Responsibilities to Customers
Policies and Basic Approach
Mitsui & Co. has identified “Secure sustainable supply of essential products” as one aspect of our materialities. We handle a wide range of products such as resources, materials, foods, pharmaceuticals, and products that are vital for the development of society. We recognize that some of the foods, pharmaceuticals, and other products that we handle carry the risk of harming our customers' lives. For this reason, we have established our own management standards. We make sure that the safety standards set by each country for foods, pharmaceuticals, and other products we handle are maintained, as ensuring customer safety is essential. As part of our work in this area, we have established our Consumer Product Handling Policy and our Consumer Product Handling Regulations. Not only do we seek the manufacture, importation and sale of high-performance and/or low-cost products; we also carefully consider the consumer’s position. We trade in products that consumers can safely use, and we strive to prevent harm or injury to consumers.
Food and Food Product Business Issues, Response Measures and Basic Approach
By securing and supplying food and food products, we contribute to the realization of livelihoods that guarantee diversity, convenience, nutritional support, economy, and affluence. In our distribution business, we are expanding not only in the supply and distribution of raw materials for processed foods but also in the retail and merchandising sectors in Japan and overseas. We are working to make our quality assurance system more visible and set up a quality assurance governance system on a group basis that will include our affiliated companies, to serve as a basis for various initiatives.
|Ensuring food safety||Ensuring the safety of processed and imported foods|
|Ensuring consumer confidence||Providing accurate information about food safety, nutritional components, and food allergies, to protect consumer health
Providing information on preventing underage and pregnant women from drinking alcohol
Access to Highly Nutritious Foods
By 2050, the global population is projected to reach 10 billion. Ensuring that people get the nutrition needed to live a healthy life and ensuring the quality of their food are major challenges facing the world. At Mitsui & Co. we are contributing to the sustainable supply of food by building an optimal supply chain from upstream to downstream, involving procurement, production, and logistics. We are promoting the creation of societies in which people can live affluently by improving nutrition through the reliable supply of food and providing products and services with high added nutritional value.
Aiming to Provide Higher Value Healthcare Services
We recognize that it is important to create a better tomorrow where people smile and live healthy, enriched lives. Medical expenditure is growing globally, alongside population growth in emerging countries, population aging in developed countries, and changes in disease patterns such as an increase in chronic disease patients accompanying economic development. With the increase in the number of people in middle-income-level groups and the spread of the COVID-19, health consciousness is increasing. There are growing calls for burgeoning medical expenditure to be brought under control and for digital technology to be used to a greater extent. We recognize trends toward achieving improvement of access to healthcare and the quality and efficiency of healthcare in each country and region, introducing more telemedicine services, changing healthcare through the use of digital technology such as healthcare data and AI, and further accelerating the shift to a focus on outcomes for optimizing medical expenditure and the expansion of services in the wellness field including non-illness and prevention. In accordance with such global trends, we will lead and accelerate the paradigm shift in healthcare from a treatment-based and hospital-centered to a prevention-based and individual-centered approach, and expand high-quality and efficient “Value Based Healthcare*".
* In value-based healthcare, each stakeholder aims to achieve the best outcomes and optimize costs to provide high-value medical care to patients.
Responsible Advertising, Responsible Marketing
We are committed to carry out fair and responsible marketing and advertising, in full awareness of our social responsibilities, and in accordance with our Mission, Vision, Values, the Mitsui & Co. Group Conduct Guidelines –With Integrity, and the Business Conduct Guidelines for Employees and Officers. In addition, we always strive to listen to our stakeholders, to accept their views with humility, and to reflect them in an appropriate way in our business activities.
As for advertising and promotions, in consideration of the views of our various stakeholders, we make our best efforts to ensure accuracy and modesty without causing misunderstanding or discomfort, not to mention observing laws and regulations on relevant matters such as the Copyright Act and Trademark Act. When carrying out advertising and promotions, we implement proper risk management under our ringi (circular executive approval) deliberation system on advertising and marketing, which covers compliance risks, internal control risks, and reputation risks.
