Our Perspective: Beyond Discrimination

5/20/2016 12:25:00 PM

Honda is part of many communities in America and it is our responsibility to conduct ourselves in a way that supports these communities. This support can be economic – through jobs and investment – or through community activities that express our corporate social responsibility, such as volunteering and otherwise rolling up our sleeves. At the same time, and as part of that commitment to the communities where we work and live, it is one of Honda's priorities to serve as a positive force to promote inclusion and diversity throughout our business activities.

Our position is that discrimination in any form, whether based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, is contrary to Honda's fundamental beliefs as a company. But opposing discrimination, no matter how important, does not speak strongly enough to our commitment to diversity and inclusion as a business imperative for our company.

Beyond maintaining a diverse culture and workforce, we want to ensure that Honda maintains an inclusive working environment where the richness of different ideas, backgrounds and perspectives are harnessed to create value for our customers and the communities where we do business.  We have encouraged our company's leaders to promote diversity on their teams and every Honda associate and business partner is expected to embrace and actively support diversity and the cultural richness and advantages it provides.

This is based on Honda philosophy and our belief in "Respect for the Individual" – which calls on us to bring together a diverse group of people and ideas in order to foster the kind of innovation that creates new products that enhance people's lives and enrich their communities.

The key is that we take action based on our philosophy; and we have taken steps to ensure that our actions serve as a positive force in the community, including in the state of North Carolina.

Honda has been part of the community of North Carolina for over thirty years. We employ more than 2,500 people in the state. Our first operation in North Carolina, a power equipment plant, opened in 1984. Nearly 20 years ago, we established a financial services office. During the past decade we added the World Headquarters of our aircraft company and a jet engine production facility. Recently, we announced plans to increase our investment in one of our aviation operations in North Carolina. This is critical to our business success and an important commitment to the diverse team of people who work for our company.

We have become increasingly concerned about the promulgation of a law in North Carolina that we believe is discriminatory, and that we oppose. House Bill 2 (HB 2) runs contrary to our position on discrimination, and we have encouraged state officials to take action to assure that North Carolina is a welcoming place for everyone to visit, live, work and do business.

We believe it is consistent to oppose discrimination while continuing to invest in our existing operations in North Carolina. Our investments in the state of North Carolina are not one-time events. These are existing "bricks and mortar" facilities that support the futures of good, hard-working people and communities in North Carolina and across America. So, while we continue to invest, we have expressed the urgent hope that the state's leaders will reverse course and head in the direction of tolerance and acceptance.

And when musical artists Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas – the featured performers on the 2016 Honda Civic Tour concert series – determined that they must cancel their two performances in North Carolina based on their beliefs and their opposition to HB 2, we respected their decision.

Our own workforce and customer base are quite diverse and we recognize that our commitment to diversity and inclusion is critical to their future. So, we will continue working to promote inclusion. By seeking out and respecting many different perspectives, we will achieve new innovation that will drive our future success. In turn, this will help ensure that Honda associates, suppliers, dealers and other business partners contribute positively to the communities where we operate our businesses and coexist with our neighbors.

By growing our business and our relationship with society – ALL of society – we can truly make Honda a company that society wants to exist.

Rick Schostek
Executive Vice President
Honda North America, Inc.