work, the report was found to fulfill most of criteria to be transparent and responsible.

Next challenge of CSR for NEC would be to involve stakeholders in its overseas operations. This may neccesitate to include in the stake holders NGOs working on various social values, such as human rights and the environment.

Globalisation of corporate activities inevitably requires CSR professionals to assess how much and in what ways the spirit of CSR is exercised outside the home country. This is a challenge even to those companies with best CSR practice. I would expect too see what new history of CSR would NEC create outside Japan.

My presentation at the CSR course is available here.

CSR in the Information Society — Web Accessibility in Europe and Japan

Why are good things adopted so slowly? — Analysis of fresh voice from various stakeholders, and recommendations to fill a gap between what should happen and what is happening. 

Key words

Web accessibility, the Web, WCAG, Information Society, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), the elderly, people with disabilities, aging of society, Europe, Japan, voluntary standards


Ongoing changes in society towards the Information Society have given rise to new challenges with reference to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  This paper focuses on web accessibility as a responsibility of corporations and discusses practical ways to ensure that websites, “the Web” hereafter, be made accessible to all the readers, including the elderly and people with disabilities.

The United Nations (the UN) recognises Web access as a basic human right in the Information Society, and Governments in major economies endorse it.  On the technical side, a set of high quality voluntary standards has been established by a group of experts.  Despite this backing, implementation of web accessibility has been slow in practice.  There is a gap between what should happen and what it is happening.  Why are good ideas adopted slowly?

To gain a better insight into today’s reality, its barriers and opportunities, the author interviewed web owners and experts, who are promoting web accessibility in Europe and in Japan, which has led to a number of recommendations for action to all stakeholders.

* This paper has been prepared as a course requirement for the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Corporate Social Responsibility, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2011

The full paper is available from here.