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.
Suntory Beverage & Food has established Sustainability Committee to promote global initiatives in collaboration with the board. We develop strategies based on the Sustainability Vision and monitor the progress of projects.
We believe that identifying and engaging stakeholders is important when promoting human rights due diligence. Stakeholders mentioned here include rightholders, as well as other related stakeholders (NGOs / NPOs, experts, etc.). We have discussed with external human rights experts to identify our key stakeholders in consideration of our business structure. These key stakeholders are:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Suntory Group will clarify the officer responsible for the implementation of this policy and ensure its effectiveness.
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.
We strictly prohibit the use of child labor or other illegal labor practices in any of our corporate activities.
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, national or social origin, property, birth, 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.
We will respect the basic rights of our employees to engage in freedom of association and collective bargaining.
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.
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.
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
With the establishment of the Suntory Group Human Rights Policy, we identified six important themes regarding human rights in our global business activities listed in the above policy, in cooperation with external experts. The process involved understanding the characteristics of our own plants and our supply chain, particularly the agricultural products from which our products are made, while also leveraging information from a variety of external human rights-related reports. As we move forward, in formulating an action plan we will continue to assess the risks in the own operations and supply chain focusing on these six themes.
We held expert dialogues in 2019 and 2020 with representatives from global organizations such as Human Rights NPOs (CRT), the IHRB, the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the UNDP to discuss about our human rights risks, and use this information on our human rights due diligence strategy. For example, in response to the growing risk in the global labor market of migrant workers being subject to forced labor, we were advised to identify this risk in Japan as well.
In addition to the above efforts, we further enhance our risk identification process by using risk data from the global consulting firm Verisk Maplecroft.
For the human rights risks identified by the human rights NPOs, experts, and global data sources mentioned above, a specific risk assessment is made through Sedex's SAQ and risk assessment tools, SMETA information, and third-party interviews. These assessments include consideration of the geographic, economic, and social perspectives of the different regions and rightholders that are prone to specific human rights risks. Based on this information, we promote evaluation and corrective actions starting from high risk areas/issues (i.e., corrective actions on key findings at suppliers, interviews with migrant workers, etc.).
In order to promote risk assessment as a part of our human rights due diligence process, Suntory Beverage & Food has conducted a potential risk assessment in collaboration with Verisk Maplecroft, a global risk consulting company, for the countries in which our 51 factories globally are located, using general country and industry data.
|Low risk||29 factories||56%|
|Mid risk||15 factories||30%|
|High risk||7 factories||14%|
|Very high risk||0 factories||0%|
Of these, Vietnam, 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.
In order to promote risk assessment as a part of our human rights due diligence process, Suntory Beverage & Food has 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 91 patterns)
|Low risk||10 items||11%|
|Mid risk||40 items||44%|
|High risk||35 items||38%|
|Very high risk||6 items||7%|
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, and sugar
Child labor: coffee and sugar
In the first half of 2022, we implemented Sedex in all of our 10 factories in Japan and 4 factories in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia in order to visualize human rights risks and strengthen management at our own plants. We assessed the management capability toward potential risks in 4 categories: (1) labor practices, (2) health and safety, (3) business ethics, and (4) environment.
|Potential risks||Management Capability|
As shown in the figure above, of the 14 factories, 13 factories had "high" management capability, 1 factory had "medium" management capability, and no factory had "low" management capability toward the potential risks. Regarding forced labor and child labor, which we consider to be important human rights risks, for the factories located in Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia (high-risk countries), the data gathered did not show any actualized case of these risks:
For factories with lower management capability, we will continue to strengthen management of important human rights risks.
In the second half of 2022, we plan to expand Sedex to all remaining plants, aiming to cover all major global business plants, and continue human rights management from 2023 onwards.
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.
The Suntory Group 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, Suntory Beverage & Food has confirmed that more than 900 manufacturing sites of 550 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
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 actualized risks based on third-party audit information that can be checked on Sedex.
In the first half of 2022, Suntory Beverage & Food continued with the potential risk assessments through Sedex, obtaining data from a total of 794 manufacturing sites (up 20 cases compared to November).
|November 2021||April 2022||Fluctuation|
|Waiting for answer||79||75||9%||-4|
In the first half of 2022, Suntory Beverage & Food continued checking the non-compliances of our supplier's manufacturing sites obtained through Sedex third party audit data, with a total of 173 important non-compliances visualized (up 19 cases compared to November).
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.
As part of our efforts to promote corrective measures, if it becomes clear that Suntory Group business activities have directly caused negative impacts on human rights, or if indirect negative impact through business relations come to light or are suspected, the Suntory Group will take corrective measures (remedy) through dialogue with related parts, based on international standards and through appropriate procedures. Furthermore, we expect Suntory Group's suppliers to undertake corrective measures (remedy) as well. In order to implement corrective measures, we will also work with external organizations such as human rights experts (NPOs) and Sedex to engage suppliers regarding any issues discovered, and to work together on corrective steps.
