Respect for Human Rights

Policies Related to 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.
We apply the concepts of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were adopted in June 2011, to our risk management and other activities. We also take steps to raise awareness of these principles among our employees.
Guided by this approach, we clearly prohibit the violation of human rights (prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, creed, nationality, physical condition, illness, age or other unreasonable causes) and sexual harassment (including discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity) in our 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

Human Rights
Principle 1:Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and
Principle 2: Business should make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

Respect for Human Rights in Business Activities

ITOCHU Corporation engages in business activities all over the world and conducts its business while respecting people's human rights in each of the regions in which it operates.

Respecting the Rights of Indigenous People

As part of its commitment to respecting human rights, when conducting business activities in regions that are home to indigenous populations, ITOCHU will recognize the unique cultures and histories of such peoples and endeavor to respect and consider their human rights in accordance with the laws of the country or region concerned as well as international agreements such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Further, when considering investing in new business projects, ITOCHU will enforce prior checks on how such projects might impact the rights of indigenous people.

Approach to Engaging the Services of Security Firms

In December 1979, the United Nations adopted the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials to compel member states to thoroughly enforce and promote appropriate roles for law enforcement officials such as police offers and the military, and to facilitate the respect and safeguarding of people's dignity in the execution of said officials' duties. For its part, ITOCHU Corporation supports the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials in which the United Nations established basic principles governing the use of firearms by law enforcement officials based on the above Code of Conduct, and will engage in the selection of security firms in accordance with such principles.

Human Rights in Our Supply Chain and Business Investment

Consideration for human rights and labor practice in our supply chain and business investment is an important issue for ITOCHU Corporation with business activities in various regions around the world. We regularly make checks to see that our suppliers and investment subjects are properly managing things in this respect.
Click here to read more about Sustainability Management in Our Supply Chain and Business Investment.

Considerations for foreigners

Along the supply chain, when conducting the acceptance of foreign workers, trainees, and interns, these people are more susceptible to illegal practices due to various factors including social and/or economic standing. From the perspective of respecting and protecting human rights, we shall company with the labor laws of the relevant country and give due consideration to ensuring that no acts are conducted that violate the intended purpose of the acceptance system.

Approach to Conflict Minerals Issues

Some of the minerals produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring countries where conflicts are taking place can potentially provide sources of funding to armed groups which engage in inhumane acts, foment conflict or bring about human rights violations. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, enacted in the United States in July 2010, required that U.S. listed companies disclose information such as their use of "conflict minerals*" produced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and neighboring countries in their products.
While ITOCHU Corporation is not bound by the reporting requirements of the United States' Securities Exchange Act, to fulfill its social responsibility in procurement activities, ITOCHU Corporation will coordinate with its business partners in keeping with the spirit of this legislation and promote initiatives to ensure that it does not help armed grounds that engage in human rights violations.

  • "Conflict Minerals" as defined by the law refer to tantalum, tin, gold, tungsten and other minerals specified by the U.S. Secretary of State.

Correspondence about modern slavery and human trafficking

The Company's Structure and Our Supply Chain Complexity

With approximately 120 locations in 63 countries, ITOCHU, a Japanese sogo shosha, is engaging in domestic trading, import/export, and overseas trading of products such as textiles, machinery, metals, minerals, energy, chemicals, food, general products, realty, information and communications technology, and finance, as well as business investment in Japan and overseas.

Our Policy on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking

ITOCHU is committed to ensuring that no modern slavery or human trafficking exists in our supply chains or in any part of our business. We participate in the United Nations Global Compact and apply the concepts of the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights. Our existing policies contain provisions aimed at ensuring that there is no slavery or human trafficking in any part of our global business or supply chain.

Due diligence processes for modern slavery and human trafficking

ITOCHU provides notice of ITOCHU's CSR Action Guidelines for Supply Chains to all new suppliers before engaging in any transactions. When discovering a case that does not comply with these guidelines, we will request the relevant supplier to take remedial action. If progress has not been achieved after requests for remedial action, we will reexamine its business dealings with such commercial counterparty.
We also conduct due diligence in respect of significant suppliers and new business investments, including research on the seven core fields of ISO26000 (including modern slavery and human trafficking). We do additional due diligence through external specialized institutions in the case of new business investments requiring an expert perspective.

Risk Assessment

ITOCHU implements on-site assessments; engages external experts; and conducts fact-finding investigations of its group companies, as needed, to ascertain whether there are any human rights issues such as, modern slavery or human trafficking. We also have established individual procurement policies and measures for products with potentially large impacts on society and/or the global environment, to minimize risk within supply chains.


ITOCHU works to spread understanding of the relationship between business activities and human rights through in-house training programs for organizational heads, individuals assigned overseas, and others.
In addition, a handbook on communications with suppliers was created to inform employees how to communicate with their suppliers regarding CSR issues. Along with this handbook, we have set up a check system that enables sales representatives and local ITOCHU employees to undertake more specific checks of the actual status of how key suppliers manage human rights and labor practices, and we help these employees and representatives provide such suppliers with advice on improvement.

Dialogue on business and human rights

The CSR Advisory Board for FY2015 was held under the theme of "Business and human rights : Relationships with local communities." Click here for details.

Raising Awareness Internally of Respect for Human Rights

Raising awareness through internal training programs

Number of employees who participated in human rights training programs
  Number of employees who participated
Training for New Recruits

153 people

Training for newly-appointed managers

52 people

Training prior to overseas assignments

221 people

We work to extensively embed understanding of the relationship between business activities and human rights through in-house training programs. 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, for example, the basic information for human rights, respect for different nationalities, ages and genders (including sexual minorities such as LGBT). In in-house training for organization heads, sexual harassment (including discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity) and power harassment issues are discussed, and a thorough understanding of human rights is fostered. During the training, we educate organization heads how to handle reports or incidents of harassment, and by doing so, strive to create a working environment with no harassment. Also, training conducted prior to overseas assignments includes the topic of consideration for human rights in the supply chain. In this way, we are working to raise awareness in each region. In FY2016, 426 people participated in human rights training.

Employee Enlightenment about "Business and Human Rights"

As a general trading company that operates around the world and plays an important role in supply chains, we are implementing educational activities about "business and human rights" in each region. The objective of these activities is to keep up with the latest developments relating to business and human rights, and to incorporate this knowledge into our business.

In FY2016, we implemented a program of e-learning on the subject of "business and human rights" for all ITOCHU employees worldwide in order to provide them with CSR-related knowledge they should have at least. The program took up the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as cases involving the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. The program was directed to a total of 6,669 non-consolidated and overseas bloc employees, and was completed by 6,669, 100 percent, of them.

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.

The "HR Help Guide Book" posted on the intranet
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. Measures we have taken so far for this purpose include the provision of human rights education through a guest lecturer from the Tokyo Metropolitan Human Rights Promotion Center and the reflection of the contents of this lecture in our training of interviewers. 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.