In marketing, we comply with the relevant laws and in-house regulations and in-house training, and we carry out responsible marketing activities using content and expressions that do not infringe on the trust or sense of honor of others and do not cause misunderstandings or discomfort.
Goals and Targets
- Improving access to nutrition through the stable supply of food.
- Increasing the ratio of certified materials we acquire and carrying out employee training programs to ensure the sustainable supply of safe and secure products.
Sustainability Governance and Oversight
The Sustainability Committee works under the Executive Committee to plan, formulate and provide recommendations on basic management policies, business activities, and corporate policies and strategies related to our responsibilities to customers.
The Sustainability Committee is structured so that its activities are appropriately supervised by the Board of Directors, and matters discussed by the Sustainability Committee are regularly discussed and reported to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.
|Officer in charge||Shinichiro Omachi (Representative Director, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, Chairperson of the Sustainability Committee)|
|Deliberative body||Sustainability Committee|
|Department in Charge||Corporate Sustainability Div.|
Please refer to the links below for more information on Mitsui’s Sustainability Management Framework and the activities of the Sustainability Committee.
ESG-Related Risk Management
For projects in which we invest that are considered to be highly relevant to our responsibility to our customers (food, pharmaceuticals, etc.), we carry out ESG risk assessments, formulate improvement plans when necessary, and conduct risk management.
Quality Control Management Systems to Ensure Food Safety and Security
In recent years, eating habits have changed. Not only can you cook fresh vegetables, meat and fish immediately at home, but you can also use processed foods and prepared meals from around the world. As the routes and circumstances by which food reaches us is diversifying, it is necessary to ensure the safety and security food both in Japan and overseas. In our Retail Business Unit, to further enhance the quality assurance governance system (goods and services sold or provided) on a Group basis, we have each affiliated company appoint a quality assurance manager, set up a quality assurance governance system on a group basis, and seek to strengthen cooperation within the Mitsui group.
The Unit has set up a food safety database to enhance the level of self-management, and all imported foods are managed. The database is reviewed annually.
In our Food Business Unit and Retail Business Unit, we have set up a centralized contact point for information sharing and crisis management in the event of an emergency. In 2002 the Units set up the Food Safety Management Committee in 2002 with the objective of firstly, studying food safety-related laws and regulations and how related industries have responded; and secondly, formulating codes of conduct. The Committee is chaired by the General Manager of the General Affairs Office of our Food Business Unit and Retail Business Unit and has one Food Safety Management Committee member from the Food Business Unit and one from the Retail Business Unit. In principle, Committee meetings are held monthly. The members share information about amendments to laws and any violations that have occurred. The Committee analyses the causes of violations and considers measures to prevent them from recurring. External experts are invited to attend Committee meetings and give advice relating to food safety.
In the fiscal year ended March 31, 2021, there were no serious violations of the Food Sanitation Act, except for minor violations involving water leaks or aflatoxins.
Group Companies that Have Gained Product Safety Management Standards
|HACCP||FEED ONE、Super Discover Investment, The Kumphawapi Sugar, Kaset Phol Sugar, MITSUI FOODS|
|ISO22000||FEED ONE, Super Discover Investment, The Kumphawapi Sugar, Kaset Phol Sugar|
|FSSC22000||Mitsui Norin, PRI Foods, FEED ONE, KADOYA SESAME MILLS, ADEKA FOODS, The Kumphawapi Sugar, Kaset Phol Sugar|
Education and Training Programs to Ensure Food Safety and Security
From October 2002 we began our monthly Food Safety Seminar for employees of our Mitsui and our affiliated companies. As of March 2021, this seminar had been held a total of 209 times. The seminar promotes compliance with various laws and regulations and encourages proper labeling, and strives to conduct risk management relating to food safety and security. The table below summarizes the seminars that were held during the financial period ending March 31, 2021, and the number of attendees to each. A total of 726 employees from our company and our affiliated companies attended the seminars over this period.