As stated in our Human Rights Policy, our key themes in human rights include child labor, forced labor, discrimination and harassment, freedom of association, and a good working environment (health and safety). We have identified numerous questions in the Sedex SAQ that relate to each of these key themes, and we use them for assessment and ongoing monitoring in our own plants and supply chain. We currently conduct continuous monitoring of our suppliers through Sedex, representing over 70% of our purchasing volume globally, and we strongly engage suppliers which we have been able to identify actualized risks. The monitoring process leverages also SMETA audit information on the supply chain, including interviews with local workers. In this way, we try to leverage the voices of rightholders.
Our remedy process using Sedex and SMETA information is as follows:
Regarding the above-mentioned potential risks that can be confirmed in Sedex, we also assess the management capability of our supplier’s manufacturing sites in respect to the potential risks. Based on that, we engage manufacturing sites, in particular sites with "high risk + low management capability" and work together to improve their management capability. As a result, at Suntory Beverage & Food, from the start of these engagements with the suppliers in January 2021 to the end of April 2022, there were 143 manufacturing sites with at least 10% up to 50% improvement in their management capability (19% of the total of sites), which is an increase of 34 41 manufacturing sites since the end of November 2021. Going forward, we will continue to engage our suppliers and promote improvement activities.
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, Suntory Beverage & Food has confirmed that 140 of the 173 important non-compliances have already been corrected. For the remaining 33 cases, we will continue to engage with our suppliers and promote improvement activities.
More specifically, the Suntory Group, including Suntory Beverage & Food has reviewed all Sedex SAQ responses regarding the following key human rights themes, and identified data indicating potential risks. At the same time, we have reviewed the findings of SMETA audits, to be check whether any potential risks have been actualized. In those cases, we engaged our suppliers and confirmed the status of the corrective actions taken.
We regard child labor as one of the key human rights risks in supply chains, and are strengthening management of suppliers through Sedex and SMETA information. For example, we use the questions in Sedex to identify direct and indirect workers who may be considered underage workers (under 15). In addition, based on actual on-site audits conducted through SMETA, we confirmed that worker age verification is being performed properly, and corrective actions are being taken when issues become apparent.
A review of SAQ responses indicated that there was no child labor by those under the age of 15. At 5% of plants, there were workers of ages 16-17, which by itself is a legal working age on the countries where those workers were found. The findings of one SMETA audit also noted a 17-year-old worker, but we have confirmed that this was not a problem under local law.
4 Instances of inadequate worker age records were also noted, but we have engaged the suppliers and confirmed that the recording methods have been corrected.
We consider forced labor to be one of the key human rights risks in supply chains and are strengthening management of suppliers through Sedex and SMETA information.
We consider impediments to freedom of association and collective bargaining to be one of the key human rights risks in supply chains, and are strengthening management of suppliers through Sedex and SMETA information to prevent infringement of these rights. For example, we leverage questions in Sedex to check the presence of labor unions, as well as processes and organizations in which workers can participate and have their participation reflected in decision-making by the supplier company. In addition, we confirm through SMETA audit data whether the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are being protected, and engage in corrective actions when issues become apparent and are uncorrected.
On the point of whether processes, organizations, and arrangements were in place for workers to use and reflect in company decision making, the SAQ data indicated that 12% of supplier manufacturing sites did not have these mechanisms in place. In addition, data from the SMETA audit included three findings related to freedom of association and collective bargaining, but we have confirmed that corrections have already been made.
We regard health and safety to be one of the key human rights risks in supply chains, and we are strengthening management of our dealings with our suppliers through Sedex and SMETA information to promote their health and safety conditions. For example, we leverage questions in Sedex to check facts such as whether a health and safety policy is in place, whether there have been any serious work accidents, the numbers of participants in fire safety drills, and the supplier's existing efforts to enhance health and safety. We also analyze similar data through SMETA audits and engage in corrective actions when issues are apparent and uncorrected.
The SAQ data showed that 2% of production plants had more than 100 recorded accidents in the past 12 months, in which 1% reported more than 20 serious accidents. We will engage with these high-risk supplier manufacturing sites and work toward enhancing their occupational safety. Data from the SMETA audit also showed non-compliances, with remedial actions having already been taken. We will continue to engage with suppliers on the remaining issues for which corrective actions are still pending. Corrective actions for the health and safety risks found through the Sedex's SAQ answers and non-compliance by SMETA were shared with other suppliers to improve health and safety management.
We are strengthening management of suppliers through Sedex information to identify human rights risks related to land rights. Specifically, we leverage questions in Sedex to determine whether the land on which a given supplier's production plant is sited was used as a residence before construction. The SAQ results showed that 1% of such land was used for residential buildings prior to conversion to an industrial site. We will engage with the suppliers to confirm whether there is a possibility that the conversion could have led to a violation of land rights.
We are strengthening management of suppliers through Sedex data to understand risks related to the water access and sanitation rights of local communities . For example, we leverage questions in Sedex to check various pollution risks (soil, rivers, etc.) from supplier operations, their water usage volumes, whether they manage wastewater, and management of water quality impacts on local areas. The SAQ results showed that 2% of the manufacturing plants were not managing quality of their wastewater. The SMETA audit data showed non-compliances, of which is either already corrected or we are working on with the supplier to solve the issue.
