Sustainability at Mitsui & Co.
Participation in Initiatives
United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a set of voluntary action principles for corporations proposed by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan at the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland in January 1999. He proposed a means to harness the creative powers of the private sector to fulfill the wishes of underprivileged people and meet the needs of future generations. It is neither a regulatory means nor a legally binding code of conduct, but rather a strategic policy initiative that encourages corporations to come together as global citizens to solve the various problems that could arise as a result of economic globalization.Participating corporations are asked to support and put into practice ten universally-accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. As of May 2018, over 13,000 corporations, labor unions, and civil society organizations from around the world are participating in the UN Global Compact.
In October 2004 Mitsui & Co. signed and pledged its support for the UN Global Compact. Mitsui has been participating as a member of the Global Compact Network Japan and is complying with the principles as part of its own corporate guidelines. Currently Mitsui conducts a companywide survey every other year in order to check compliance with the UN Global Compact principles, and is working to comply with and practice the principles on a global group basis.
Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact
- 1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
- 2. make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
- 3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
- 4. the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor;
- 5. the effective abolition of child labor; and
- 6. the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
- 7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;
- 8. undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and
- 9. encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.
- 10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.
Support for the UN Global Compact
In October 2004 Mitsui & Co. signed and pledged its support for the UN Global Compact. Mitsui has been participating in this initiative as a member of the Global Compact Network Japan and is complying with the principles as part of its own corporate guidelines. Currently Mitsui conducts a companywide survey every other year in order to check compliance with the UN Global Compact principles and is working to comply with and practice the principles on a global group basis.
As well as engaging in activities geared toward observing “Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact”, we will advance various initiatives that contribute to realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through our business activities.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a clear statement of global priorities and visions that need to be realized so that poverty can be eliminated and all people can enjoy dignity and equality of opportunity, with consideration given to balancing sustainable growth and the limits of the Earth.
As a general trading company, Mitsui conducts a diverse range of business across nations and regions. We believe that this allows us to make a wide-ranging contribution to the achievement of the 17 goals set out under the SDGs.
As a corporate member of Global Compact Network Japan, we will continue to raise awareness of the SDGs in our business organizations, to reflect the SDGs in our business strategies, and to ensure that our business activities are always guided by a determination to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
We also explain the themes set out under Mitsui & Co.’s Materiality and SDGs, and how we have linked these to the SDGs to focus our efforts on tackling the SDGs’ 17 goals and 169 targets. We also introduce some of the specific activities we implemented during the fiscal year ended March 2018.
Mitsui SASUGAKU: Hosting of a sustainability workshop for increasing awareness of the SDGs – “Risks and Opportunities from the Future”
In December 2017, we hosted a workshop using the workshop-style methods used in “SASUGAKU”* entitled “Mitsui SASUGAKU - Risks and Opportunities from the Future”, with the aim of increasing understanding of the SDGs.
There were 35 participants on the day of the workshop, mostly Sustainability Promotion Officers. Sustainability Promotion Officers assigned to each organizational unit are responsible for supporting the implementation of sustainability management through our business activities. The participants used the “SASUGAKU Compass for Creating the Future” (“the Compass”) and “Future Chronology”, which are the main teaching materials of the SASUGAKU. In 2030, society will be facing many issues with numerous and complex causes, and to start with the participants recognized that these societal issues will affect us all directly. They then split into groups to share their thoughts and carry out group activities. By the end of the workshop, the participants had gained a real sense of how their own ideas can become connected to the approaches taken to Mitsui & Co.’s Materiality and the SDGs.
We will continue to work together with the Sustainability Promotion Officers to deepen our understanding of the SDGs, and we will engage in initiatives leading to solving many of the challenges that society will face through our business activities.
* SASUGAKU (meaning “Sustainability Learning”) was designed with the goal of developing recognition among people that the many challenges facing the society in which we live are issues that affect us all directly, and of finding the best ways of overcoming these challenges. Since 2014, Mitsui has offered new learning opportunities for upper-grade elementary school children, who will create the future, in the form of the Mitsui “SASUGAKU” Academy. In recognition of these activities, we received, in 2016, the Japan Association for Human and Environmental Symbiosis Award for Environmental Activities and, in 2017, the Judging Panel’s Incentive Prize in the Corporate Youth Experience Promotion Awards of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization that engages leaders from the worlds of business, politics, academia, and other sectors of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas in the spirit of global citizenship, through cooperation between the public and private sectors, for the improvement of the world situation.
As a partner company, Mitsui attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland every January, as well as attending regional meetings.
Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc.: Global Environment Committee, CSR Study Committee
As a member of the Global Environment Committee of the Japan Foreign Trade Council, Mitsui monitors energy use for all trading companies (shosha) and promotes reduce/reuse/recycle (“3R”) activities. We also gather information about new energy technology through our business activities, and contribute to the development of the trading company sector’s voluntary action plan for environmental initiatives for a low-carbon, recycling-oriented society.
Mitsui is also a member of the Japan Foreign Trade Council’s CSR Study Committee, which studies CSR-related issues and conducts surveys and research about trends in Japan and overseas. We work with other members on such activities as the formulation and review of the Supply Chain CSR Action Guidelines based on the principles of the Shosha’s Corporate Code of Conduct (code of conduct for trading companies). In the fiscal year ended March 2018, we joined the Working Group for the upgrading of said Code of Conduct and engaged in its revision.
Japan Business Federation (Keidanren): Committee on Corporate Behavior & Social Responsibility, Committee on Gender Diversity, Committee on Environment and Safety, Committee on Nature Conservation
Mitsui is a member of Keidanren’s Committee on Corporate Behavior & Social Responsibility, which works to ensure ethical behavior by businesses, promote CSR, and expand and encourage social contribution activities by businesses and businesspeople, including support for disaster recovery efforts. We are also a member company of the Committee on Gender Diversity, which implements the Action Plan on Women’s Active Participation in the Workforce, urges employers to promote women to managerial and executive positions, and promotes initiatives for realizing a society in which a diverse range of human resources, including LGBT people, are able to take on active roles.
In addition, we belong to the Committee on Environment and Safety, which works toward the implementation of environmental policies designed to be compatible with economic activities, including the promotion of voluntary action plans and countermeasures relating to global warming, waste, recycling, and environmental risks. Moreover, since 2012 a Mitsui employee has been seconded to Keidanren’s Committee on Nature Conservation, which works to conserve biodiversity and protect the natural environment. In the fiscal year ended March 2018, we joined the task force for reviewing the Keidanren Charter of Corporate Behavior and engaged in activities directed towards realizing a sustainable society (the aim of said Keidanren Committee) through participation in the reviewing process.
Council for Better Corporate Citizenship (CBCC)
As a member of the Council for Better Corporate Citizenship (CBCC), which was established by Keidanren, Mitsui engages in activities that help Japanese companies to be accepted as good corporate citizens by the countries and regions in which they conduct business, in accordance with the purpose of CBCC. Mitsui works to ascertain the views of various stakeholders, including overseas CSR-related organizations, by participating in presentations, seminars and business dialogue on CSR-related themes.
Japan Forum of Business and Society (JFBS)
As a GOLD member of the Japan Forum of Business and Society (JFBS), Mitsui is engaged in connecting theory and practice in the business world concerning issues relating to sustainable growth, which affect the relationship between businesses and society, through wide-ranging collaboration and cooperation with academia, industry, government, labor, and NPOs/NGOs. We are engaged in academic research and discussions on sustainability management, corporate governance, environmental management, social contribution, labor, human rights and other aspects, as well as in human resources development that embodies sustainability education.
Japan Business and Biodiversity Partnership
The Japan Business and Biodiversity Partnership was established through a collaborative initiative by the Keidanren, the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives) with the aim of promoting private-sector initiatives on biodiversity. As a member company, Mitsui promotes biodiversity conservation initiatives in partnership with NPOs, NGOs, research institutions, and other related entities in Japan and overseas. Furthermore, Mitsui contributes to conservation of biodiversity in its supply chains by promoting a sound resource-cycle policy in its business management focusing on the lifecycle of products and services.
Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is an international nonprofit organization with members including environmental NGOs, private business corporations, and organizations representing indigenous communities. It promotes the responsible management and use of the world’s forests in consideration of environmental and societal aspects by certifying forests and the processes involved in the distribution and processing of lumber taken from those forests.
Mitsui has obtained FSC® forest management (FM) certification at all 74 of its forests, which total approximately 44,000 hectares, while Mitsui Bussan Forest Co., Ltd., a Mitsui subsidiary, has obtained Chain of Custody (CoC) certification for the processing and distribution of cut lumber. Mitsui is the biggest supplier of Japanese-grown lumber with FSC® certification. As a member of FSC Japan’s Board of Directors, Mitsui is helping to promote the FSC® in Japan and to study and prepare principles, standards, and risk assessments for Japan.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a nonprofit organization established to promote the sustainable production and utilization of palm oil through the conservation of tropical rain forests and biodiversity. Mitsui supports the RSPO’s philosophy of contributing to sustainability through industry, and has been collaborating on various business-based initiatives since joining the organization in 2008.