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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 the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy

The Suntory Group formulated the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy

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) Universal Declaration 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.

Established: 10th July 2019
Suntory Holdings Ltd.
President and CEO
Takeshi Niinami

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

Suntory Group Human Rights Policy PDF

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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