We are strengthening management of suppliers through Sedex data to identify risks related to women's rights. For example, we leverage questions in Sedex to check the ratio of male to female workers, the ratio of female managers, whether anti-discrimination policies are in place, and rates of absenteeism and turnover among female workers. The SAQ data showed that 5% of manufacturing sites did not have separate washing facilities for men and women, 5% of manufacturing sites had a turnover rate among female workers of more than 50% during the previous year, and 2% of manufacturing sites had an absenteeism rate among female workers of more than 30% during the previous year. The data from the SMETA audits, however, did not confirm any non-compliance in this respect.
We measure the effectiveness of our assessment and remediation efforts through Sedex at our plants and in our supply chain by measuring the degree of improvement across multiple risks (health and safety, worker age, discrimination, work based on free choice, etc.) before and after the execution of remediation efforts addressing the risks we have identified through the Sedex. In the case of Sedex assessment, there are items for which it is challenging to reduce the potential risk, but even if the potential risk is high, the risk can be controlled if the if management capability is high. Based on this premise, we focus on improving management capability as we undertake corrective actions at our own plants and with our suppliers.
Furthermore, as part of the series of steps noted above, we provide feedback to stakeholders on the results of our effectiveness measurement, and carry out direct engagement that leads to further actions for improvement.
While taking into consideration the risks and other factors identified through the above process, we will implement the following priority initiatives as our action plan.
We will proceed with the Sedex rollout at the remaining Suntory-owned plants worldwide during the second half of 2022, and determine whether there are any human rights risks.
With regard to 1st tier suppliers, we will continue to promote the remedy of important non-compliances that have become apparent through Sedex, and will continue to encourage suppliers to improve their management capabilities with regard to potential risks. In addition, we will move forward with impact assessments for upstream suppliers in our main raw materials supply chain.
We will identify sites other than our own plants where immigrant workers (especially technical intern trainees) are present, and consider necessary steps depending on the degree to which the significant risk of forced labor is present.
The basic rule in Suntory is that when an employee discovers actions that breach the Suntory Group’s Code of Business Ethics, he or she must first report it to the supervisors and seek their advice. However, we have also established a Compliance Hotline both internally (our Compliance Office) and externally (3rd party law firm) as contact point for all of the Group companies in Japan in order to quickly discover and resolve compliance issues when reporting or consulting with a supervisor is not appropriate.
Both mechanisms are available in multiple languages so that foreign employees who do not speak Japanese fluently can use easily use them. In addition, we provide an independent internal contact point at 11 Group companies and conduct annual training to improve the response of those in charge of this independent contact point in the Compliance Department.
We have also implemented a global contact point for compliance issues encompassing all Group companies in Japan and globally as part of our global risk management system.
This contact point supports multiple languages such as English, Chinese, and Spanish, and accepts reports and consultations from multiple countries. Additionally, in order to avoid accessibility issues due to technical or financial reasons, we have made this mechanism accessible to all employees through different methods (digital and analog), including web, smartphones, telephone, and mail. The internal awareness of this mechanism is measured every year through initiatives such as the "Employee Awareness Survey“ as a way to engage users and assess the current mechanism, and the current awareness rate is over 90%. We also strive to keep improving the awareness rate and accessibility of this mechanism by sharing these results (including comparisons with previous year) with our top management.
In 2021, a total of 89 reports were received by Suntory Beverage & Food through these contact points in Japan and overseas. Roughly 60% of the reports received in Japan were about labor, personnel and management issues, including human rights related issues.
If there is a suspicion of non-compliance based on the content of the report, we take into consideration the privacy protection of all persons involved in accordance with the Suntory Group Internal Reporting System Regulations. In that case, the compliance officer promptly conducts a confidential investigation within the company, and promptly requests correction while escalating to the relevant executive in charge, so that measures can be taken as soon as possible in order to avoid any negative impact to the reporter. The results of the survey are shared to the reporter and management, respectively, to promote corrective measures and prevent recurrence. After a certain period of time has passed after the response, we close the case once we receive a report on the state of change from senior management as a follow-up.
Furthermore, regarding measures against harassment, which is a priority issue, in many cases there is a difference in values with colleagues and related parties, so we aim to create a culture where both sides can recognize the difference by providing an opportunity to learn about "conscious bias," and in this respect we are holding seminars to promote a more tolerant organization.
Based on our internal regulations, the Suntory Group prohibits any type of negative impact such as retaliation or spread of rumors and does not force confidentiality on the reporters. In order to achieve this, when the Compliance Office conducts an investigation it identifies the persons concerned and then confirms the "internal reporting system regulations“, protecting thus the rights of the reporter. In addition, during the interviews with the reporter on the closing of each case, we also check that reporters have not suffered any disadvantages during the process. Furthermore, we are working to create a culture in which compliance reports are protected not only by the persons concerned but also by the entire workplace by proactively disseminating the "internal reporting system regulations" within the company on a daily basis.
