Supplier CSR Questionnaire

In cooperation with its suppliers, the Asahi Group engages in procurement to preserve the global environment and local communities, in accordance with the Asahi Group Sustainable Procurement Principles. In 2020, continuing on from 2015, 2016 and 2018, we conducted a Supplier CSR Questionnaire to gain an understanding of all suppliers' ESG (Environment/Social/Government) initiatives, to assess their risks and to resolve potential issues.


The Asahi Group does not immediately suspend or cancel transactions with suppliers if issues are discovered through the Supplier CSR Questionnaire, but we are convinced that working together with you to resolve those issues will contribute to resolving challenges in society on a fundamental level.
The Asahi Group established the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct for its suppliers. The series of activities including the Supplier CSR Questionnaire is aimed at making our procurement sustainable by solidifying our relationships with suppliers based on trust and long-term cooperation and by encouraging suppliers to base their activities on the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct.

Survey Overview

Scope of Survey

Asahi Breweries, Asahi Soft Drinks, Asahi Group Foods, CALPIS Co., Ltd., Asahi Europe and International (hereinafter “Europe”), Asahi Beverages Group companies (hereinafter “Oceania”) and companies affiliated with Asahi Holdings Southeast Asia Sdn. Bhd. (hereinafter “Southeast Asia”)
Total: 21 companies

Participating Suppliers in Numbers

Requests Responses from
primary suppliers
Responses from
secondary suppliers (overlapping answers are excluded)
Total responses (overlapping answers are excluded)
Japan 485 442 94 536
Overseas 326 239 23 262
Total 811 681 117 798

Percentages of Responding Suppliers

Survey results are aggregated from 798 suppliers and their percentages are shown below.
The 2020 survey covers all direct material suppliers, both japan and international, that regularly do business with us. Sixty-seven percent of the suppliers are from Japan, 22% are from Europe and Oceania and 11% are from Southeast Asia.
By industry, manufacturing accounted for 70% of the suppliers while wholesale and retailing accounted for 26%. The percentages are very similar to those in the 2018 survey.

  • Number of Respondents to Supplier CSR Questionnaire

  • Supplier Business Category

*The 2018 survey limited overseas respondents to major suppliers that have substantial business with us. For this reason, the number of overseas respondents is small, at 33.

Questionnaire Contents

As in the 2018 survey, the 2020 Supplier CSR Questionnaire used the self-assessment questionnaire (hereinafter, “SAQ”) by the UN Global Compact Network Japan (hereinafter, GCNJ) in 2017. The questionnaire (hereinafter “GCNJ-SAQ”) was chosen for the following reasons.

  • 1) It has high affinity with the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct
  • 2) It conforms to the GC10 Principles, ISO26000, GRI, and other international standards
  • 3) It becomes easier for suppliers to respond if we use a common format for all industries and industry types
  • 4) It is easy to understand as it has a radar chart feedback format and a word list

More specifically, GCNJ-SAQ adds sub-items to each item and includes questions on the suppliers' legal awareness, policy, system / responsibilities, and checking initiative results and corrective action. In this way, the suppliers' activities are graded.

Survey items: 9 items

(1) Corporate governance related to CSR, (2) Human rights, (3) Labor, (4) Environment, (5) Fair business practices, (6) Quality and safety (7) Information security, (8) Supply chain, (9) Local community

