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.
Formulation of the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy
The Suntory Group establishes a policy on human rights and promotes its compliance.
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
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.
The Suntory Group will disclose the progress and results of its efforts to respect human rights on its website, etc.
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
Organization to Promote Respect for Human Rights
With the formulation of the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy, we promote 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.
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 in preparing a roadmap.
Activities for Respecting Human Rights in the 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.
Risk Assessment with Sedex
We joined the corporate ESG data platform Sedex, a non-profit organization that offers largest supplier ethical information sharing platform in the world, in June 2019. We are engaging our suppliers to shareinformation 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 May 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.
We have also started to implement Sedex in our won plants from 2020 to identify potential risks and gain visibility on our current level of social compliance.
*SAQ: Self-Assessment Questionnaire
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.
Conducting Due Diligence Related to Immigrant Workers
As addressed in the dialogue with experts in 2019, we are confirming the state of the labor conditions of immigrant workers including foreign technical intern trainees, which is one important human rights issuein Japan, starting from inside the Group. We will promote activities to formulate a roadmap based on internal surveys and interviews.
Activities on Respecting Human Rights in Local Communities
Access to Safe Water
As part of the strategy to promote water sustainability, we engage in dialogue with residents around our plants and promote activities related to safe access to water.
Activities on Respecting Human Rights in the Group
We carry out awareness and educational activities to improve awareness about human rights within the Suntory Group and build a corporate culture that respects human rights.
Health Management for Employees
The Suntory Group believes health is not something simply related to “not being ill” but also to satisfyhealth of both body and mind, energy in everyday work, and enthusiasm. We have announced in “Health Promotion” in 2014 based on this believe and implemented area system for nursing professions and health consultation with nursing professions as well as opened in-house health information site Health-ma to promote system to improve health. From 2016, the management was appointed as Global Chief Health Officer (GCHO) and started Health Management. Health check-ups, stress checks, measures to improve life habits, and other activities are being promoted along with a KPI for health as a mid- to long-term goal to prevent physical and mental illness and diseases. The initiative coordinate with the existing work-style innovation to realize corporate life with sense of challenge and fulfilling private life.
Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
To continue the creation of new value, in 2011we created the Diversity Promotion Section based on our belief in the importance of actively accepting and utilizing a diverse range of human resources and personnel values irrespective of nationality, age, or other attributes. Four priorityareas and five priorityinitiatives were set forth in 2012.
We established the Suntory Group Vision for the purpose of creating new value through diverse perspectives and approaches to a multicultural environment in 2017 and promoting diversity throughout the entire Group.
Prevention of Harassment
An employee awareness survey, which includes questions on harassment, is carried out to understand the current status and improve current initiatives. We strive to find and solve issues as early as possible through our whistleblowing system Compliance Hotline accessible internally and externally to report harassment or other labor issues that go against our Code of Business Ethics principles.
We offer training, e-learning and other opportunities for employees learn and raise awareness about harassment in Japan. In 2020, e-learning for all employees was conducted to raise awareness about actions that need attention through case study. We are promoting initiatives designed to eliminate all forms of harassment.
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
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.
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.
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)