Since its founding, the Suntory Group has placed customer satisfaction first and valued proactive communication with customers. In addition, based on our belief that all our stakeholders are customers, suppliers are also regarded as important customers. Therefore, when promoting human rights due diligence, we think it is important that not only our employees, but also our direct suppliers, their own suppliers, as well as other related parties (their local community, etc.) have access to a grievance mechanism, including human rights issues.
Furthermore, as stated in our supplier guidelines, we expect suppliers to establish similar grievance mechanisms (with no retaliation) within their own supply chain, thereby striving to promote access to remedy upstream in our supply chain.
Currently, we have established a Customer Center as a contact point for suppliers and their related parties (communities) to use. The Customer Center accepts inquiries from all customers.
For human rights issues and other inquiries from suppliers, please contact us using the form below (English/Japanese available)
We utilize information on Sedex and third-party interviews as key processes to engage with stakeholders (rightholders).
As an example of information gathering through Sedex, when we implement Sedex at our own plants, we communicate directly with the office management of each plant to exchange opinions from the perspective of human rights risks. In doing so, we listened to their perspectives on human rights and related issues of migrant workers (communication, cross-cultural understanding, and creating a more comfortable workplace). We regard this as important information to be used in our future human rights due diligence efforts.
We believe that communicating with stakeholders on human rights risks and impact is critical to our stakeholder engagement. For example, we carry out direct communication that is attentive to rightholders, and we communicate through briefings for suppliers (on supplier guideline compliance).
On the other hand, while identifying and approaching rightholders upstream in the supply chain is a very important component of stakeholder communication, it is also a challenging area of activity that must be addressed step by step and after proper prioritization. We plan to engage and communicate with the main stakeholders of the high-potential-risk and high-impact raw materials that we identified in 2021.
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.
Every year, the Suntory Group conducts a sustainability e-learning program for approximately 20,000 employees to learn about global ESG trends, including human rights, and the company's initiatives. In addition, to facilitate understanding of the Suntory Group's Code of Business Ethics (including human rights) among all officers and employees of the Suntory Group, and to encourage them to practice these ethics in their daily activities, we have included the Code in a booklet that summarizes the Suntory Group's system of philosophy, which is distributed to all employees. To promote global understanding, we have translated the booklet into 11 languages, and its contents are read and signed once each year. Group companies outside Japan also carry out similar efforts to promote compliance and human rights understanding in various regions.
Regarding our corporate management, every year we provide briefings on sustainability encompassing human rights as part of our annual training for newly appointed managers. In addition, members and management of the procurement department, which is closely involved with human rights initiatives, are all provided with briefings on sustainability encompassing human rights.
As for sharing with external stakeholders, we disclose our Human Rights Policy on our official website and share it with our raw material, packaging, and logistics suppliers at annual supplier briefings through our supplier guidelines, which include our human rights commitment, covering more than 98% of the Suntory Group's purchasing volume.
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.
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.
untory 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.
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.
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.
In line with our vision of Growing for Good, Suntory Group is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). Although at different stage of evolution, Suntory Group companies have taken steps to derive strength from diversity and enrich our workplace through inclusion. Not only do we commit to recognizing, valuing and respecting diversity and actively promoting and fostering inclusion, we will find ways to ensure equity as we listen to the voices and perspectives of our employees and take action.
In November 2021, we have established our first global DEI vision and strategic pillars. This is our ambition to build an environment where each and every Suntorian to unleash their spirit.
We are all Suntorians, we are all unique.
We courageously embrace diversity and equity, and cultivate a culture of inclusion.
Let’s be bold, be curious, and the best we can all be for our colleagues, customers and communities.
We bring people together as Suntorians. We treat our uniqueness as strengths where everyone can feel pride for who they are by unleashing their spirit. We embrace equity for all and seek to develop talents from diverse backgrounds at every level and region of our organization.
We educate, advocate and communicate from the top to foster an inclusive workplace to empower individuals to thrive at their best. We cultivate a culture where everyone feels a sense of belonging and feels safe to bring their whole selves to work.
Growing for Good. Be the preferred brand in the markets we serve by fostering partnerships with our diverse customers, suppliers, and vendors that reflect our values and behaviors. We support underrepresented communities and businesses for a sustainable future.
Regardless of our individual uniqueness, we will work together, listen and learn from each other, and be bold at times to create a better future for everyone. We are proud to see the various steps that each business is already taking in their organizations, and will continue to grow as individuals and as an organization.
Below are some Japan’s local initiatives around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Further updates on global initiatives from different regions and businesses are coming soon.
The Suntory Group is advancing activities with the goal of being an organization where each individual can actively participate regardless of gender. Suntory Beverage & Food Limited aims to increase the percentage of female employees in managerial positions to 30% by 2030 by establishing an atmosphere of healthy competition where everyone is given equal opportunities.
