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Respect for Human Rights

As globalization of business practices has advanced, society is increasingly interested in the initiatives 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 CSR initiatives. To promote activities considering human rights, we further strengthen existing initiatives by engaging with employees and suppliers, and by creating the map of human rights risks to get the precise understanding of current situation.

Initiatives on Human Rights Issues

To advance our efforts to protect human rights, in 2013 the Suntory Group started creating a human rights risk map and monitoring its suppliers, in addition to the ongoing implementation of the existing Code of Business Ethics.

Formulation of an Activity Policy on Human Rights

The Suntory Group formulated the activity policy on human rights and complies with the policy.

The Suntory Group's Code of Business Ethics (Excerpts)
(Created in 2003; Revised April 2012; Revised June 2017)

We respect human rights and endeavor to create a corporate group where employees are engaged and satisfied.

5.1 Child Labor and Forced Labor

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

5.2 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 and gender to 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.

5.3 Freedom of Association

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

5.4 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.

5.5 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.

5.6 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.

The Suntory Group's Basic Policy on Supply Chain CSR (Excerpts)
(Established 2011)

In order to provide high-quality products and services safely and reliably based on our corporate philosophy of “To Create Harmony with People and Nature” and our Code of Business Ethics, the Suntory Group engages in fair business practices and, in collaboration with supply chain business partners, promotes procurement activities that take social responsibility into consideration, mindful of such issues as human rights, labor standards, and the environment.

We build good partnerships with our business partners and contribute toward realizing a truly affluent and sustainable society.

2. Consideration for Human Rights, Labor, and Safety and Health

We will promote initiatives that respect basic human rights, and consider labor conditions, as well as as health and safety.

Creation and Evaluation of a Human Rights Risk Map

Led by the CSR Department, the Human Resources Division, and the Compliance Department, the Suntory Group created a human rights risk map in October 2013. We sent the created map to the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and received some advice on points that we, as a global multi-faceted food and beverage company, should pay attention to.

Establishing a Committee to Promote Respect for Human Rights

Suntory Group’s Code of Business Ethics includes a clause to eradicate all types of discrimination and harassment. Human Rights Education Promotion Committee, consisting of a central committee and human rights promotion member present in each office, is established with the goal to promote the respect for human rights and eradicate discrimination based on nationality, gender, age or disability in our domestic operations. Based on the belief that it is important for every employee to have a correct understanding about human rights to work with peace of mind, we are continuously raising awareness and hold programs to educate and raise awareness regarding human rights through new management training and new employee training.

Prevention of Harassment

An employee awareness survey, which includes items on harassment, is carried out to understand the current status and improve initiatives. A Compliance Hotline has also been put in place as an internal reporting system both inside the company and at the third-party organization. We are working to discover issues as early as possible by building an environment with women representatives who are easy to consult with at the contact point for reports in Japan to receive reports about harassment or labor issues that go against our Code of Business Ethics principles.

Preventing Sexual Harassment through Raising Awareness

Suntory Group has made Sexual Harassment Prevention Manual and raises awareness among the employees through the Intranet in Japan. Reminders about the prohibition of sexual harassment are continuously made through new manger training and e-learning.

Prohibiting Power Harassment by Employees

We will do everything in our power to eliminate the use of strong words backed by position or difference in rank among the employees. Suntory has introduced new manager training and e-learning about power harassment as it strives to provide the correct understanding and raise awareness of these issues.

Initiatives to Improve Awareness of employees

We carry out awareness and educational activities to improve awareness about human rights, and build a corporate culture that respects human rights throughout the entire organization.

Broadening Human Rights Lectures with Human Rights for a Healthy Workplace theme

The Suntory Group is holding human rights lectures and seminars at a departmental level in addition to conducting stratified human rights training for new managers, new employees, and other staff in Japan. A human rights lecture entitled "Population Trends, Artificial Intelligence, and Corporate Management; From a Human Rights Perspective" was held in 2016. This was a great opportunity to think about living with ethics from a human rights perspective with the rise of social issues due to shifts in the population and the evolution of artificial intelligence. Furthermore, we held seminars at sales offices throughout Japan to show a DVD of the lecture.

Human rights seminar

Introduction of e-Learning Course on Harassment Prevention

Suntory Group introduced e-learning course on harassment prevention for graduate and mid-career employees who join the company as part of our onboarding education program, implemented every year in Japan to drive the basic understanding of harassment issues. In 2017, we held e-learning about harassment prevention that incorporates information about LGBT for all of the employees at the Suntory Group in Japan.

Supply Chain CSR with Suppliers

Checking with Questionnaires

From 2012, the Suntory Group started to conduct supply chain CSR initiatives questionnaires targeting major business partners of the Purchasing Department (Raw Material) and the Packaging Material Development Department. These questionnaires are evaluating the potential social risks in the supply chain by focusing on the respect of human rights as well as considerations toward the work environment and occupational safety. We examine not only our existing suppliers to identify those that are at high risk, but assess potential new suppliers before we start business relationships.
From 2014, the Suntory Group has started to visit and interview its overseas suppliers, asking them about human rights issues, such as child labor and forced labor. We conducted interviews with producers of malt and hops in 2014, and with oolong tea production factories in 2015.

In 2017, we conducted survey for major logistic business partners in Japan and plan to expand the scope to include freight forwarders, which are our international logistic partners.


We conducted monitoring at five oolong tea producers in China in 2016.

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