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Sustainability Initiatives

Respect for Human Rights

With the globalization of business practices, society is increasingly interested in the initiatives that companies take to protect human rights. The Suntory Group considers the respect for human rights of stakeholders a highly important issue and reflects it in its sustainability vision. To promote activities considering human rights, we have formulated the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy to further strengthen existing initiatives by engaging with employees and suppliers.

Human Rights Due Diligence

Organization to Promote Respect for Human Rights

The Suntory Group promotes respect for human rights globally through due diligence under the following organization. In addition, we will continue to respond to human rights issues in Japan through our Human Rights Education Promotion Committee, which consists of a central committee and Human Rights Promotion Committee members from each business location.

Promotion Organization

Promotion Process

Commitment

Formulation of the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy

The Suntory Group establishes a policy on human rights and promotes its compliance. We have established Suntory Group’s Code of Business Ethics as an internal policy and Supplier Guidelines as a policy in the supply chain.

Suntory Group Human Rights Policy

The Suntory Group's mission is "to Create Harmony with People and Nature," while enriching people’s lives, contributing to the coexistence of society and nature, and helping realize a thriving society.
The Suntory Group recognizes that it may directly or indirectly affect human rights in the course of its business activities, and in order to respect the human rights of all people involved in its business activities, the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy (Hereafter, this policy) set here will promote our efforts to respect human rights.

1.Basic thinking

As a member of society, the Suntory Group recognizes the importance of respecting human rights in all business activities. Based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) as a framework for implementation, we comply with relevant laws and regulations in each country or region where we operate, respect international standards of conduct and fully respect the following international human rights principles. We also support and respect the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact as a Global Compact signatory company.

  • United Nations (UN) International Bill of Human Rights
  • OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • ILO Tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy and ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
2.Scope

The Suntory Group applies this policy to all Suntory Group executives and employees. We also require all business partners involved in our products and services to understand and comply with this policy.

3.Responsibility for respect for human rights

The Suntory Group strives not to violate the human rights of anyone involved in its business activities, and takes appropriate measures to correct any negative impact on human rights, thereby taking responsibility for respect for human rights to build a sustainable supply chain.

4.Due Diligence & Remedy

The Suntory Group will establish a human rights due diligence system, identify its potential negative impact on human rights, and work to prevent and mitigate such negative effects. In addition, if it becomes clear that any of its business activities have directly caused negative impacts on human rights, or if indirect effects through business relations become clear, The Suntory Group will commence dialogue based on international standards through appropriate procedures.

5.Disclosure

The Suntory Group will disclose the progress and results of its efforts to respect human rights on its website, etc.

6.Dialogue

In the course of implementing this policy, the Suntory Group takes the advice of independent experts, and will diligently engage in dialogue and consultation with stakeholders.

7.Education and training

The Suntory Group provides appropriate education and training to all officers and employees so that this policy will be integrated into all business activities and implemented effectively.

8.Officer in charge

The Suntory Group will clarify the officer responsible for the implementation of this policy and ensure its effectiveness.

9.Important themes regarding human rights

The Suntory Group aims to realize a corporate group that is rewarding, respects diversity and human rights, and positions the following items based on the Suntory Group Code of Business Ethics as key themes in human rights compliance.

● Child Labor and Forced Labor

We strictly prohibit the use of child labor or other illegal labor practices in any of our corporate activities.

● Discrimination and Harassment

We will respect the rights and personalities of each individual and will eliminate any and all discrimination and harassment based on reasons from ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, language or disability to build a workplace where everyone is treated fairly. In the event a violation to human rights is discovered, Suntory will execute the appropriate response immediately and make sure to prevent recurrence while protecting the privacy of the concerned parties.

● Freedom of Association

We will respect the basic rights of our employees to engage in freedom of association and collective bargaining.

● Employee-friendly Workplaces

We will promote work styles that find balance between the professional and private lives of our employees while building a workplace that allows each person to work safely, securely and with enthusiasm in ways that are healthy both mentally and physically.

● Open-minded Workplaces

We will foster an open-minded workplace that respects one another's beliefs, values, and diversity and where each and every employee can candidly express and share their views. We will also build cooperative relationships founded with unity through active communication throughout the Suntory Group.

● Perseverance and Growth

We will realize the growth of individuals by fostering a feeling of pride and responsibility toward work in each and every individual so that they may independently persevere in achieving their goals.

This policy has been approved by the Board of Directors of Suntory Holdings

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Suntory Group Human Rights Policy PDF

Suntory Group’s Code of Business Ethics

Supplier Guidelines PDF

Assessment

Identifying Human Rights Risks

With the establishment of the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy, six important themes regarding human rights listed in above policy were identified in global business activities with the cooperation of experts. We will continue to assess the risks in the Group and supply chain focusing on these six themes.