Food Safety Seminar（FY Mar/2021）
Please scroll horizontally to look at table below.
|Month held||Theme||Number of Attendees|
|2020||April||The ABCs of Food Labeling. Learning the Basics of Food Labeling from Actual Over-the-counter Products (2) — Hard-to-understand measurement methods and content displays||65|
|May||The ABCs of Food Labeling. Learning the Basics of Food Labeling from Actual Over-the-counter Products (3) — Hard-to-understand measurement methods and content displays 2||124|
|June||The ABCs of Food Labeling. Learning the Basics of Food Labeling from Actual Over-the-counter Products (4) — Hard-to-understand measurement methods and content displays 3||65|
|July||The ABCs of Food Labeling. Learning the Basics of Food Labeling from Actual Over-the-counter Products (5) — Hard-to-understand set products||66|
|September||The ABCs of Food Labeling. Learning the Basics of Food Labeling from Actual Over-the-counter Products (6) — Learning about food labeling and hygiene business licenses from processed meat products||53|
|October||The ABCs of Food Labeling. The revised Food Sanitation Act and business licenses (7) — Learning about business licenses of the revised Food Sanitation Act, based on food labeling in stores||73|
|November||The ABCs of Food Labeling. The revised Food Sanitation Act and business licenses (8) — Learning about business licenses of the revised Food Sanitation Act, based on food labeling in stores||55|
|December||The ABCs of Food Labeling. The reduced tax rate system and food labeling (9) — Learning about total price displays and unit price displays||41|
|2021||January||Domestic and international trends in food safety (1) — Harmful substances and key points that food businesses need to know||65|
|February||Domestic and international trends in food safety (2) — Harmful substances and key points that food businesses need to know||55|
|March||Domestic and international trends in food safety (3) — Harmful substances and key points that food businesses need to know||64|
Quality Control Systems to Ensure the Safety and Security of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and Pharmaceutical Intermediates
We export and import APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates. We are also an importing agency and a domestic distributor. As such, we have prepared procedure manuals for API and intermediate export, import agency, and domestic distribution, to handle each step — from order receipt to delivery to the customer — safely, reliably, and promptly. In addition, we have established business guidelines and business procedure manuals, to ensure the proper management of APIs. We carry out regular self-inspections once a year to ensure that our business is carried out according to the procedure manuals, and we thoroughly comply with a range of commercial laws. Recently, in April 2020, a pre-license inspection of pharmaceutical manufacturing and drug sales businesses was conducted, but there were no serious points to be flagged, and a business permit was issued.
Education and Training Programs to Ensure the Safety and Security of APIs and Intermediates
At Mitsui, we have appointed a person to be in charge of education and training. We regularly give in-house training on important topics to staff involved in API or pharmaceutical intermediate work. These include the Pharmaceutical Affairs Law and related laws, the operation of Good Supplying Practice (GSP), information about the APIs handled, business guidelines and business procedures established by the Company, and emergency situations that can arise in accidents.
Collaborating with Stakeholders
Participation in Initiatives
We are promoting and expanding our efforts to address our responsibilities to customers through participation in initiatives. Participation in each initiative is decided after confirming that it is consistent with our basic policy and initiatives for our responsibilities to customers.
Japan Processed Foods Wholesalers Association
In the area of distribution, we are working on supplying safe and secure processed food products in accordance with the guidelines and manuals set out by them. Japan Processed Foods Wholesalers Association.
Japan Pharmaceutical Traders' Association
The Japan Pharmaceutical Traders' Association Co., Ltd. is an incorporated association whose objective is to support its pharmaceutical-importing member businesses. The Association works to promote pharmaceutical trade and ensure the safety and quality of imported medicines and their stable supply, to contribute to the improvement of public health. To ensure the safety and quality of imported pharmaceuticals, the Association operates laboratories that are officially registered with the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare as inspection facilities. The Association also holds workshops, seminars, and briefings on laws and regulations concerned with ensuring the quality, effectiveness, and safety of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. We have been a member of the Association since its founding in 1963, and play our part to ensure the steady import of outstanding APIs and pharmaceutical intermediates.