Suntory Beverage & Food is supporting the advancement of female employees by implementing measures with a view to providing continuous education and career support focused on the individual (developing capabilities and raising awareness) as well as by supporting the balancing of work and home life. In addition to cultivating a mindset through training for young employees and active participation in cross-industry exchanges, we are also supporting the building and enhancing of female employees' careers in the medium to long term through talent reviews.
In regard to balancing work with life events, we are raising awareness through pre-maternity leave guidance and post-maternity leave follow-up seminars, and we also support employees caring for children to return to work earlier by providing a safety net in the form of a baby-sitter program for employees who are unable to use daycare facilities, or by bearing part of the costs of baby-sitting services when a child is sick or in other emergencies. We are implementing measures aimed at realizing flexible work-styles such as a flextime system, establishing remote work environments, and expanding our satellite offices. In addition, we are strengthening efforts to provide management support for active participation of employees who are returning to work after childcare leave by providing the supervisors of those employees with the information they need to manage employees who are raising children.
The Suntory Group continues to engage in LGBTQ activities with the aim of becoming a company where every employee can be themselves and work enthusiastically. We have launched a project team in 2016 to strengthen our LGBTQ initiatives. In 2017, we furthered inclusion with efforts which included the revision of employment regulations to include same sex partners in the definition for spouse, the setup of a consultation office for LGBTQ employees, the creation of an LGBTQ handbook for LGBTQ employees and allies as well as e-learning for all employees.
These activities have been awarded the highest rank of Gold in the PRIDE INDEX*1 advocated by work with Pride*2, which evaluates initiatives for sexual minorities including LGBTQ in the policies of organizations such as corporations and association.
Awarded the gold with the highest rating in the LGBTQ initiative index "PRIDE index"
In order to create synergies between Group companies all over the world, Suntory Beverage & Food is advancing a variety of initiatives involving collaboration between companies with the aim of formulating and implementing global human resource strategies under the slogan of "Overcoming Borders". We carry out regular talent reviews to identify, develop, and utilize personnel who can play an active role globally. Through initiatives such as exchanges between personnel from different countries and industries and the mutual sharing of expertise, we will continue to evolve our global human resources activities so that each of our Suntorians worldwide, who are brimming with individuality, can carry out "Yatte Minahare," the spirit of bold ambition, and deliver even greater inspiration and joy to the world.
Additionally, we have decided to promote locally recruited employees to management positions at our Group companies overseas in order to make the best use of non-Japanese human resources. Going forward, we will continue to promote diversity by recruiting and promoting overseas talent.
Based on the principle that to carry out diversity management, it is important that we actively engage a wide range of human resources with diverse values, Suntory Beverage & Food has been proactively recruiting mid-career employees who have diverse experience. We judge that we are placing and using human resources in a well-balanced way without compartmentalizing new graduates and mid-career recruits, and in the future, we will continue to utilize diverse human resources by recruiting mid-career employees as needed.
Suntory Beverage & Food’s basic approach to developing human resources is through OJT (On-The-Job training). We also encourage employees to grow by experiencing different types of work through systematic personnel rotation, taking into account the wishes of the employee themselves, which is understood through career vision interviews held once a year in which the employee and their supervisor discuss the future of the employee's career. We also implement talent reviews, carried out between each division and personnel department, regarding the medium-to-long-term development plan and optimum placement for each employee, which leads to their ongoing development.
We also carry out inhouse recruitment and other measures to boost employees' desire to grow independently.
In addition to this, we have established Suntory University, a Group-wide platform for learning, which leads employees to further growth through Off-JT (Off-The-Job training), including programs on Suntory's philosophies and history to date, application-based training in which employees can acquire versatile skills and knowledge, and level-based training tailored to an employee's qualifications and length of time at the Group.
In regard to global human resources development, we are working to develop employees who can play a role anywhere in the world through application-based development programs such as the Trainee Program and the Career Challenge Program, and by encouraging the accumulation of workplace experience through employee transfers to overseas positions.
As a member of the Suntory Group, Suntory Beverage & Food has positioned going beyond the four boundaries of gender, age, handicaps, and nationality as an important matter, and we are carrying out a wide range of initiatives as shown above. As we do not believe that nationality or age at time of recruitment creates any significant barriers to advancement, we have not set targets for non-Japanese employees or mid-career recruits in our voluntary and measurable targets for promoting core personnel.
Going forward, we will actively engage in initiatives centered on diversity management.
The Suntory Group is working to expand the possibilities for persons with disabilities by employing them without considering job type. We actively engage in activities such as opening special contact point for candidates with disabilities, advertising announcements for new graduate and mid-career candidates, and cooperating with Hello Work. In addition, we have advanced job development at all group companies and started Group-wide employment guidance sessions in 2012. The rate of employment for persons with disabilities as of June 1, 2020 was 2.82% at Suntory Holdings Ltd. (employing 107 persons with disabilities with 43 persons with severe disabilities) and 2.66% at Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. (employing 35 persons with disabilities with 15 persons with severe disabilities).
