Sojitz Corporation

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Respect for Human Rights

As a general trading company developing business around the world, Sojitz is involved in a wide variety of supply chains. This means that one of the biggest challenges for Sojitz Group is figuring out how work together with suppliers to reduce environmental and social (human rights) risk within our supply chains.

Sojitz Group is working on initiatives based on respect for human rights within our business operations. We uphold the International Bill of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and act in accordance with United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

We have established the following Sojitz Group Human Rights Policy in striving to further honor the Key Sustainability Issue (Materiality) of "Respect the human rights of people involved in our businesses.

Sojitz Group Human Rights Policy

  1. 1.Our commitment to respect human rights
  2. The Sojitz Group strives to create value and prosperity by connecting the world with a spirit of integrity. We believe that respect for human rights is an integral foundation for creating what we call “Two Types of Value” —value for both our company and society — and for meeting the expectations of our stakeholders.

    As a general trading company, the Sojitz Group buys, sells, and trades goods from all over the world, provides manufacturing and sales services for a wide range of products, plans and coordinates various projects, invests in a multitude of business fields and conducts financial activities. In undertaking these business activities, we recognize our responsibility to avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts and to seek to prevent or mitigate adverse impacts to which we are directly linked. We commit to respecting human rights as set out in the International Bill of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and to carry out our business in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

  3. 2.Our people
  4. The Sojitz Group - in accordance with international human rights standards as well as its Group Statement - is committed to promoting, among the executives, staff and employees of Sojitz Group, the prohibition of discrimination, respect for diversity (including with respect to race, nationality, ethnic origin, beliefs, gender, social status, religion, age, mental and physical disability, and sexual orientation), as well as responsible labor practices including prohibition of child or forced labor, prevention of corruption, provision of a safe labor environment, payment of minimum wage and ensuring appropriate working hours. The Group supports freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

  5. 3.Conducting human rights due diligence
  6. The Sojitz Group is committed to assessing actual and potential adverse impacts on the human rights of our stakeholders in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We will strive to prevent, mitigate and account for adverse impacts. Where it is necessary to prioritize our actions, we will prioritize action to address the most salient potential risks to our stakeholders.

    The Sojitz Group shall comply with local laws and regulations in conducting its business activities. Where laws or regulations in a country conflict with international human rights norms, the Group will seek ways to honor international human rights standards. In making decisions on responses to be taken, we will seek opinions from credible third parties.

    The Sojitz Group recognizes the importance of dialogue with our employees, workers and external stakeholders who are or could potentially be affected by our actions, and we are committed to engaging in such dialogue with stakeholders on human rights issues related to our business.

  7. 4.Specific Issues
  8. Indigenous Peoples: When undertaking business activities in areas in which indigenous peoples reside, the Sojitz Group will acknowledge the unique culture and history of indigenous peoples and show consideration for their rights as set out in both local and national laws as well as in international standards such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention No. 169.

    Employment of security companies: To avoid complicity in human rights abuses committed by security providers, the Sojitz Group supports the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR), which guide companies in how to operate within a framework that ensures respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

  9. 5.Our Business Partners
  10. The business activities of the Sojitz Group are possible due to the cooperation of various stakeholders including suppliers and other business partners. For the Group to meet our responsibility to respect human rights, their understanding and cooperation are indispensable. The Sojitz Group is committed to working with and encouraging our business partners to uphold the principles in this Policy.

    In the event that we identify an alleged human rights abuse outside of the Sojitz Group but linked to our business activities, including in our suppliers and other business partners, upon confirming the situation the Group will ask relevant parties such as suppliers and other business partners to take measures to address the human rights issues.

    * For further information on our expectations of our suppliers and other business partners, including our policy concerning cases of material breach, see our Sojitz Group CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chains.

    Established June 2017

Sharing the Policy

In working with Sojitz Group companies and suppliers to reduce environmental and social (human rights) risk, we not only share Sojitz Group's policies and the demands placed on us by international norms like the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; we believe it is important to link these risks to actual business by presenting case studies as well.

Activities

(1) Human Rights Risk Seminar
In order to share the newly established Human Rights Policy, we held a Human Rights Risk Seminar in October 2017, focusing on human rights due diligence. A total 78 people attended, comprising Sojitz Corporation COOs/General Managers and the presidents of 14 Sojitz Group companies.

The seminar aimed to foster awareness of human rights issues, to inspire greater efforts to address human rights in the future. We shared information on global trends, such as how human rights due diligence has become more and more of a factor in determining business competitiveness around the world following the advent of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as explained how alongside the growth of ESG investment, a company's decision to conduct human rights due diligence has become another indicator by which investors assess corporate sustainability.

(2) e-learning
We regularly conduct e-learning on changes in social trends related to sustainbility and the response to environmental and human rights issues required of companies today, in order to foster understanding of sustainability within Sojitz Group. Around 5,000 Sojitz Group members* worldwide take these e-learnings each time they are made available.

* Employees and officers at Sojitz Corporation, the nine most important Sojitz Group comapnies, and Sojitz Corporation overseas subsidiaries

Risk Assessment

Sojitz Group operates a wide variety of businesses which come with many latent environmental and social (human rights) risks. For this reason, we believe we must do what we can to mitigate these risks, analyzing high-risk business areas before assigning priority and assessing risk. The process for selecting businesses and evaluating their risk is as follows.