Acquisition of Environment-Related Certification in Company-Owned Forests "Mitsui's Forests", Forest Resources Business, etc.
Handling Certified Materials (FSC®, PEFC, SGEF Certification, etc.)
Please scroll horizontally to look at table below.
|Acquired Certifications||Coverage (Country/Region)||Certificate Holder/Outline & Scale (Handling Volume)|
FSC® certification is based on international standards established by the Forest Stewardship Council®, a non-profit committee-type organization that administers an international forest certification system.
|Forest Management (FM) certification, and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification||Company- Owned Forests "Mitsui's Forests" (Japan)||Mitsui & Co. (License Code FSC®-C057355)/All 74 locations of Mitsui's Forests (approximately 44,000 hectares) throughout Japan|
|CoC certification||Mitsui Bussan Forest (Mitsui subsidiary, License Code FSC®-C031328)/approximately 50,000 m3/year (sells timber and other products produced mostly from Mitsui's Forests)|
|Forest Resources Business (Australia)||Forest Resources Marketing Dept., Living & Environmental Business Div., Performance Materials Business Unit, Mitsui & Co. (License Code FSC®-C104107)/ woodchip: 661,000t/year (FSC Mix: 385,000t, FSC Controlled Wood: 276,000t)|
|Mitsui Bussan Woodchip Oceania Pty. (Mitsui subsidiary, License Code FSC®-C107463)/woodchip: 606,000t /year (FSC Mix: 400,000t , FSC Controlled Wood: 206,000t)|
|Procurement and sales of pulp, paper, paperboard, and paper products (globally)||Mitsui Bussan Packaging Co. (Mitsui subsidiary, License Code FSC®-C009939)/certification obtained for pulp, paper, paperboard, paper packaging materials such as corrugated carton box, household paper, and paper stationery.|
|Biomass Fuel Trading||Biomass Fuel Dept., Fuels Div., Energy Business Unit I, Mitsui & Co. (License Code FSC®-C140620)/acquired for wood pellets trading (accredited materials).|
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes
|Forest Resources Business (Australia)||Forest Resources Marketing Dept., Living & Environmental Business Div., Performance Materials Business Unit, Mitsui & Co./ woodchip: 260,000t/year|
|Biomass Fuel Trading||Biomass Fuel Dept., Fuels Div., Energy Business Unit I, Mitsui & Co. (Certificate no. SGSJP-PCOC-2026)/ acquired for wood pellets trading (accredited materials)|
SGEC certification system was developed by the Sustainable Green Ecosystem Council, a general incorporated foundation, by adapting the global sustainable forest management philosophy (known as the "Montreal Process") to the situation in Japan. SGEC and PFEC have agreed to the mutual recognition of respective forest accreditation systems since 2016.
|Forest Management (FM) certification||Company- Owned Forests "Mitsui's Forests" (Japan)||Mitsui & Co. (License Code SGSJP-031)/All 74 locations of Mitsui's Forests (approximately 44,000 hectares) throughout Japan|
|CoC certification||Mitsui Bussan Forest (Mitsui subsidiary, License Code SGSJP-W088)/approximately 40,000 m3/year (sells timber and other products produce frod mostlym Mitsui's Forests)|
Acquisition of Environment-Related Certification in Food Business
Please scroll horizontally to look at table below.
