The Asahi Group has formulated Human Rights Principles on a global scale and works to reduce the risk of human rights infringements by developing human rights due diligence mechanisms.
We implement the following human rights due diligence process with the aim of preventing and mitigating the adverse impacts that the business activities of the Asahi Group have on society. Also note that our human rights due diligence process is pursued in accordance with the United Nations' Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
In commencing human rights due diligence, we have organized human rights risks throughout our value chain on a per-stakeholder basis, and verified the need to address three initiatives on a priority basis, namely “responses to human rights risks in the supply chain,” “responses to human rights risks among employees and education & training to achieve the Human Rights Principles” and “the development of access to relief” on a priority basis.
With respect to these three priority initiatives, we worked with outside experts to conduct surveys of each department responsible and gauge the response status of the Asahi Group and performed a gap analysis comparing our achievements with examples of good practices. Based on the results, we identified issues in our management framework and the implementation of human rights due diligence, and formulated an action plan to improve upon each of those issues.
We have considered how to implement human rights due diligence through the following process and are currently engaged in efforts to identify human rights risks.
To coincide with its commitment to the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Asahi Group conducted a theoretical analysis and assessment of risk focusing on modern slavery from two perspectives: the 17 countries in which the Asahi Group's production bases are located and the 11 major items procured by the Asahi Group.
The analysis and assessment determined that the highest risk of modern slavery in the Asahi Group's supply chain occurs during the “growing crops” stage. We also confirmed that even among the main direct materials procured by the Asahi Group, those deemed to carry an “extremely high” risk of modern slavery were coffee, sugar, tea, palm oil and cacao. The assessment also verified the business impact of these five raw materials.
The Asahi Group has received recommendations from experts from the perspective of what kind of human rights risk management will be necessary in the future to mitigate human rights risks, with a focus on addressing human rights in supply chains that carry a particularly high risk in the food industry.
To coincide with the formulation of the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles, in January 2020 we implemented revisions to the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct. The Asahi Group shares information about various policies including the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles and the Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct with its suppliers at briefings held annually and in other opportunities. Even prior to formulating the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles, we have called upon suppliers to “ensure safe and hygiene workplace environments”, “eliminate forced labor and discrimination” and “effectively abolish child labor” in the interests of human rights.
In 2020, we conducted human rights training for the managers and leaders of procurement departments at operating companies in Japan, and also provided human rights and LGBT e-Learning programs for the officers and employees of operating companies in Japan, including their procurement department personnel.
In March 2020 we had additionally planned to provide explanations of our Human Rights Principles and Code of Conduct and training on human rights to our suppliers in Japan, but this was postponed as part of measures to prevent COVID-19 coronavirus infections. For this reason, we ensured that all suppliers were thoroughly furnished with the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles and Asahi Group Supplier Code of Conduct in written form and are currently considering the format of future training sessions.
With the aim of identifying risks in supply chain management and control, in 2020 we worked to confirm current conditions by having the primary suppliers of raw materials to our operating companies in Japan and overseas complete self-assessment questionnaire forms. We will also utilize the results of these questionnaires in discussions with suppliers aimed at developing workplaces that respect human rights through site visits and other activities.
In addition to these efforts, for some suppliers in high-risk categories (suppliers at the growing crops stage of the supply chain) who are assumed to be serious or high-impact risks based on modern slavery risk analysis, moving forward we will make use of self-assessment questionnaire forms to monitor actual conditions, conduct investigations through on-site visits, and engage in human rights due diligence.
Looking ahead, the Asahi Group will continue to implement human rights due diligence based on its approach of not tolerating modern slavery, and make efforts through the Group and supply chain towards achieving a society free of modern slavery.
At the Asahi Group, we set out Key Human Resources Principles to state our respect for every Asahi Group employee's character, human rights and individuality. In addition, with regard to the hiring and treatment of employees, it is stipulated in our work regulations not to discriminate based on attributes such as an employee's nationality, creed or social status.
Regarding consultations regarding human rights issues, we have established consultation service sections in the human resources departments of operating companies or general affairs sections of our business sites, and developed systems to field consultations from employees as needed.
In addition, the Asahi Group Code of Conduct states that “We will not discriminate against any individual based on nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, gender, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or employment status,” and we carry out training for all employees to instill in them a proper understanding of the Code.
To mitigate risks throughout our business activities, we will strive to identify the human rights risks affecting employees and conduct human rights education.
Specifically, based on the results of inquiries such as an engagement survey and compliance questionnaire administered to all employees at our operating companies in Japan and overseas, we will ascertain actual conditions in terms of discrimination, harassment, occupational health and safety, and so on, and conduct fact-finding interviews with human resources and general affairs personnel at each Group company. Additionally, we will monitor work environments and management systems, check for the presence of forced labor and child labor, conduct checks on freedom of association, working hours and current wage conditions, pursue the identification of human rights risks, work to prevent and mitigate adverse effects, and develop management systems to that end.
At the Asahi Group, we clearly state in the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles that we will not discriminate on the basis of “gender identity” or “sexual orientation,” and endeavor to accommodate sexual minorities (LGBT).
In 2019, we conducted Training to Promote Understanding of the Asahi Group Human Rights Principles and LGBT Sensitivity Training for managers associated with personnel and general affairs at our operating companies in Japan.
In 2020, we are offering e-Learning for human rights and basic knowledge concerning LGBT to all officers and employees of our operating companies in Japan. We aim to create a comfortable working environment for everyone that respects the human rights and diversity of individuals and is free of discrimination, in order to continually enhance corporate value.
The Asahi Group conducts the Universal Manners Test organized by the NPO Japan Universal Manners Association for employees.
The Japan Universal Manners Association defines “universal manners” as mindfulness and behavior that is considerate toward all different kinds of people, such as elderly people, people with disabilities, people using strollers, and people from other countries.
We learn about issues faced by many different people and their psychology, and use this understanding in our daily lives and in our work to improve corporate value.
To eradicate discrimination, Asahi Breweries, Ltd. provides its new employees with anti-discrimination training in April each year. In the training, new employees view an educational video which is used to promote understanding of discrimination issues, and have discussions to deepen their awareness of the issues.
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The Asahi Group has declared that it fulfills its obligation to consider the safety of employees, protects their lives and physical wellbeing together with their health, and takes a firm stance against all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment and bullying.
To date, training for new line heads throughout the Asahi Group has involved discussion and debate of various compliance risks from the perspective of managers, with a particular focus on sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace.
To ensure that our efforts are more thoroughly enforced at Asahi Group companies, in fiscal 2020 we will conduct expert-led bullying prevention training for the personnel of Group companies in Japan, and conduct thorough training and fully disseminate information on availability of consultation services to the employees of each company.
These activities will bolster the prevention framework by promoting a deeper and broader understanding of harassment and general compliance risks on the part of each employee.
Moving forward, we will continue to raise awareness to better promote a friendly work environment.