(1) Objectively analyze right-risk business areas
We use Business & Human Rights Resource Centre's database to collect examples of manifest environmental and human rights risks in countries worldwide, starting from the year 2000. In this way, we analyze which business areas generally carry high risk.

(2) Select Sojitz business for risk assessment
We decide priority for each Sojitz Group company and supply chain (for trading-based businesses) based on our understanding of high-risk business areas. We then select businesses for Risk Assessment.

■Sojitz Group companies (consolidated subsidiaries/affiliates)
As the primary business operator, Sojitz Group assess risk at all project companies, regardless of country. High-risk businesses are prioritized for assessment.

■Suppliers (Trading-based businesses)
We assume that even those trading businesses where transactions comprise small amounts or which carry a small profit margin can belong to supply chains where upstream development/production carries a significant impact on the environment and human rights. For this reason, we must assess risk throughout the supply chain, to ensure that Sojitz is not indirectly implicated in any environmental or human rights violations.

We prioritize assessment for suppliers in high-risk segments regardless of the scale of the transactions or profit margins.

(3) Risk assessment method
For businesses that are expected to have environmental or social (human rights) risks, we conduct risk assessments by using CSR questionnaires.

In FY2017, we conducted a CSR survey of 38 consolidated subsidiaries comprising the six focus areas named in the Sojitz Group CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chains, to confirm whether there are any issues which must be fixed immediately, such as human rights breaches, labor issues, violations of environmental law, or otherwise negative impact on ecology.

In addition to our wood procurement-related initiatives, we will continue to gradually expand the scope of risk assessment to Sojtiz Group companies and suppliers according to priority.

* Main categories for each focus area

Focus Area Main Categories
General -Policies, parties responsible, dedicated organizations, monitoring systems, trainings/education
-Status of due dilligence
Human Rights -Child labor, forced labor, discrimination, wages, working hours
-Right to organize, bargaining rights, agreements between workers and management
Safety and Sanitation in the Workplace -Response to workplace accidents and natural disasters
-Safety and sanitation management in factories and related facilities
Environmental Conservation -Policies for managing and curtailing energy and water usage
-Efforts to mitigate impact on the local environment
Anti-Corruption Measures and Fair Trade -Systems for reporting violators
Quality and Safety Control for Products and Services -Goal setting and management
-Systems for handling claims and complaints
Disclosure of Information -Systems for timely disclosure, IT security policies

Improvements/Remedial Action

At Sojitz Group, to grasp the concrete measures in place for reducing risk in our work environments and to deepen communication with management, employees, and on-site supervisors with regards to further improvements, we conduct on-site inspections of companies that complete the CSR survey.

In June 2018, the Corporate Sustainability Office visited Kyodo Sojitz Feed Co., Ltd. ("KSF") in Vietnam, together with an outside specialist. KSF is a consolidated subsidiary which mainly produces and sells feed for raising pigs and chickens. Demand for meat in Vietnam is expected to continue to rise, and KSF is one of the companies contributing to the stable supply of reliable and safe food resources in the country.

The two-day, on-site inspection included discussions on sustainability with the company's management, and regarding the six focus areas* put forth in he Sojitz Group CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chains, we were able to confirm the availability of various documentation, as well as initiatives at factories and facilities on company grounds.

KSF received an overall high rating from the outside specialist, including for its good labor management and preparation of documentation, and management quality improvement initiatives through acquisition of the GLOBALG.A.P. Certification, which certifies the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of an agricultural production business. However, the inspection resulted in the finding of a potential human rights risk in the category of "Safety and Sanitation in the Workplace" in one area of the factory. We will share this feedback in the post-inspection summary, which covers management, and will prioritize making improvements in this area.

Focus Area(※) Results of Inspection
Human Rights and Labor Minor findings
Safety and Sanitation
in the Workplace
Determined areas under
consideration for improvement
Environmental Conservation Minor findings
Anti-Corruption Measures
and Fair Trade
No issues
Quality and Safety Control
for Products and Services
No issues
Disclosure of Information No issues

■Reflecting on the Inspection

With the growth of the population and economy in Vietnam, food culture will diversify and the demand for meat is expected to increase further. Under these circumstances, our mission is to contribute to the livestock industry in Vietnam by producing and providing feed made with Japanese livestock technology, thus bringing safe and reliable meat to the Vietnamese market.

We consider our company's initiatives on workplace conditions and environmental conservation to be absolutely essential in pursuing our business activities in harmony with the local society. Therefore, in addition to complying with various laws and regulations, we are also striving to further increase the quality of our management, such as through acquiring the GLOBALG.A.P. Certification.

As one effect of the certification process, the inspection did not result in any major findings requiring immediate attention, but brought us to various realizations on how to continue to further improve the workplace environment. We immediately shared these findings with individuals in charge at the factory and put improvement initiatives into place.

Kyodo Sojitz Feed Co.,Ltd.
(Left) Keita Nakamura, Deputy General Director
(Center)Takanobu Hama, General Director
(Right) Taiki Tomoyama, General Manager

 

Overview of other provisions regarding human rights

Code of Conduct and Ethics

Anti-Corruption

CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chains

Key sustainability Issues

The United Nations Global Compact

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