9 themes 47 topics
(1) Corporate governance related to CSR
  1. Establishment of a CSR promotion system
  2. Establishment of internal controls
  3. Establishment of a business continuity planning (BCP) system
  4. Establishment of a whistle-blower system
  5. Dispatch of CSR-related information inside and outside the company
(2) Human rights
  1. Basic attitude toward human rights
  2. Respect for human rights and prohibition of discrimination
  3. Avoidance of complicity in (or contribution to) human rights abuses
  4. Respect for indigenous peoples and local communities
(3) Labor
  1. Basic attitude toward labor practices
  2. Prohibition of discrimination in the workplace
  3. Provision of equal opportunities to employees regarding human resources development and career advancement, etc.
  4. Prohibition of inhumane treatment
  5. Payment of fair wages
  6. Fair application of working hours, time off, and paid time off, etc.
  7. Prohibition of forced labor
  8. Prohibition of child labor
  9. Respect for the religious traditions and customs of the country of operation
  10. Recognition of and respect for freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  11. Proper management of employee safety and health
(4) Environment
  1. Basic attitude toward environmental initiatives
  2. Management of chemical substances indicated in laws and regulations, etc., in production processes, products, and services
  3. Control and reduction of wastewater, sludge and air emissions
  4. Sustainable and efficient utilization of resources (energy, water, raw materials, etc.)
  5. Reduction of GHG (greenhouse gases)
  6. Identification, management, reduction, and responsible disposal or recycling of waste
  7. Initiatives related to biodiversity
(5) Fair business practices
  1. Basic attitude toward fair business practices
  2. Establishment of appropriate relationships with local governments and public officials in and outside countries where business activities are conducted
  3. Prevention of the giving and receiving of improper advantages with customers and trade partners, etc., in sales and purchasing activities, etc.
  4. Prevention of competition law violations in sales activities, etc.
  5. Rejection of relationships with antisocial forces/organizations
  6. Prevention of unauthorized use of a third party's intellectual property and of illegal reproduction of copyrighted works
  7. Services for responding to complaints from outside the company and for consultations
  8. Prohibition of insider trading
  9. Prohibition of acts with conflicting interests
(6) Quality and safety
  1. Basic attitude toward product and service quality and safety
  2. Ensuring product and service quality and safety
  3. Appropriate response to product and service accidents and the circulation of defective goods
(7) Information security
  1. Basic attitude toward information security
  2. Defense against attacks on computer networks
  3. Protection of personal data and privacy
  4. Prevention of misuse of confidential information
(8) Supply chain
  1. Basic attitude toward the supply chain
  2. Use of raw materials not involved in conflict or crime (initiatives against conflict minerals)
(9) Local community
  1. Initiatives to reduce negative effects on local communities
  2. Initiatives with local communities towards sustainable development

Supplementary Questions

The 2020 Supplier CSR Questionnaire consists of GCNJ-SAQ and supplementary questions. They include questions about “responsible drinking” which, as written in the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct, is one of our rules for suppliers. In addition, the supplementary questions ask respondents about:

  • (1) whether the suppliers stay updated on the fulfillment of CSR in the companies from which they procure raw materials (Tier 2 suppliers for the Asahi Group);
  • (2) whether Japanese suppliers use the technical intern training program for overseas workers;
  • (3) whether they acquired certifications for supplying products that are socially responsible;
  • (4) their activities relating to the environment; and
  • (5) their actions concerning the impact of COVID-19.

The questions about the impact of COVID-19 were partly excerpted from the Covid-19 Supply Chain Survey Program created by the Global Alliance for Sustainable Supply Chain (hereinafter “ASSC”). The excerpt had the approval of ASSC.

Summary of the Survey Results

Outline of Results

Outline of Results

Based on the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct, the survey results were evaluated in terms of ten themes, including the nine themes from GCNJ-SAQ and “responsible drinking” from the supplementary questionnaire.
Overall, the average score is 77% with the scores ranging between 46% and 90%. Themes with higher scores are “(3) Labor,” “(6) Quality and safety” and “(7) Information security.” Themes with lower scores are “(8) Supply chain” and “Responsible drinking.” Excluding “Responsible drinking,” a new theme, the average scores of the nine themes remained very similar to those of the 2018 survey.

Themes Number of Questions Highest Score Rate (%) Lowest Score Rate (%) Average Score Rate (%) Standard Deviation
(1) Corporate governance related to CSR 20 100 0 75 26
(2) Human rights 9 100 0 72 27
(3) Labor 23 100 0 84 20
(4) Environment 15 100 0 76 24
(5) Fair business practices 20 100 0 77 24
(6) Quality and safety 7 100 0 90 19
(7) Information security 9 100 0 83 22
(8) Supply chain 7 100 0 64 28
(9) Local community 4 100 0 73 28
(10) Responsible drinking 4 100 20 46 27
Total 118 100 0 77 20

Summary of Supplementary Questions Results

(1) Whether the Suppliers Keep Updated on the Fulfillment of CSR in the Companies from Which They Procure Raw Materials

More respondents said yes than in the 2018 survey. Many of these responses are from Europe, Oceania and Southeast Asia.

