Primary contents from here.
Respect for Human Rights
Policy on Respect for Human Rights
The ITOCHU Mission "Committed to the Global Good" stands at the heart of the ITOCHU Group's corporate philosophy. The “Global good” refers not only to improved living standards, but also a general sense of well-being. ITOCHU, as a company with diverse operations worldwide, respect human rights and individuality, and is committed to the global good of society and individuals alike.
Accompanying this corporate philosophy, the ITOCHU Values consist of five values important for fulfilling the ITOCHU Mission “Committed to the Global Good.” One of those values is “Diversity,” under which the Group holds the human rights and individuality of every person as important.
Based on this policy, ITOCHU supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations in 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all people and all nations. Furthermore, ITOCHU participated in the United Nations Global Compact in 2009 which is derived from this Declaration and other international standards.
Guided by this approach, we clearly prohibit the violation of human rights and sexual harassment in its employment regulations, and have outlined punitive measures to be taken against those who engage in such conduct.
Excerpt from the ITOCHU Group Philosophy and Code of Conduct Booklet
Respecting human rights and individuality
We value the rights and individuality of each person. We show respect and are attentive to others regardless of gender, race, religion, or position. We don’t discuss matters that cause discomfort; we don’t discriminate or harass; we respect basic labor rights and eliminate forced labor and child labor.
Excerpt from the United Nations Global Compact
Principle 1:Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.
Raising Awareness Internally of Respect for Human Rights
In-House CSR Seminar Held on “Human Rights and Global Business for a General Trading Company”
On March 6, 2012, the seventh CSR in-house seminar, “Human Rights and Global Business for a General Trading Company,” was held at the company’s head office in Tokyo. Mr. Hideki Wakabayashi, Executive Director of Amnesty International Japan, the international human rights NGO and public interest group, was invited to speak.
As a general trading company that operates around the world and plays an important role in supply chains, the company held this seminar to keep up with the latest developments relating to corporate business and human rights, and use this knowledge for its business. Attending the seminar were 110 employees of Itochu Corporation and its related group companies.
Mr. Wakabayashi spoke on developments in international human rights standards and the relationship between business and human rights, giving specific examples. Afterward a question-and-answer session was held, where participants discussed the difficulty of addressing human rights issues in the supply chain. Opinions were also actively exchanged on other issues such as specific effects related to international human rights standards today.
Comments from seminar participants included, “Human rights abuses are a more common problem than I realized” and “[Infringement of human rights] is not just someone else’s problem, but could also happen in an environment like Itochu, and we need to be aware of that.”
Raising awareness through internal training programs
We work to extensively embed understanding of human rights through in-house training programs held each year. In the training program for new recruits, they are instructed to acquire the proper mindset for respecting human rights that they should have as members of the ITOCHU family. In in-house training for organization heads, sexual harassment and power harassment issues are discussed, and a thorough understanding of human rights is fostered. In fiscal 2012, 295 people participated in human rights training.
Number of employees participated in human rights training programs
|Number of empolyees participated|
|Training for New Recruits||140 people|
|Training for newly-appointed managers||58 people|
|Training for trainers of newly-hired employees||97 people|
Establishment of a 24-Hour Employee Consultation Desk System
- Employee Consultation Desk and Hotline
ITOCHU has set up an employee consultation desk to allow employees to discuss problems they may be individually confronting. A “HR Help Guide Book” has also been posted to the ITOCHU intranet, and efforts to broadly raise employee awareness of the consultation desk are made as part of a structure that allows employees to consult on issues of concern. An external Hotline System staffed by independent counselors has also been established.
- Career Counseling Center
ITOCHU was one of the first Japanese companies to establish its own Career Counseling Center, where employees can consult regarding not only their individual careers, but on workplace culture, interaction with colleagues, remuneration, harassment, and other issues. Consultations can take place via phone, fax, email, post, or other means, and are dealt with by expert office staff.
Raising Awareness Through Various Publications
In an effort to avoid violations of human rights in the workplace, ITOCHU strives to raise awareness of human rights through a variety of publications distributed to all employees.
- ITOCHU’s basic stance regarding respect for human rights is conveyed in a booklet explaining the ITOCHU Group’s corporate philosophy and code of conduct to all employees.
- The Compliance Handbook has pages on respect for human rights, as well as power and sexual harassment, giving concrete examples of such conduct in an effort to avoid any violations of human rights in the workplace.
- A pocket-sized card on proper workplace etiquette details rules on the strict prohibition of any forms of harassment.
Fair and Honest Recruitment
At ITOCHU, recruitment decisions are based solely on an individual’s abilities and merits, for fair and honest recruitment practices without regard for age, sex, or nationality. A watchdog system for ensuring fair and honest recruitment is also in place, and employees are selected and notified to serve as watchdogs and to promote awareness of human rights.
Human Rights in the Supply Chain
Consideration for human rights and labor in the supply chain is an important CSR issue for companies with transactions that take place on a global scale.
At ITOCHU, each Division Company surveys the actual situation in this regard among its suppliers, checking to ensure that suppliers are not engaged in forced labor, child labor or any other immoral labor practices.
Click here to read more about surveying actual labor practices in the supply chain.