Policies and Basic Approach
As Mitsui & Co. conducts business globally in many countries and regions around the world, we recognize that we must make efforts to respect human rights not only within our own company but also across our supply chain. Therefore, we regard respect for human rights that follows international standards as the foundation of our sustainability management. To date, we have continued to emphasize respect for human rights in both the Mitsui & Co. Group Conduct Guidelines and our Business Conduct Guidelines for Employees and Officers of Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and we have implemented various initiatives.
Human rights initiatives in the corporate sector are becoming increasingly important as every year passes, and in August 2020, we formulated a Human Rights Policy to clarify our approach to human rights and promote our initiatives. This policy was approved by the Corporate Management Committee, and was reported to the Board of Directors meeting.
The Mitsui & Co. group will promote respect for human rights in accordance with this Policy and in line with international standards.
Human Rights Policy
We will strive to respect human rights through our group business activities in countries and regions around the world, in accordance with our Sustainability Policy and this Policy.
In addition, we expect various stakeholders including our business partners, to understand and respect human rights in line with this Policy, and aim to collaboratively promote respect for human rights.
- Respecting Human Rights in our Business Activities
- We strive not to infringe on human rights in our business activities, nor to contribute to human rights infringements by others through our business relationships, including supply chains.
- Respecting Internationally Recognized Human Rights Standards
- We are committed to respecting human rights, which we understand as, at minimum, those set out in the International Bill of Human Rights, including the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and the ILO (International Labour Organization) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We also support the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact and conduct our business activities in line with these Principles. We comply with laws and regulations of the countries and regions in which we conduct our business activities. Where internationally recognized human rights standards and national/regional laws and regulations are in conflict, we seek ways to honor the principles of internationally recognized human rights while complying with the laws and regulations.
- Governance / Management Structure
- Our Board of Directors is responsible for overseeing the adherence to this Policy and the Policy implementation.
- Human Rights Due Diligence
- We will implement human rights due diligence to identify, assess, prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts associated with our business activities.
- Human Rights Issues related to Business Activities
- Forced Labor
We do not tolerate forced labor. In addition, we do not tolerate any forms of modern slavery, including bonded labor or human trafficking.
- Child Labor
We do not tolerate child labor, and we comply with the minimum working age stipulated by the law. We do not hire individuals that are under the age of 18 for roles requiring hazardous work.
We prohibit any form of discrimination based on race, creed, sex, social status, religion, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical and mental disability or any other grounds. We respect the individuality and diversity of each individual employee and officer of the Mitsui & Co. group, and seek to cultivate an environment in which they can perform to the best of their abilities.
- Harassment and Inhumane Treatment
We do not tolerate any form of harassment, whether physical or mental, including sexual harassment or power harassment. Furthermore, we prohibit any language or behavior that could be harmful to the working environment of others including discriminatory language or behavior as well as harassment.
- Freedom of Association and Right to Collective Bargaining
We respect the rights of employees to associate freely and bargain collectively in our labor-management relations.
- Working Hours and Wages
We monitor employees' working hours, holidays, leaves of absence and wages to ensure we are operating in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
- Occupational Health and Safety
In line with applicable laws and regulations, we aim to develop safe, healthy working environments in which every individual employee can work with peace of mind.
- Community Impact
To prevent adverse impacts on the safety and health of local communities, we conduct human rights impact assessments, covering issues such as prevention of pollution and water stress, and implement necessary measures in line with international standards to avoid risks and mitigate negative impacts.
- Stakeholder Engagement
- We believe it is critical to understand human rights issues from the perspectives of affected stakeholders. We further recognize that certain groups of stakeholders are more vulnerable to adverse human rights impacts and thus require special attention. We therefore value the importance of dialogues with relevant parties and strive to properly respond to human rights issues associated with our business activities.
- Where we identify that our business activities have caused adverse human rights impact or contributed to it through our business transactions including our supply chains, we will work to remediate such impacts through appropriate processes.
- Grievance Mechanisms
- We continue to build upon our whistleblowing procedures and grievance mechanisms to promptly identify and respond to human rights issues related to our employees and officers or wider business activities.
- Education and Training
- We will provide necessary training and capacity building to our employees and officers to ensure that they understand this Policy and act in line with the commitments in this Policy.
- We will continuously report our efforts and progress on respecting human rights through our reports, websites, and other communication channels.