2018 2020
Total Japan Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total
YES 41% 46% 86% 77% 57%
NO 56% 53% 9% 17% 40%
N/A 3% 1% 5% 6% 3%
(2) Whether the Japanese Suppliers Use the Technical Intern Training Program for Overseas Workers

Eleven percent of the Japanese suppliers use the technical intern training program for overseas workers. See the table below for the interns' national origins and their weightings. The weighting of interns from Indonesia has increased in comparison with the 2018 survey, whereas the weightings of interns from China, Philippines and Myanmar have decreased.

2018 2020 Difference
Rate of use of the technical intern system 10% 11% 1%
Interns' National Origins and Their Weightings
Country 2018 Weighting 2020 Weighting Difference
Vietnam 70% 71% 1%
Indonesia 6% 13% 7%
China 10% 7% -3%
Philippines 8% 6% -2%
Thailand 2% 2% 1%
Mongolia 0% 0% 0%
Uzbekistan 0% 0% 0%
Cambodia 1% 0% -1%
Myanmar 3% 0% -3%
Total 100% 100%

*Respondents: Suppliers in Japan

(3) Certifications to Provide Products That Are Socially Responsible

The following is a list of top 20 certifications reported (from a total of 55 certifications reported) and the rates of their acquisition. Our understanding is that the percentages in the grey parts are much higher in the 2020 survey because the 2018 survey asked this question on an optional basis.

Certifications 2018 2020 Difference
1 ISO9001 5% 47% 42%
2 ISO14001 3% 36% 33%
3 FSSC22000 3% 36% 33%
4 Sedex 2% 25% 24%
5 HACCP 0% 18% 17%
6 ISO22000 0% 16% 16%
7 EcoVadis 1% 13% 12%
8 FSC 12% 11% -1%
9 RSPO 5% 7% 2%
10 OHSAS 6% 7% 0%
11 BRC 0% 4% 4%
12 Halal 1% 3% 2%
13 Rainforest Alliance 4% 3% -1%
14 PEFC 1% 3% 1%
15 Fair Trade 3% 2% 0%
16 GMP 0% 2% 2%
17 GAP 2% 2% 1%
18 ISO45001 0% 2% 2%
19 Kosher 2% 1% 0%
20 Organic 1% 1% 1%
(4) Activities Relating to the Environment
  • Certifications and Assessments Relating to the Environment

The rates of suppliers' activities in Europe and Oceania are much higher than those of Japan and Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia surpasses Japan in the calculation of Scope 3, external verification and assessment of water risks.
Ninety-three percent of responses to the 2018 survey came from Japanese suppliers. Considering the 2018 survey results to be unique to Japan, it is safe to say that the calculation of Scope 1, 2 and 3 and water risk-related activities have spread more in Japan in the last two years.

2018 2020 20vs18
Total (1) Japan (2) Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total (2) – (1)
We create environmental reports or similar reports. 42% 42% 69% 40% 48% 0%
We disclose our environmental reports or similar reports. 28% 24% 45% 26% 29% -4%
We calculate SCOPE 1and 2. 27% 33% 45% 25% 35% 5%
We calculate SCOPE 3. 14% 16% 34% 31% 21% 2%
We obtain the external verification of SCOPE3. 6% 5% 21% 20% 10% -1%
We assess water risks. 33% 38% 63% 43% 44% 5%
We take measures against water risks. 31% 37% 61% 48% 43% 6%
We have a biodiversity conservation policy. 24% 27% 29% 23% 27% 3%
We disclose our biodiversity conservation policy. 14% 16% 18% 12% 16% 2%
We have a policy to prevent soil pollution. N/A 20% 51% 37% 28% N/A
We disclose our policy to prevent soil pollution. N/A 8% 25% 19% 13% N/A
  • Indicators and Disclosure Relating to the Environment

Suppliers in Europe and Oceania set and disclose targets much more than their counterparts in Japan and Southeast Asia do.
Ninety-three percent of responses to the 2018 survey came from Japanese suppliers. Considering this to be unique to Japan, the activities for managing targets relating to water consumption and renewable energy have spread in Japan in the last two years. Other activities are also spreading, albeit still to a limited degree.

