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Human Rights

Policies and Basic Approach


As Mitsui & Co. conducts business globally in many countries and regions around the world, we regard respect for human rights following international standards as the foundation of our sustainability management. We have emphasized 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 have become increasingly important in recent years. We recognize the need for human rights initiatives not only within Mitsui, but also across the entire supply chains. In our Medium-term Management Plan 2023, we identified business & human rights as a priority sustainability management issue, and in August 2020, we formulated a Human Rights Policy to clarify our approach to human rights as the basis for initiatives in this area. This policy was approved by the Corporate Management Committee, and was reported to the Board of Directors meeting.
In accordance with our Human Rights Policy, the Mitsui & Co. group will respect human rights in our activities as a group. We also aim to promote respect for the human rights of all stakeholders connected to our business activities in collaboration with our business partners.

Human Rights Policy

Mitsui & Co.'s mission is to "build brighter futures, everywhere" through realizing a better tomorrow for earth and for people around the world. As challengers and innovators, we create and grow business while addressing material issues for sustainable development. To realize this mission and vision, Mitsui & Co. Group views respect for human rights as a foundational value, as stated in our Group Conduct Guidelines.

This Human Rights Policy ("Policy") sets out our group-wide approach to human rights throughout our business activities in countries and regions around the world, and Mitsui & Co. Group commits to operate with respect for human rights following 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 understood as, at minimum, those set out in the International Bill 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
The Board of Directors of Mitsui & Co., Ltd. is responsible for overseeing the adherence to this Policy and the Policy implementation.
Human Rights Due Diligence
We commit to 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.
  • Discrimination
    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 each employees' individuality and diversity 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 heightened 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.
Remedy
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 or wider business activities.
Education and Training
We will provide necessary training and capacity building to our executives and employees to ensure that they understand this Policy and act in line with the commitments in this Policy.
Reporting
We will continuously report our efforts and progress on respecting human rights through our reports, websites, and other communication channels.

Formulated in August 2020

Shinichiro Omachi
Representative Director, Executive Vice President
Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) Chairperson of the Sustainability Committee

Initiative 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.
Response to the Modern Slavery Act
We work to ensure that our operation and supply chains have absolutely no links to modern day slavery, such as compulsory labor, or human trafficking.

The UK Modern Slavery Act

The Australian Modern Slavery Bill

Goals and Targets


  • Carrying out due diligence regarding human rights in our business operations and working to identify, assess, and correct any negative human rights impacts.
  • Ensuring that Mitsui & Co. group employees are fully aware of our Human Rights Policy and collaborate with business partners to encourage respect for human rights.
  • Working to carry out surveys of all major suppliers of Head Office, overseas trading affiliates, and consolidated subsidiaries that are engaged in high-risk areas by the end of FY Mar/2023, in order to understand the human rights situations within our supply chains.

Progress toward Targets

FY Mar/2021
  • Formulated the Human Rights Policy.
  • Carried out human rights and compliance training for 392 employees.
  • Carried out surveys of 293 suppliers and site visits of two suppliers to Head Office and certain consolidated subsidiaries that are engaged in high-risk areas, confirming there were no human rights issues.
FY Mar/2020
  • Identified areas of high risk in regard to human rights in the supply chains of the main business operations of Mitsui, overseas trading affiliates, and consolidated subsidiaries.
  • Carried out surveys of 11 suppliers and site visits of one supplier to Head Office that are engaged in high-risk areas, confirming there were no human rights issues.

Sustainability Governance and Oversight


Compliance Framework

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.


Compliance and Integrity: Compliance Framework

Sustainability Management

The Sustainability Committee works under the Executive 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 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
Positioning
  • A subordinate committee of the Executive Committee, which is the decision-making body
  • Important matters related to human rights that have been deliberated by the Committee are discussed and reported to the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.
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.


Our Approach to Sustainability: Sustainability Governance and Oversight

Our Approach to Sustainability: 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 and measures for the 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 an Environmental & Societal Advisory Committee 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.
No reports concerning human rights violations were received in FY Mar/2021.


ESG-Related Risk Management

Consultation Channels

In-house consultation channels
We have established consultation channels through which individual employees can discuss concerns, anxieties, or dissatisfaction with the aim of finding solutions, workplace comment boxes in which employees can provide opinions and requests concerning improvements to working environments, and various consultation services addressing employees' physical and mental health.
Contact points for the general public and other stakeholders
On the Mitsui & Co, website, we have established the following framework for receiving opinions, proposals, grievances, and other feedback from customers and other stakeholders.

Contact points


Contact Us

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.


Participation in Initiatives: United Nations Global Compact

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 at all 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 the biggest supplier of Japanese-grown lumber with FSC® certification, 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.


Participation in Initiatives: Japan Business Federation (Keidanren)

Initiatives


Human Rights Due Diligence

Human Rights Risk Assessment Process

In accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in FY Mar/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.
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. In response to these results, we added questions to supplier surveys probing whether any human rights issues have occurred in high-risk areas and assessing situations regarding forced labor and child labor, and we carry out onsite inspections of suppliers if necessary.
We plan to carry out supplier surveys covering all major suppliers engaged in high-risk areas by FY Mar/2023. In FY Mar/2021, we carried out surveys of 293 suppliers to Head Office and consolidated subsidiaries. Although there were no serious human rights issues detected, 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.


Supply Chain Management: Engagement with Suppliers

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 each country or region's indigenous peoples 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 obtainingthrough® 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, all 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.

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 the participation of external attorneys, 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.


Diversity

Compliance and Integrity: Whistleblowing System

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. We also implemented harassment-related training, which is mandatory for all line managers and employees in managerial positions equivalent to line managers, as part of our efforts to prevent such occurrences.

  Training program details Participants
FY Mar/2022
  • 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.
130
FY Mar/2021
  • 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.
392


230
FY Mar/2020
  • Ms. Asako Nagai of Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) was invited to give lectures for all employees at Head Office. Ms. Nagai gave a presentation on "Trends in Business and Human Rights" at a meeting of Sustainability Promotion Officers
  • Mitsui & Co. (Australia) Ltd. invited external lawyers to give seminars on preventing harassment and discrimination and compliance related to unconscious bias, as well as training on responding to the Australian Modern Slavery Bill.

Sustainability Report 2020: Human Rights Training (PDF 577KB)

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Compliance and Integrity: Compliance Education and Training

Supply Chain Management: Employee Initiatives