We have held an internship for students who are intellectually disabled since 2014 to further promote their empowerment and 27 people have entered the company over the last seven years up to April 2020.This team opened the “Collaborative Center” in the Odaiba office in April 2018. In April 2020, we expanded the office to the Osaka and Tamachi office, aiming to provide business support for the entire Suntory Group and practice diversity and inclusion.
In January 2021, we joined "The Valuable 500*3, " an international initiative that promotes the advancement of people with disabilities, and we will continue to further strengthen our efforts at all Group companies.
We introduced the Disability Support Leave Policy in 2013 based on our desire to create an energetic environment more able to empower persons with disabilities. Five days a year are given as special leave to people who have a disability certificate. This policy can be used regardless of whether an employee works on a full-time or a part-time basis. A handbook has also been created and distributed to support managers supervising persons with disabilities.
We are furthering the building of an easier-to-work environment while promoting the employment of persons with disabilities now and into the future.
The employment needs of individuals after retirement are estimated to grow in the future due to economic reasons after policy revisions such as an increase in the age people may start receiving national pensions as well as a growing desire to continue working. The technical ability and skill that people who have reached retirement age have accumulated are valuable assets from the perspective of the company.
The Suntory Group has introduced the Extension of Retirement to Age 65 policy in April 2013 to more widely utilize the experience and high-level skills which senior-level employees have accumulated over many years in addition to responding to the employment needs of employees over the age of 60. This new policy assists employees over the age of 60 to acquire one of three certifications (expert certification, member certification, support certification) that have been newly established according to the certifications and position the person has reached by the age of 60. In addition, we have introduced an assessment of results and prudent actions based on the target management policy even for individuals over the age of 60. The items for the assessment of prudent actions are operational contribution and next generation contribution. Moreover, we are periodically holding Life Plan Seminars that review life after retirement in addition to providing opportunities to think about a senior career at Career Workshops that are always taken by employees while they are in their 50s.
We will keep tapping into the knowledge of veteran employees who have accumulated the wealth of experience over the years, and provide them with all necessary support.
Based on the importance of accepting and making use of something different from each other, we conduct training for managers to learn about management that utilizes diversity and how to deal with unconscious bias. We will continue to send information regularly to further accelerate diversity awareness activities.
Suntory has been reviewed as follows by external parties as a result of these initiatives.
An initiative started in 2012 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry that evaluates and selects companies of various sizes from different industries for their initiatives in diversity management as management able to contribute to economic growth. Furthermore, it aims to promote the spread of diversity through the communication with selected companies as best practices.
The Diversity Award has been held by NPO J-Win since 2008. J-Win assesses the progress of diversity and inclusion promotion on an absolute scale at each company as well as a relative evaluation of progress to present awards for the purpose of accelerating diversity and inclusion promotion in Japanese companies by commemorating companies leading diversity and inclusion policy.
Eruboshi is a certification given by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare for the goal of promoting the empowerment of women at companies based on the Act on Promotion of Women’s Participation and Advancement in the Workplace. Companies are evaluated based on the following five factors: 1. Level of female employment, 2. Level of continuation of employment by women, 3. Working style (work hours, etc.), 4. Ratio of female employees in management positions, and 5. Existence of diversified career paths.
* Acquired by Suntory Holdings Limited
The Kurumin Mark is a certification given by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare to companies that promote the introduction and utilization of systems and implement high-standard initiatives all aimed at promoting efforts which support both work and child rearing based on the Act on Advancement of Measures to Support Raising Next-Generation Children.
* Acquired by Suntory Holdings Limited
We strive to create an organization and a corporate culture that place the highest priority on compliance to fulfill our responsibilities and meet the expectations of our customers and society.
We are strengthening a compliance promotion system to realize our corporate philosophy from a group-wide perspective based on the Suntory Group’s Code of Business Ethics established in 2003 that requires all employees to conduct themselves in accordance with common rules. We also revised the code to refer to the ISO26000 international standard for social responsibility in 2012 and adopted the revised code in 2017 for all Group employees around the world to better understand it.
The Corporate Management Division is responsible for the overall promotion of compliance at Suntory Beverage & Food. In addition to formulating and implementing specific measures, monitoring the status of compliance at each workplace, and providing suggestions and advice on issues, we have also established a Compliance Hotline (whistleblower hotline) to ensure fair, impartial, and sincere responses to reports.
As for the whistleblower system, we have revised Suntory Beverage & Food’s whistleblower system rules in line with the revised Whistleblower Protection Act, effective on June 1, 2022, and are operating the system more effectively. In addition, each Group company in Japan and overseas appoints a person in charge of promoting compliance and is proactively initiating activities such as formulating and disseminating their own action guidelines in response to issues they face.
The basic rule in Suntory Beverage & Food is that when an employee encounters behavior that violates the Suntory Group’s Code of Business Ethics, they must first report it to their supervisors and seek their advice. In order to quickly discover and resolve compliance issues even when such reporting and consultation are inappropriate, we have also established a Compliance Hotline, which serves as a central point of contact, in the Corporate Management Division, as well as in the Audit and Supervisory Committee and a third-party law.
Major Group companies in Japan and abroad have also set up a reporting channel to enhance their compliance management.