Formulated in August 2020
Revised in February 2022
Representative Director, Senior Executive Managing Officer,
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO),
Chairperson of the Sustainability Committee
Initiatives for Specific Issues
- Children's Rights
- We support the Children's Rights and Business Principles and strive to conduct business activities with respect to children's rights.
- Rights of Indigenous Peoples
- We strive to respect the human rights and cultures of indigenous peoples by complying with all applicable laws and regulations of the countries and regions in which we conduct our business activities as well as by respecting relevant international standards such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention: C169), and the principle of "free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).
- Activities of Security Personnel
- When advancing business activities around the world, we hire security companies to ensure the safety of these business activities. We recognize that security operations pose a risk of potential human rights violations through the use of force, so when appointing a security company, we comply with relevant local laws and regulations in the countries and regions in which we conduct our business activities, and select security companies based on relevant international standards such as the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, and the Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
Goals and Targets
Progress toward Targets
Sustainability Governance and Oversight
The Compliance Department of the Legal Division leads compliance-related initiatives under the direction and supervision of the Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and in collaboration with the Compliance Supervising Officers (including Business Unit COOs and general managers of branch offices) appointed in each of Mitsui's units and offices in Japan and overseas. The objectives of these efforts implemented on a Mitsui & Co. global group basis are to prevent human rights problems by thoroughly raising compliance awareness, including awareness of issues such as harassment and discrimination, improving and strengthening compliance programs, and responding to specific compliance-related matters as they arise.
The Sustainability Committee works under the Corporate Management Committee to plan, formulate and provide proposals on basic management policies, business activities, and corporate policies and strategies related to human rights.
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)
|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.
Human Rights Management
The Board of Directors of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. is responsible for overseeing the adherence to this Policy, and the Corporate Management Committee makes material decisions regarding the Policy execution. The Sustainability Committee, a subordinate body of the Corporate Management Committee, is in charge of deciding detailed plans based on this Policy, as well as and planning and developing measures, and building and maintaining a framework for Policy implementation.
Business Risk Management
When participating in a new business, expanding a business, or withdrawing from a business, we use ESG due diligence checklists to assess the ESG-related impact of each business division, including human rights and environmental impact such as climate change, pollution prevention, ecosystems, and water stress. For human rights, we carry out internal screening based on these checklists, covering aspects such as occupational health and safety, and the impact of business development on the human rights of local residents and other stakeholders. For projects that pose significant risks related to the environment, society, and corporate governance, when launching a project, during operations, or when withdrawing from a project, we consult with the Sustainability Advisory Board comprising external experts in matters such as human rights and the environment as necessary to receive advice on reducing risk. Ultimately, the final decision on whether or not to proceed with any given project and how matters should be handled going forward is made through the ringi (circular executive approval) process by the Corporate Management Committee, the Board of Directors, and representative directors, all of whom supervise ESG risks, in accordance with the predetermined qualitative and quantitative standards. We have also created business-specific environmental and social risk heat maps that summarize key environmental and social risks for each representative business field based on past examples, etc., for use when considering investment and participation in new business.
No reports concerning human rights violations were received in the fiscal year ended March 2023.
- In-house consultation channels
- In addition to personnel and workplace-related consultation services, we have established various consultation services addressing employees' physical and mental health.
- Grievance Mechanism for the General Public and Other Stakeholders
- On the Mitsui & Co, website, we have established the following framework for receiving complaints and inquiries regarding sustainability from all stakeholders, including those across our supply chain. When inquiries are received, we protect the privacy of the inquirers and ensure appropriate confidentiality.
When receiving complaints or inquiries regarding sustainability, the Corporate Sustainability Division will serve as the contact point, and depending on the nature of the complaint or inquiry, will take responsibility for the response in cooperation with the appropriate Business Units, Corporate Staff Divisions or other related divisions.
After receiving a complaint or inquiry, in principle we will respond to or engage with the complainant/inquirer within one week.
Collaborating with Stakeholders
Participation in Initiatives
We are promoting and expanding our efforts to address human rights through participation in initiatives. Participation in each initiative is decided after confirming that it is consistent with our basic policy and initiatives for human rights.
United Nations Global Compact
Mitsui & Co. signed and pledged its support for the UN Global Compact in October 2004, and has been participating as a corporate director of the Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ), complying with the Global Compact as part of its own corporate guidelines. At present, as a member company of the GCNJ, Mitsui complies with and practices the Global Compact, and pursues SDGs on a global group basis. We participate in working groups of Global Compact Network Japan, such as the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) Working Group.
Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®)
The Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) is an international non-profit organization that promotes management of the world's forests in a way that is environmentally appropriate, economically viable, and socially beneficial, including with regard to respect for human rights. Mitsui has obtained FSC® forest management (FM) certification (FSC®-C057355) at 74 of its forests, which in 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 (FSC®-C031328). As one of the top private-sector suppliers in terms of volume of FSC®-certified Japanese-grown lumber, Mitsui is helping to promote FSC® in Japan and to discuss and draft the Japanese version of principles, standards, and risk assessments. Mitsui has obtained FSC® certification for its forest resources business as well, and promotes responsible management of forest resources.
RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is a non-profit organization established to promote the sustainable production and utilization of palm oil through the conservation of tropical rain forests and biodiversity. Palm oil production has been linked to the destruction of tropical forests through the development of oil palm plantations, as well as human rights issues. As a business that handles palm oil, Mitsui agrees with the RSPO's philosophy of contributing to sustainability through industry. Since joining the organization as an ordinary member in 2008, we have been collaborating on business-based sustainable procurement initiatives that take into account the conservation of tropical forests and biodiversity, respect for the rights of indigenous and local peoples, and other considerations. A sustainability-focused procurement code, including specific standards for palm oil, has been formulated for the 2021 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. In connection with this, Mitsui representatives as members of an oil and fat industry association verified progress on and promoted initiatives related to the RSPO and activities under the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) and Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) systems.
Japan Business Federation (Keidanren)
As a member of the Task Force on Business and Human Rights, we participate in efforts to gauge the extent to which the management of companies in Japan are engaged in respect for human rights as well as efforts to promote human rights-focused management. we participate in the Task Force on Business and Human Rights, which strives to monitor movement related to the promotion of management that respects human rights and advances initiatives aimed at realizing this kind of management.
Human Rights Due Diligence
In accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in the fiscal year ended March 2020, we appointed external experts and began conducting due diligence with regard to human rights in the supply chains of products handled by Mitsui and overseas trading affiliates, as well as the main business operations of consolidated subsidiaries.
Our first step was to identify business areas with significant human rights risks. We established human rights identification and screening criteria based on international indicators and other tools, and carried out screening processes. The next step was to identify human rights risk items in preparation for the implementation of human rights assessments. These human rights risk items comprehensively encompass the social aspects of international norms and standards relating to corporate social responsibility, as well as items relating to human rights and labor practice. We also added priority risk management items in supply chains. In particular, items in the four areas identified by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as core labor standards were assessed as priority high-risk items.
Human rights risk items are specified in the Human Rights Policy and the Sustainable Supply Chain Policy as human rights issues related to business activities.
The results of risk assessments by external experts identified a significant risk of the occurrence of human rights issues such as forced labor and child labor in our supply chains mainly related to food, textiles, building materials, and mining, primarily in emerging countries in production regions including Southeast Asia, Africa, and South America (high-risk areas). Subsequently, as part of our human rights due diligence efforts, we conduct supplier surveys that ask questions in line with our Sustainable Supply Chain Policy, including whether any human rights issues have occurred in the supply chain in these high-risk areas, and assessing situations regarding forced labor and child labor, and we carry out onsite visits to suppliers if necessary.
We carried out supplier surveys covering all major suppliers identified in the fiscal year ended March 2020 as high-risk areas by the fiscal year ended March 2023. Of the surveys and on-site visits carried out, no serious human rights issues were confirmed, however the results showed that we need to reiterate explanations of our initiatives to suppliers who have yet to formulate human rights policies or who have insufficient understanding of the relevant laws and regulations. We will continue to work with our suppliers to encourage an understanding of human rights and to ensure these rights are respected throughout supply chains in order to reduce the risk of human rights violations.
In our Medium-Term Management Plan 2026, we have committed to further strengthening our initiatives to respect human rights in our business activities by improving the effectiveness of our human rights due diligence, collaborating with suppliers, and expanding internal processes.
Please refer to the link below for details of our initiatives and achievements.
Respecting Indigenous Peoples
When conducting operations, we comply with all laws of the applicable country or region, and strive to respect the human rights and cultures of indigenous people in each country and region in accordance with international standards, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Convention Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries (ILO Convention: C169).