|Acquired Certifications||Coverage (Country)||Certificate Holder/Outline & Scale (Handling Volume)|
|Organic Japanese Agricultural Standard (Organic JAS)
|A system for accrediting agricultural produce grown with the lowest possible impact on the environment, in accordance with the Japanese Agricultural Standards||Japan||Feed One Co. (Mitsui affiliated company)/manufactures and sells organic JAS-certified feed materials|
|Japan||Fujieda Plant and Sutama Plant, Mitsui Norin Co. (Mitsui subsidiary)/sells organic JAS-certified tea leaves to commercial customers|
||An accreditation system by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council for "responsibly produced aquaculture products" meaning that consideration for local communities is taken and the environment is not significantly harmed||Japan||Toho Bussan Kaisha (Mitsui subsidiary)/imports and sells products in accordance with buyers' requests
|Chile||Chilean salmon farming, processing and sales company, Salmones Multiexport S. A. (Mitsui investee company; Salmex)/ has acquired certification at three aquaculture sites. Preparations are underway to acquire additional accredidations (as of the end of Jul. 2021)|
|MSC||An accreditation system by the Marine Stewardship Council for marine products harvested through sustainable fishing, with appropriate processing and distribution||Japan||Toho Bussan Kaisha/imports and sells products in accordance with buyers' requests|
|USA||Mitsui Foods, Inc. (Mitsui subsidiary, MFI)/Imports and sells canned tuna. MFI has also obtained MSC Chain of Custody certification for its thorough management at the distribution stage|
||An accreditation system by American NGO, Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), to certify sustainable aquaculture businesses based on five key aspects: environmental conservation, social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety, and traceability||Japan||Toho Bussan Kaisha (as an Endorser)/imports and sells products in accordance with buyers' requests|
|Chile||Chilean salmon farming, processing and sales company, Salmones Multiexport S. A. (Mitsui investee company, hereafter Salmex)|
|Vietnam||Shrimp exporting business company, Minh Phu Seafood Joint Stock Company ("Minh Phu," our invested company)|
||An accreditation system to certify that a company has met global standards for food safety and sustainable production management at all stages, including brood stock, farming, feed, and processing||Vietnam||Minh Phu|
Please check the status of our progress at:
|The RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) is an accreditation that stipulates the legal, economic, environmental, and social conditions required for sustainable palm oil production (8 principles and 43 criteria)||Malaysia||Mitsui and Wangsa Mujur Sdn. Bhd. (our invested company)/Both Mitsui and Wangsa Mujur operate in accordance with its policy, and we aim to increase the ratio of sustainable certified palm oil (including RSPO-certified) that we procure to 100% by 2030. Specifically, we will promote procurement based on the NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation) principle. In the fiscal year ended March 2021, RSPO-certified palm oil accounted for 6.9% of palm oil handled.|
|Rainforest Alliance Certified
Find out more at ra.org.
|Certificate is awarded to farms that follow more sustainable farming practices that protect forests and biodiversity, improve farm workers’ livelihoods, and promote their human rights||Brazil||Mitsui & Co. Coffee Trading(Brazil) Ltda (Mitsui subsidiary in Brazil)/supplies coffee beans to customers|
|Japan||Coffee Dept., Food & Beverage Materials Div., Food Business Unit, Mitsui & Co./supplies raw coffee beans to customers Confectionery & Dairy Products Dept., Food & Beverage Materials Div., Mitsui & Co./supplies accredited ingredients to confectioners|
||A system that supplements the accreditation standards for food safety and quality control in the food chain as a whole (SQF accreditation) with the food safety and hygiene standard (TSA) established by the Tokyo Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games||Japan||Prifoods Co., LTD. (Mitsui subsidiary)/2,806kg/year (supplies major supermarkets with products made at 20 plantations and the Hosoya and Hosoda package plants)|
Initiatives as Part of Business Activities
Striving for Better Nutrition － Initiative to Promote the Slow Calorie Projects to Slowly Digest Food
In Japan, lifestyle disease and unbalanced eating habits are becoming a problem, though the amount of calories and carbohydrates that people intake is decreasing. This could be due to an increase of processed foods that are soft and easy to chew with a higher degree of refinement, which speeds up digestion and absorption. At Mitsui Sugar Co., Ltd. (Mitsui Sugar), an associated company of Mitsui, a focus is placed on carbohydrates (sugars) which have a characteristic of fast absorption and are the highest intake of human among energy producing nutrients. Mitsui Sugar named the slowing down of digestion and absorption of food (especially carbohydrates) as "slow calorie", and are conducting awareness-raising activities for "slow calorie", as well as development, support, and promotion activities for products utilizing "slow calorie" in order to materialize its slogan, "create a healthy and robust body".