In addition, as part of our global risk management system, we have also established a global hotline available to all employees, including those of overseas Group companies, in April 2016.
In 2021, Suntory Beverage & Food received a total of 89 reports through these contact points in Japan and overseas. Roughly 60% of the reports received were about labor, personnel, and management issues, including human rights issues.
In accordance with Suntory Beverage & Food’s Internal Reporting System Regulations, the Corporate Management Division and the responsible department of each Group company investigate each case, giving due consideration to the protection of the privacy of all parties involved, and then take necessary action such as making corrective measures and issuing corrective action orders. The results of the investigation are reported to management and are used to address and problems and prevent their recurrence.
Suntory Beverage & Food has established a Compliance Hotline as well as office regulations that prohibit any disadvantageous treatment of whistleblowers. We have also enacted "Internal Reporting System Regulations" to fully protect whistleblowers by prohibiting any detrimental treatment not only of whistleblowers but also of those who cooperate in investigations, and by following up with whistleblowers after responding to their reports.
In order to understand compliance status and corporate climate performance as well as to identify individual issues, we conduct an "awareness survey" of all employees of Group companies in Japan. Based on survey results, we identify individual issues at each company and department, and consider initiatives for fostering compliance awareness. The survey results are shared among the management and managers of each company and are utilized by each company and department to resolve issues on their own initiative.
Overseas Group companies also conduct their own surveys, which are used to implement compliance management systems.
To ensure that all executives and employees of the Suntory Group understand the Suntory Group Code of Business Ethics and apply it in their daily activities, we distribute a pamphlet that outlines the Suntory Group Code of Business Ethics and summarizes the Suntory Group Philosophy. The pamphlet is translated into 11 languages.
At the start of each year, employees of Group companies in Japan refreshes their understanding of the Code, and then signs a compliance statement provided at the end of the pamphlet. Meanwhile, we also have workplace discussions on a variety of topics, including compliance-related incidents that occur in the society and issues recognized by the Group and individual companies as challenges, to remind employees of the basics of compliance and to promote ethical behavior.
We conduct employee awareness surveys of all Suntory Group employees in Japan to monitor their compliance with the Code of Business Ethics in their business practices and workplace environment. The results of the survey are reported to management for early detection of potential compliance violations. We also use the results for employee education, formulation of activity plans, etc., while periodically evaluating the effectiveness of the Code of Business Ethics.
To promote the understanding and practice of compliance, we regularly provide information to each Group company in Japan via "Compliance Net" on the company intranet.
The "Compliance Net" features information on subjects related to activities being undertaken, as well as contents that help employees understand the basics of compliance through case studies from around the world. In addition, the "Compliance Net" also includes self-learning materials such as information to supplement basic knowledge about compliance and self-check sheets on harassment so that employees can learn at any time.
Each Group company of Suntory Beverage & Food is engaged in promotion activities led by their promotion managers. The Corporate Management Division supports the promotion activities of each company by proposing measures and providing group training programs tailored to the challenges faced by each company. In addition, we provide training for managers newly assigned to Group companies in Japan to help them better understand their role as the driving force behind compliance management.
We also hold regular meetings with compliance officers of Group companies of Suntory Beverage & Food to provide them with a variety of information and advice, and to share knowledge and expertise.
The Code of Business Ethics clearly states our commitment to compliance. Based on the concept of the Code of Business Ethics, each department establishes and implements policies and voluntary standards regarding compliance issues in their business activities.
Also, we have created the Suntory Group Common Action Guidelines, which provide specific guidelines for actions and decisions to be made in relation to our transactions with business partners and incidents that may occur on a day-to-day basis. These guidelines are posted on the intranet so that all officers and employees of the Suntory Group companies in Japan can review them at any time.
The Suntory Group's basic premise is to comply with the Antimonopoly Act and other laws and regulations and to conduct fair business activities. Since the enactment of the Guidelines for Compliance with the Antimonopoly Act in 1992, we have been operating under the guidelines which have been revised in line with revisions to law and changes in the business environment. We are working to heighten awareness and compliance with the Antimonopoly Act and other related regulations by placing on our intranet the “Essential Things to Know Regarding the Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations" and the "Manual on Compliance with the Act Against Delay in Payment of Subcontract Proceeds, Etc. to Subcontractors" and by holding regular briefings for each division and Group company.
Furthermore, in order to ensure fairness in our daily transactions with our business partners and customers, our specialized departments are actively involved in all stages from product development, sales, to marketing planning, and review the policies and activities of related departments from the perspective of legal compliance.
The Suntory Group's Code of Corporate Ethics prohibits excessive entertainment and gift-giving to any corporation, individual, or organization, including political, administrative, or related groups or companies, and requires that we maintain sound and transparent relationships in compliance with laws and regulations. In 2015, we announced our anti-bribery declaration, which aligns with global standards, in response to stricter regulations against bribery around the world, such as The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), etc. In 2016, we established a global anti-bribery policy, which includes guidelines that prohibit donations and political contributions in addition to entertainment activities and gifts. We are actively working to inform and train employees on the policy and conduct regular monitoring. Moreover, we have put in place a global Compliance Hotline to create and utilize a system for receiving reports and carrying out consultations and encourage employees to immediately contact the compliance hotline if they discover or suspect any corrupt activity.