Rate of Target Setting
Rate of Target Setting
Rate of Target Disclosure
Rate of Target Disclosure
Target setting Target disclosure
2018 2020 2018 2020
Total (1) Japan (2) Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total (2) – (1) Total (1) Japan (2) Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total (2) – (1)
Amount of waste 50% 51% 66% 58% 55% 1% 15% 16% 34% 19% 20% 1%
CO2 reduction 48% 48% 50% 29% 46% 0% 20% 21% 32% 18% 23% 1%
Recycling and re-resourcing of waste 41% 40% 61% 49% 45% -1% 15% 15% 27% 22% 18% 0%
Water usage 29% 34% 49% 42% 38% 5% 9% 12% 26% 17% 15% 3%
Water discharge 21% 24% 41% 39% 29% 3% 5% 6% 18% 20% 10% 1%
Renewable energy 7% 12% 34% 20% 17% 5% 4% 8% 18% 12% 10% 4%
(5) Actions on the Impact of COVID-19
  • Management System to Tackle the Impact of COVID-19

Despite some differences in the degree of establishment of a management system, we confirmed that almost all suppliers have an environment for sharing information with employees.

Please choose one of the following statements which best describes your current management system to tackle the impact of the COVID-19. Japan Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total
1 We have established a new management system specifically designed to make decisions on the measures and policies regarding the COVID-19 situations (e.g., a special committee). We exchange information with all our employees regularly. 28% 70% 60% 40%
2 We have established a new management system specifically designed to make decisions on the measures and policies regarding the COVID-19 situations (e.g., a special committee). We exchange information with some of our employees regularly. 14% 4% 3% 11%
3 We have not set up a new system such as a special committee; however, we discuss the topic at the internal meetings regularly as one of the agenda items and take actions accordingly. We communicate necessary information directly to all our employees. 37% 17% 25% 32%
4 We have not set up a special committee or meetings for the current crisis; however, we hold meetings with the managers and exchange information as and when necessary. The managers communicate necessary information to their team members. 18% 6% 6% 15%
5 We are operating under the same management system as before. 3% 2% 6% 3%
  • Workplace Health and Safety Measures

Many suppliers in Japan have difficulty securing social distancing in workplaces and dormitories, while challenges in the flexibility of shifts and telecommuting are more common among suppliers in Southeast Asia.

Please choose all appropriate statements from below which describe your current health and safety measures. (Please choose all statements which apply to you) Japan Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total
1 It is mandatory to use sterilized alcohol and other materials at the entrances of workplaces, employees' dormitories, and shared spaces. 98% 94% 96% 97%
2 In a workplace, employees can secure a social distance (about 2 metres). 60% 96% 93% 70%
3 In the employee's dormitories employees can also secure a social distance. 83% 90% 89% 85%
4 All work environments and shared spaces, such as bathrooms, dormitories, cafeterias, and so on, are regularly cleaned and sanitised to ensure the health and safety for employees. 91% 98% 98% 93%
5 All employees can access clean toilet facilities, soap, portable water, and, where applicable, sanitary facilities for food storage. 95% 98% 96% 96%
6 The company provides equipment such as masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for health and safety at the expense of the company. 88% 96% 96% 90%
7 The company protects employees, especially older (65+), pregnant, or people who have previously suffered from any disease, from hazardous work environments and from travel to areas at high risk of COVID-19 exposure. 97% 97% 96% 96%
8 Employees are kept in touch with family and friends living in their home towns or remote areas so that they are not separated from “connections to support”. 74% 94% 90% 79%
9 The company considers the role and circumstances of employees (especially female employees) at home, so the company responds to the needs of employees through flexible time shifts and introduction of part-time work. 92% 96% 79% 92%
10 The company considers safety, and has introduced work from home for employees (especially employees who have children). 82% 96% 77% 84%
  • Prevention of Discrimination Related to COVID-19

For each of the options, suppliers in Japan implement fewer preventive activities than their counterparts in other geographical areas do.

