Today, the world is still grappling with the COVID-19. I sincerely hope that people will be able to return to their normal lives as soon as possible. I would also like to express, on behalf of the Meiji Group, my deep appreciation to the medical professionals and healthcare officials working on the front lines of the crisis, and to everyone involved in producing and supplying the goods and services needed by people affected by the COVID-19.
COVID-19 has brought economic hardships around the world as countries were forced to implement lockdowns, which led to business closures and sharp rises in unemployment. In response, many people have reevaluated what is important in life and have become increasingly interested in how to make the world more sustainable.
We, too, as members of the Meiji Group, hope to contribute to sustainability through our food and pharmaceuticals businesses. Ever since its founding more than a century ago, the Group has always made the most of its resources and capabilities to help communities overcome the challenges they faced. We intend to continue this tradition into the next 100 years.
With this in mind, we have positioned sustainability at the heart of our 2023 Medium-Term Business Plan. Effective from fiscal 2021, the first year of plan, we will be using a unique composite indicator named Meiji ROESG®1 to evaluate the Group's performance based on return on equity (ROE), environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, and the Group's own performance indicators. Furthermore, under our long-term environmental vision, we are stepping up efforts to reduce CO2 emissions with the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. We have also broadened the scope of the Group's ESG initiatives, including measures for building a responsible supply chain by integrating human rights and environmental considerations into procurement activities.
Our ability to accelerate these sustainability initiatives will depend on all of the Group's employees. Therefore, we are bolstering related training and educational programs while creating opportunities for employees to take part in related activities in their workplaces.
In addition, we are carrying out initiatives in line with the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact, which Meiji Holdings signed in 2019.2 The Meiji Group is collaborating with various organizations to uphold these principles, which are organized under the categories of human rights, labor, environment, and anticorruption.
Through all of these activities and initiatives, we look forward to contributing to the health and happiness of people around the world in the years ahead.