The Suntory Group is working to establish a mechanism for risk assessment and due diligence, by informing its employees about effective due diligence and relationships with business partners. We place particular focus on areas and transactions that are identified as being at high risk of corruption.
As Suntory Beverage & Food is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, we are working to strictly prevent insider trading through e-learning programs and other measures.
Suntory Beverage & Food promotes “Health Management” with the aim of ensuring that each and every employee and their family members are “healthy” both physically and mentally. We believe that ensuring that our employees are in good health will lead to a fulfilling daily life and rewarding work and will drive the realisation of the SBF Vision we aim for. In addition to measures such as the enhancement of health check-ups and prevention of lifestyle-related diseases, we will establish a system where employees can easily consult with industrial physicians and nurses. We are also working to improve daily support by building a system that allows employees to consult with occupational physicians and nurses, and expanding new consultation services.
Based on "healthy" body and mind, we will aim to grow while simultaneously improving our work and private lives, and to deliver a “healthy” life to consumers.
CEO, Suntory Beverage & Food
In 2014, we issued the “Health Promotion Declaration”. Later in 2016, after management appointed a Global Chief Health Officer (GCHO), the new “Health Management Declaration” was set forth.
Based on the idea that the health of our employees and their families is the source of Suntory’s challenge and innovation,
we aim to have all employees work in a healthy and motivated state, both physically and mentally.
ISuntory has introduced a nurse in charge system where nurses are assigned to all business locations to support all employees. The nurse in charge acts as a contact point for employee consultations, while industrial physicians, psychiatrist, clinical psychotherapists, and others work together to provide consultation services and support to allow employees to work while maintaining good health.
In addition to our in-house occupational health staff, we have also set up external consultation services such as the E-Partner Consultation Service, which provides consultation on private family issues, and First Call, an online service that provides medical consultations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
|With Nurse||Provides support as a person deeply familiar with each employee through daily contact, including health interviews.|
|With Occupational Physician||With the supervising occupational physician taking a central role, occupational physicians provide post-treatment measures for regular health checkups, guidance for various interviews, and support for balancing treatment and work.|
|With Psychiatrist||Psychiatrists who are familiar with mental health issues in the workplace work together with occupational physicians and nurses to support employees.|
|With Clinical Psychotherapist||Counseling based on psychological knowledge is provided to care for employees who are troubled to help them resolve their problems.|
|EAP||An external consultation service that allows employees to consult with an external counselor about a variety of issues, including personal and family problems.|
|Online chat-based consultation service||An online service that allows employees to consult with a doctor via chat or video phone 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.|
As a foundation for all activities, we conduct not only regular health checkups but also health consultations with employees conducted by in-house nurses to support individual health maintenance and encourage participation in measures tailored to each employee's condition.
We are working on health literacy education to foster health awareness among the younger generation and those who are not currently experiencing any health issues. In the monthly Healthma newsletter distributed by our nursing staff, we try to make people feel closer to health by introducing health information and measures. We also strive to provide opportunities for health seminars for the entire company, as well as seminars for each office in line with the issues they face.
We promote health management while firmly connecting that management to work style innovation.
Since daily lifestyle habits such as eating habits, exercise, sleep, alcohol consumption, and smoking are deeply related to the onset and progression of diseases, various measures are implemented to improve and maintain lifestyle habits. In addition to specific health guidance, we also provide guidance comparable to specific health guidance to those under 40 years old who are subject to the same criteria, and are making efforts to raise awareness among the younger generation. At the same time, we are actively recommending that they undergo re-examinations and precision examinations, and are also working to support early detection and balance health and wellness.
We have created two mental health management initiatives for the prevention and early detection of mental health problems: our self-care initiatives which aim to make employees aware of stress and take appropriate measures to counter it, and our line-care initiatives in which managers strive to improve the working environment and provide individual counseling. We are properly engaged in various health care efforts that include self-care in group training, courses in employee care overseen by a line manager, introduction of complete stress checks and counseling through clinical psychologist. We have also put in place a return to work support system for employees on leave to smoothly return to work.
One Suntory Walk is a program aimed to raise awareness of health among the participants and make exercise a habit through competing the number of steps they take within a month. The program has been held every year since 2017 targeting all Suntory employees, totaling approximately 40,000. This event is considered to be an event that unite Suntory globally and help promote health management. Engaging in sustainability of water, source of Suntory Group's business activities, at a global scale is put forth as message and core aspect of the event to raise awareness among the employees.
One of the participants commented that awareness toward number of steps taken raise during October along with the will to increase them. In addition, walking rallies are held independently at each office at the same time, proving that the exercise is becoming a habit through events. We will continue to hold this event every year with "October is One Suntory Walk month" as the slogan.
Water & CO2
Containers and Packaging
Activities of Overseas Group Companies