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 have established our Consumer Product Handling Policy and 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, prioritizing the handling of safe products that consumers can use with peace of mind.
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.
Policy on Responsible Advertising and 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.
In utilizing social media as a marketing tool, we have established Rules on Corporate Use of Social Media. These rules prohibit the posting of content that violates copyrights, portrait rights, and other laws and regulations such as those regarding the disclosure of financial information, slanderous comments based on race, religion, gender, social status, religion, nationality, age, or physical or mental disability, and content that is deemed misleading to consumers under the Act against Unjustifiable Premiums or Misleading Representations. We have also established an account operation manual that recommends multiple mutual employee checks on accounts, and regular checks by a third party to ensure that the content of our communications does not lack consideration for the fact that many people are viewing it, and that it does not constitute inappropriate behavior. We also work to ensure employee awareness of how to handle issues such as account hijacking or identity theft.
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 that will include our consolidated subsidiaries, 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 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.
Goals and Targets
- Improve access to nutrition through the stable supply of food.
- Increase 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 Corporate Management 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 Corporate Management Committee and the Board of Directors.
|Officer in Charge||Makoto Sato (Representative Director, Senior Executive Managing Officer, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Chairperson of the Sustainability Committee)|
|Administrative Office||Corporate Sustainability Div., Corporate Planning & Strategy Div.|
Please refer to the links below for more information on Mitsui's Sustainability Management Framework and the activities of the Sustainability Committee.
ESG 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
Our modern eating habits include cooking at home and the use of processed and prepared foods from around the world. Moreover, the routes and circumstances by which food reaches us have become more international and diverse. This requires us to ensure the safety and security of food both in Japan and overseas. In our Retail Business Unit, to further enhance our system to ensure food safety and security by preserving the quality of goods and services sold or provided on a group basis, we have each business unit and division appoint a quality assurance manager and set up a quality assurance governance system on a consolidated basis, seeking to strengthen cooperation within the Mitsui Group.
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 our Food Business Unit's MONOZUKURI Dept. and has one Food Safety Management Committee member from the Food 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. The Units has also 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 the fiscal year ended March 31, 2022, there were two violations related to pesticide residues, but no serious violations of the Food Sanitation Act.
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, GOYO Foods Industry Co., Ltd.|
|FSSC22000||Mitsui Norin, GOYO Foods Industry Co., Ltd., PRI Foods, Feed One, KADOYA SESAME MILLS, ADEKA FOODS, The Kumphawapi Sugar, Kaset Phol Sugar, TOKYO DAIRY|
Education and Training Programs to Ensure Food Safety and Security
Mitsui conducts risk management for food safety and security, promoting compliance with laws and regulations and encouraging proper labeling through its monthly Food Safety Seminar for employees of Mitsui and our affiliated companies. The seminar was launched in October 2002 and has been held a total of 231 times as of March 2023. The table below summarizes the content of the seminars that were held during the financial period ended March 2022, and the number of attendees to each. A cumulative total of 707 employees from our company and our affiliated companies attended the seminars over this period.
Food Safety Seminar (FY Mar/2023)
Please scroll horizontally to look at table below.
|Month held||Theme||Number of Attendees|
|2022||April||"Domestic and international trends in food safety — 1 & Considering the causes of mysterious food hazards from case studies + Q&A session"||78|
|May||"Food habits and hazardous substances — 8 & Examples of seasonal food hazards and Q&A session"||79|
|June||"Food habits and hazardous substances — 9 & Food hazard case studies and Q&A session"||76|
|July||"Considering examples of Whistleblower Protection Act cases involving food sanitation law violations and food labeling violations"||71|
|September||"Considering the future of QC/QA — Case studies from government, consumers and business partners when complaints occur"||41|
|October||"Considering the future of QC/QA —What are effective countermeasures when a complaint occurs? Considerations based on case studies"||54|
|November||"A new look at rodent-proofing based on a Q&A session at a study meeting on rat claims"||45|
|December||"Food claims and legal liability considerations — 2"||30|
|2023||January||"The Correlation between allergy labeling and food allergies, and considering allergens — 1"||85|
|February||"The Correlation between allergy labeling and food allergies, and considering allergens — 2"||79|
|March||"The Correlation between allergy labeling and food allergies, and considering allergens — 3"||69|
Quality Control Systems to Ensure the Safety and Security of Pharmaceutical products
We export pharmaceutical products. We are also an importing agency and a domestic distributor. As such, we have prepared procedure manuals for pharmaceutical product handling — 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 pharmaceutical products. 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 at our company-owned facilities and elsewhere.
Education and Training Programs to Ensure the Safety and Security of Pharmaceutical products
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 work relating to pharmaceutical products. These include the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Law (Act on Securing Quality, Efficacy and Safety of Products Including Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices) and related laws, the operation of Good Supplying Practice (GSP), information about the pharmaceutical products handled, business guidelines and business procedures established by the Company, and emergency situations that can arise in accidents and other necessary matters.
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 pharmaceutical products, etc.