For example, the operations of our forest resource business in Australia are guided by respect for the traditional rights of the indigenous peoples. We have and we ensured accountability by obtaining through certification (FSC® -C107463), which requires regular audits by third-party certification bodies. This certification is based on 10 major principles, including respect for the traditional rights of indigenous peoples. There are stringent audits covering such aspects as whether or not Mitsui's management of business operations gives consideration to traditional indigenous rights, and whether or not measures are taken to prevent damage to significant cultural sites, etc. In our iron ore mining operation in Brazil, we maintain close communication with the indigenous people living in the Amazon Rainforest to foster mutual respect.
In Japan, 74 of Mitsui's Forests have obtained FSC® certification (FSC® -C057355) and we conduct forest management respecting the traditions and culture of indigenous people. In Hokkaido, where a part of Mitsui's Forests is located, Mitsui has entered into agreements with the Biratori Ainu Association and with the town of Biratori to cooperate in activities to protect, and pass on, traditional indigenous culture through the conservation of forests.
Mitsui Australia, in cooperation with its consolidated subsidiaries in Australia, is engaged in a range of initiatives to ensure respect for the rights of the indigenous people in Australia. These include training for employees, Acknowledgement of Country (a statement of respect for indigenous peoples) at major events and meetings, and the planning of new initiatives through regular information exchanges among staff from each branch and subsidiary.
Employees' Human Rights
As a company engaged in business on a global scale, we not only work to promote diversity and inclusion, but also take various steps to prevent harassment and discrimination. These measures include establishing whistleblowing systems that allow an employee to report compliance issues, including cases relating to human rights and discrimination, and obtain advice through channels within or outside the employee's direct reporting line. Another example of our efforts in this area is our fostering of a "speak up" culture in which employees are encouraged to report situations that concern them. We have also established the Compliance Committee as a forum for discussing all matters relating to compliance. With an Audit & Supervisory Board Member and an external attorney as an observer, the Compliance Committee discusses action plans for improving our compliance framework based on various compliance-related matters that have been reported. Minutes of committee meetings are released on the company intranet. We will continue to implement initiatives to ensure respect for the human rights of our employees, including implementing training programs and raising awareness of relevant policies.
Human Rights Training
We carry out various training programs to ensure thorough awareness of our Human Rights Policy at workplaces and that respect for human rights is incorporated into operations. In addition to compliance training, which includes prevention of harassment and other human rights and character violations, we also carry out online training for domestic and overseas employees of Mitsui and consolidated subsidiaries on human rights initiatives in the supply chain.
|Training program details
|Participants/Number of Times
|We invited Daisuke Takahashi, an attorney at Shinwa Sogo Law Office, who supervised the development of the "Sustainable Supply Chain Management Handbook," to conduct online training for suppliers of Mitsui and consolidated subsidiaries, along with employees of Mitsui and consolidated subsidiaries in Japan and overseas. The training focused on our human rights policy and initiatives, and on how to conduct human rights due diligence in supply chain management.
|Approx. 450 persons
|In order to raise awareness regarding our Sustainable Supply Chain Policy and supply chain management initiatives among suppliers to Mitsui and consolidated subsidiaries and employees of Mitsui and consolidated subsidiaries engaged in procurement, we invited external speakers from the international conservation NGO WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) to hold online training sessions on environmental and human rights issues concerning the natural rubber, palm oil, timber and paper products businesses.
|We carried out online human rights training for employees to raise awareness of human rights and labor issues in the global supply chain.
|Approx. 6,000 persons
|Mitsui & Co. Australia invited an external lecturer to conduct an online compliance seminar for employees of Mitsui & Co. Australia and Mitsui & Co NZ, as well as employees of consolidated subsidiaries in Australia, on the prevention of discrimination and harassment, including actual cases.
|We carried out compliance training, including prevention of harassment and other human rights and character violations, as well as seminars and workshops on important domestic and foreign laws and regulations, for new employees (including general contract employees and temporary employees) and managers by job classification, and for employees heading to overseas assignments and transfers to group companies.
|An external expert was invited to hold an online training session on developments concerning responses to and disclosure of human rights violations involving not only Mitsui's business operations, but also entire connected value chains.
|Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd. invited an external lecturer to conduct online workshops on the theme of "unconscious bias in the workplace", with the aim of deepening employees' understanding of diversity, learning about unconscious bias, and evaluating the impact of their own words and actions.
|We carried out compliance training, including prevention of harassment and other human rights and character violations, as well as seminars and workshops on important domestic and foreign laws and regulations, for new employees (including general contract employees and temporary employees) and managers by job classification, and for employees about to embark on overseas assignments and transfers to group companies.