Risk Assesment

● Internal Operations

In order to promote risk assessment as a part of our human rights due diligence process, we have conducted a potential risk assessment in collaboration with Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk consulting company, for the countries in which our 90 factories globally are located, using general country and industry data.

Potential risk assessment results (overall*):
Low risk: 61 factories 68%
Mid risk: 21 factories 23%
High risk: 8 factories 9%
Very high risk: 0 factories 0%
  • *
    Covered human rights risks: child labor, forced labor, working hours, fair wage and welfare, discrimination, harassment, freedom of association and, right to collective bargaining, access to remedy, health, and safety

Of these, India, Vietnam, Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia were countries with high risk of child and forced labor where we have plants.
From now on, we will carry out individual evaluations on the factories located in high-risk areas.

● Supply Chain

In order to promote risk assessment as a part of our human rights due diligence process, we have conducted a potential risk assessment in collaboration with Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk consulting company, for our major ingredients using general country and industry data. (major ingredients × country combinations for a total of 124 patterns)

Potential risk assessment results (overall*):
Low risk: 21 items 17%
Mid risk: 58 items 47%
High risk: 37 items 30%
Very high risk: 8 items 6%
  • *
    Covered human rights risks: child labor, forced labor, working hours, fair wage and welfare, discrimination, harassment, freedom of association and, right to collective bargaining, access to remedy, health, and safety

Of these, following were items that have very high risks and impact (have high sales volume) on child and forced labor.
Forced labor: coffee, oolong tea, ethanol, and sugar
Child labor: coffee and sugar

Impact Assessment

● Internal Operations

Impact Assessment in Our Production Sites
In 2020 we started a pilot to implement Sedex* on our own plants in order to visualize possible human rights and social compliance risks. From 2022, we plan to further expand Sedex implementation in own plants globally.

  • *
    Non-profit organization that offers largest supplier ethical information sharing platform in the world.
● Supply Chain

The Suntory Group is working to promote activities for respecting human rights throughout the entire supply chain while linking to business partners by establishing the Basic Policy on Supply Chain Sustainability.
Impact Assessment by Sedex
We joined Sedex in June 2019, and since then we are engaging our suppliers to share information through Sedex by answering to the SAQ*. These SAQs evaluate the potential social risks in the supply chain by focusing on child labor, forced labor and other human rights issues as well as considerations toward the work environment and occupational safety. As of November 2021, we have confirmed that over 1,000 manufacturing sites of approximately 650 major suppliers have joined the Sedex. We will continue to promote all major suppliers to join the Sedex. We will prioritize the strategy for each region based on the result of the risk assessment to formulate an action plan and promote corrective actions when needed.

  • *
    SAQ: Self-Assessment Questionnaire
● Impact Assessment Status

Suntory Group identifies potential and inherent risks using a risk assessment tool offered by Sedex. Specifically, we evaluate the ability to manage potential and actualized risks of the suppliers with SAQ. In addition, we also confirm inherent risks based on third-party audit information that can be checked on Sedex.

Potential Risks of Suppliers (As of November 2021)

In the second half of 2021, we continued with the potential risk assessments through Sedex, obtaining data from a total of 913 manufacturing sites (up 72 cases compared to May).

(Number of manufacturing sites/%)
  May November fluctuation
Low 153 203 22% 50
Medium 610 628 69% 18
High 78 82 9% 4
  841 913   72
Actualized Risks of Suppliers (As of November 2021)

In the second half of 2021, we continued checking the non-compliances of our supplier’s manufacturing sites obtained through Sedex third party audit data, with a total of 180 important non-compliances visualized (up 42 cases compared to May).

Sustainable Procurement

● Monitoring through Supplier Assessment Questionnaires

We also conduct sustainable procurement questionnaires targeting suppliers that have not joined Sedex. We examine not only our existing suppliers to identify those that are at high risk, but also assess potential new suppliers before we start business relationships.
In addition, the Suntory Group shares the Suntory Group Supplier Guidelines with our overseas Group companies and verifies initiatives toward sustainability at each company at the Global Procurement Conference in which our overseas Group companies participate. In 2014 we engaged overseas suppliers to check potential child labor, forced labor, and other human right issues.