Striving for Better Access to Healthcare — Improving Convenience for Patients through the Introduction of Telemedicine by IHH Healthcare
With a growing number of patients wishing to avoid human contact amid the COVID-19 pandemic, IHH Healthcare Berhad ("IHH"), of which Mitsui is the largest shareholder, has begun offering telemedicine services in eight countries and regions starting from May 2020. IHH provides services tailored to the needs of each country, including online appointments and treatment with IHH doctors and home delivery of medicines. In March 2020, IHH invested in Doctor Anywhere Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based telehealth platform. With IHH, we will continue to contribute to the improvement of access to healthcare and patient satisfaction.
Striving for Better Access to Healthcare－Filling in the Supply-Demand Gaps through Drug Manufacturing, Sales and Distribution
We have been engaging in the manufacturing, sales, and distribution of high-quality pharmaceuticals needed by society, particularly in Russia, via JSC R-Pharm, which is the country's largest pharmaceuticals company, in China through Shenzhen Main Luck Pharmaceuticals Inc., and in India through Keimed Private Limited. Through such business, we are seeking to improve access to healthcare and fill in the gaps between supply and demand in the medical field in countries/regions where medical systems are underdeveloped. In addition, we are working to improve access to healthcare in those countries/regions by ensuring each country/region’s pharmaceuticals price-setting systems and regulations.
Our Approach for Effective New Drug Development－Efforts to Reduce Drug Development Costs
Mitsui has invested in TriNetX, LLC., which develops healthcare data services business with a focus on life science companies. With access to healthcare data in a network of electronic medical records at healthcare organizations across 30 countries, particularly in the United States, it provides healthcare organizations and life science companies with services that support clinical trial efficiency. Mitsui continues to contribute to reducing total medical expenses by shortening the duration of new drug development via TriNetX’s platform.
Our Approach to Responsible Marketing
Our Approach to Responsible Marketing — Responding to Consumer Needs with Video-Based Marketing by Tastemade
Mitsui's decision to invest in Tastemade was prompted by our awareness that this is an era of diversified consumption in which trends begin with consumers. We have started to take up new retail business challenges based on both Tastemade's systems that enable monitoring and analysis of vast resources of viewer data on its own, and Mitsui's evolving capabilities in the logistics field, including our traditional expertise in efficiency improvement and labor-saving methods, supply and demand forecasting, and inventory optimization.
Tastemade is a lifestyle media company. It streams videos on themes that include food, travel, and homes to a global audience of over 250 million people per month. It has built support among younger people, who are seen as immune to advertising, by creating videos with entertainment value that make people want to try new things, while introducing sponsors' products in ways that blend naturally into the content. By working with Tastemade to identify consumer needs quickly and create services that truly match those needs, we will realize enriched and more enjoyable lifestyles together with consumers.
Provision of Cutting-Edge Data Marketing Functions For Better Product Selection
Our subsidiary Legoliss Inc. ("Legoliss") helps companies to build and install Data Management Platforms (DMP) that can manage the large volume of data accumulated in day-to-day business operations and provides support for how to analyze and utilize this data. Legoliss has a brilliant track record as a leader in providing data marketing consulting and support services for many clients, including top B2C brands by planning and executing DMP strategy in online media buying and other execution channels.
Mitsui has been providing cutting-edge data marketing solutions with partners in the United States to Japanese companies. In recent years we are focusing on marketing services that contribute to the sophisticated data usage in the cloud environment. Through our investment in Legoliss, we aim to build a structure capable of providing the best of breed of solutions to meet the client demands. We continue to provide advanced data solutions through Legoliss. Currently we are providing data services with Tapad, Inc., (cross-device matching) and Foursquare Labs, Inc. (location data). We continue to enhance our value in consulting functions to provide support at all scenes from building DMP to data utilization.