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)/74 locations of Mitsui's Forests (approximately 44,000 hectares) throughout Japan|
|CoC certification||Mitsui Bussan Forest (Subsidiary, License Code FSC®-C031328)/approximately 40,000 m3/year (sells timber and other products produced mostly from Mitsui's Forests)|
|Forest Resources Business (Australia, etc.)||Forest Resources Marketing Dept., Living & Environmental Business Div., Performance Materials Business Unit, Mitsui & Co. (License Code FSC®-C104107)/ acquired for woodchips|
|Mitsui Bussan Woodchip Oceania Pty. (Mitsui subsidiary, License Code FSC®-C107463)/ acquired for woodchips|
|Procurement and sales of pulp, paper, paperboard, and paper products (globally)||Mitsui Bussan Packaging Co. (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/ acquired for woodchips|
|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 PEFC 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)/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 from mostly 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. (affiliated company)/manufactures and sells organic JAS-certified feed materials|
|Japan||Mitsui Norin Co. (subsidiary)/sells organic JAS-certified products|
||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||Mitsui & Co. Seafoods Ltd. (subsidiary)/imports and sells products in accordance with buyers' requests
|Chile||Chilean salmon farming, processing and sales company, Multi X S. A. (Mitsui investee company)/ has acquired certification at three aquaculture sites. Preparations are underway to acquire additional accreditations (as of the end of Dec. 2021)|
|MSC||An accreditation system by the Marine Stewardship Council for marine products harvested through sustainable fishing, with appropriate processing and distribution||Japan||Mitsui & Co. Seafoods Ltd./imports and sells products in accordance with buyers' requests|
|USA||Mitsui Foods, Inc. (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||Mitsui & Co. Seafoods Ltd. (as an Endorser)/imports and sells products in accordance with buyers' requests|
|Chile||Chilean salmon farming, processing and sales company, Multi X S. A. (Mitsui investee company)|
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. (Mitsui investee 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 FY Mar/2023, RSPO-certified palm oil accounted for 12.2% 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 (subsidiary in Brazil)/supplies coffee beans to customers|
|Japan||Coffee Dept., Food & Beverage Materials Div., Food Business Unit/supplies raw coffee beans to customers Confectionery & Dairy Products Dept., Food & Beverage Materials Div., Mitsui & Co./supplies accredited ingredients to confectioners
Mitsui Norin (Mitsui subsidiary)/sells tea and beverage products
||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. (subsidiary)/(supplies major supermarkets with products made at 20 plantations and the Hosoya plant and Hosoda package plant)|
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".
Initiative for Better Access to Healthcare — IHH Healthcare Improves Access to Healthcare through a newly launched patient-centric app in Singapore, MyHealth360
IHH Healthcare Berhad ("IHH"), of which Mitsui is the largest shareholder, launched the MyHealth360 app for patients in Singapore in September 2022. From making appointments and estimating bill size to accessing laboratory test results and tele-consultations, the features of the apps bridges online and offline care on a single platform, offering high-quality care to patients. In March 2020, IHH invested in Doctor Anywhere Pte Ltd., a Singapore-based telehealth platform, and made additional investments into the company in August 2021 and December 2022. We will continue to contribute to improving access to healthcare and patient satisfaction through digitalization.
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, and in China through affiliate company Shenzhen Main Luck Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Wellesta Holdings Pte. which widely covers the same field across Southeast Asia. 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 owns one of the world's largest collaborative research platforms that uses anonymized data from electronic medical records. TriNetX provides healthcare organizations and life science companies with services that help streamline clinical trial operations, analyze data, generate evidence, and optimize postmarketing surveillance of side effects. 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
Responding to Consumer Needs with Video-Based Marketing by Tastemade
Customer preferences and consumption patterns are diversifying. Responding to these changing times, Mitsui uses U.S. company Tastemade, Inc. and its Japanese arm Tastemade Japan, which is our affiliate company, to disseminate information via new means desired by its customers rather than simply distributing the same information to the masses in a uniform manner.
Tastemade is a lifestyle media company. It streams video content about topics including food, travel, and homes to a monthly global audience of over 300 million people. It has built support among younger people, who are seen as less affected by advertising, by producing entertaining videos that make people want to try new things, while including sponsors' products naturally in the content.
By leveraging the strengths of Tastemade's system that enables the collection and analysis of its huge volume of viewership data, we are able to identify potential consumer needs that have not been apparent until now, based on viewers' interests and reactions. By working with Tastemade, we hope to make consumers' lifestyles richer and more enjoyable, creating products and services that truly match their needs.
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 large volumes 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 have been 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 solutions to meet the client demands and deliver more advanced and comprehensive marketing support services.
Amidst the growing global trend of stricter regulation of the use of consumer data, Legoliss is currently working on advanced solutions in the United States (Zefr, Inc., which improves performance of video advertising without the use of personal data; cross-device business Tapad, Inc.; and location data-related business Foursquare Labs, Inc.). In addition, Legoliss also handles services for Socialdatabase, a Dutch social media (Twitter) data-related company. We have also started to offer a Consent Management Platform in response to the strengthening of personal information protection laws. We will continue to strive for sophistication in our data marketing support capabilities and answer diversifying consumer needs while considering global trends.