● Conducting Human Rights Due Diligence Related to Immigrant Workers
As advised in the individual dialogue with overseas experts hosted by Caux Round Table Japan (CRT) in 2019, we are confirming the state of the labor conditions of migrant workers including foreign technical intern trainees, which is one important human rights issue in Japan.
With the help of CRT as a third-party, in 2021 we conducted interviews with foreign technical intern trainees as a human rights impact assessment at Tsuzuki and Takatsu plants of Izutsu Maisen, a Group company that hires foreign technical intern trainees. No human rights risks were pointed out by Hiroshi Ishida, Executive Director of CRT. We will continue to build a good workplace environment through effective communication.

〈Report〉 Suntory Holdings Limited Findings from Interviews with Foreign Workers(PDF:893KB)

Corrective Action

Potential Risks of Suppliers (As of November 2021)
Regarding the above-mentioned potential risk that can be confirmed in Sedex, we also assess the management capability of our supplier’s manufacturing sites in respect to the potential risk. Based on that, we directly engage manufacturing sites, in particular sites with "high risk + low management capability“ and work together to improve their management capability. As a result, as of the end of November 2021, there were 117 manufacturing sites with 10% to 50% of improvement in their management capability (14% of the total). Going forward, we will continue to engage our suppliers and promote improvement activities.

Actualized Risks of Suppliers (As of November 2021)
Regarding the above-mentioned important non-compliances found through third-party audit data in Sedex, we communicate directly with our suppliers and confirm that the non-compliances found are corrected within 6 months. As of the end of November 2021, we have confirmed that 140 of the 180 important non-compliances have already been corrected. For the remaining 40 cases, we will continue to engage with our suppliers and promote improvement activities.

Stakeholder Engagement

Dialogue with Experts

Suntory Group holds regular dialogue with experts on human rights from Japan and overseas with the cooperation of Caux Round Table Japan (CRT Japan) Committee to strengthen initiatives related to human rights. We conducted online dialogue in October for FY2020. We share the progress of our activities related to human rights with the experts and discussed due diligence during the COVID-19 pandemic in this dialogue.
For the dialogue in 2019, we were advised to assess two types of risks: ethical manufacturing activities in our production sites and foreign workers. We reported that we have begun assessing the risks at our plants and foreign workers labor in the 2020 dialogue to the experts. We also discussed about an efficient and effective way to risk assessment of raw materials and immigrant workers we began 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We will continue to conduct dialogue with wide range of stakeholders to improve activities related to human rights, including the founding in this dialogue.

  • ・Experts:
    Neill Wilkins (Institute for Human Rights and Business) and Tulika Bansal (Danish Institute for Human Rights)
  • •Facilitator:
    Hiroshi Ishida (CRT Japan Committee)

Internal awareness raising

Initiatives to Improve Awareness of employees (Human Rights Workshop Between Suntory Employees and External Experts)

In April 2019, under the guidance of human rights experts (Caux Round Table Japan), we discussed global trends such as the approval of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the efforts of companies in Japan and overseas, and related departments exchanged opinions regarding the importance of human rights in today's world and the key themes for the Suntory Group.

Human Rights Training on Human Rights in the Workplace

The Suntory Group is holding human rights lectures and seminars at a departmental level in addition to conducting human rights training for new managers, new employees, and other staff in Japan. In 2018, we held a lecture on human rights titled “Human rights issues in companies surrounding sexual minorities.” The DVD of the video recording of the lecture is used at seminars mainly at sale offices throughout Japan. We are holding seminars to raise awareness related to human rights that are more closely related to human rights issues in the workplace through in-person and online from 2020.

Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Supplier Engagement

Suntory Group conducts measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 with the suppliers to ensure safety in the supply chain. We encourage suppliers to respond to a special module on Sedex SAQ related to COVID-19 to confirm the measures implemented by suppliers. In addition, we also offer suppliers masks and support implementation of measures to strengthen measures to prevent the spread of infection.

Social Contribution for Helping Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

While the COVID-19 spreads across the globe, we strive to promote social contribution activities based on our founding spirit of "Giving Back to Society” to overcome this hardship. Suntory Group companies around the world are engaging in activities to support local communities, medical practitioners, and food and beverages industry of their respective region.

Suntory Group’s Social Contribution

Occupational Health and Safety of the Employees and Site Workers

We have established a COVID-19 Response Task Force to gather information about its impact on the supply chain and business, enable quick decision making and implement measures with safety of the employees as a priority. Shift to telework was smooth even during the pandemic as its system and environment was being prepared before the COVID-19. To ensure safety and peace of mind when working at the office, PCR testing for employees are conducted as well as thermometers, acrylic boards and disinfectants were placed in various locations.

Statement on legislation of human rights due diligence by Group companies around the world

Other human rights initiatives