Please choose all options which apply to your efforts/actions to prevent discrimination related to COVID-19. (multiple answers possible) Japan Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total
1 The company established policies and rules to prevent discrimination related to COVID-19 and notified employees. 70% 87% 83% 75%
2 In order to protect employees, the company take measures such as notifying them to prevent the use of social media which involves the spread of false information, fears and prejudices when communicating at work. 69% 74% 82% 71%
3 In order to prevent fear and prejudice against infected employees, the company has established and taken measures to prevent the spread of false or misleading information. 59% 86% 87% 67%
4 The company takes into account that specific employees, such as foreigners, disabled employees, and other relatively vulnerable employees, do not have false understanding of COVID-19 through advertisements and marketing campaigns, and the company provides information and education appropriately to all employees. 58% 89% 90% 68%
5 The company should protect employees who have recovered from COVID-19 and are allowed to return to work away from discrimination and other accusations and provide appropriate education to employees. 65% 94% 95% 74%
  • Consultations

In all of the geographical areas, the percentage of suppliers choosing “There is no consultation desk and there is no plan to deal with complaints and other messages for the time being” is very small, suggesting that they are always ready to hear employees’ opinions in one way or another.

Please choose the one that is most appropriate to your consultation from the following. Japan Europe + Oceania Southeast Asia Total
1 The company has set up an independent consultation desk in a native language run by a third-party organisation, and accept consultations by phone or SNS. 14% 18% 13% 15%
2 The company has a consultation desk within the company and accept consultations by phone or SNS. 36% 20% 15% 31%
3 The company has an opinion box inside the company. 10% 15% 14% 11%
4 Although the company has no consultation desk, we have a system in place to accept complaints and other messages through the person in charge of each department or business unit. 38% 45% 54% 41%
5 There is no consultation desk and there is no plan to deal with complaints and other messages for the time being. 2% 2% 4% 2%

Sharing of the Survey Results and Initiatives for Improvements

Feedback Based on the Results

To all of the suppliers that filled out and sent the Supplier CSR Questionnaire, we sent a “Summary of Survey Results for the 2020 Supplier CSR Questionnaire” indicating the differences from the average scores and the ranking among the suppliers responded. Moreover, booklets summarizing the aggregate results were sent for use as a written report. We hope that the reports will help suppliers renew their understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and to address their weaknesses so they will continue advancing ESG activities in accordance with the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct.

On-site Investigations

We visited five companies in 2018 and 12 companies in 2019 for on-site monitoring based on the Supplier CSR Questionnaire. Monitoring confirmed that most items perceived as problem areas in the questionnaire were, in fact, being addressed in one way or another.
In 2020, we planned to visit 12 companies, but were unable to do so due to the travel restrictions associated with COVID-19.

If the on-site survey revealed that a particular issue was not being adequately addressed, we provided suppliers with examples of how other companies are dealing with the issues or suggested consulting a labor and social security attorney, legal advisor, or a Labor Standards Inspection Office about relevant laws and regulations. In such ways, we are working together with suppliers to develop action plans.
In 2019, the following issues were identified:

  • Cases in which working environment measurements may not be compliant with the Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health: 5 cases concerning noise and 3 cases concerning illumination.
    We suggested that the supplier consult a labor and social security attorney, legal advisor, or a Labor Standards Inspection Office.
  • Employees' personal drinks stored in refrigerators in employee lounges and other locations were not marked with the owners’ names: 6 cases.
    We suggested that the drink containers be marked with the owners' names for hygienic control purposes. In addition, we asked that the containers also be marked with the date they were opened and that the drinks be consumed within a certain number of days.

There were no violations in the areas of the environment or quality.
When deciding on where to conduct the interviews, we prioritize raw and packaging material makers and make selections based on four criteria: (1) CSR Questionnaire score, (2) value of transactions with the Asahi Group, (3) The supplier attended an Asahi Group Procurement Policy Information Meeting, and (4) CSR risk.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions are expected to continue in 2021. However, we will conduct a survey with 12 suppliers using an online survey and other means. Boosting bidirectional, interactive communication based on responses to the questionnaire should help to encourage ESG activities for both the Asahi Group and its suppliers. We will therefore remain committed to this.

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