unicharm

Gentle care for life

 

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Human Rights

 

Our basic approach and strategy

Since the founding of Unicharm, we have always believed in respecting human rights, as seen from the prominent mention of respect for people in our management policy and in the declarations of respect for people and the human perspective in the opening statements of The Unicharm Way Action Guidelines and Human Resource Philosophy. Various human rights issues exist throughout the world and because special attention must be paid to protecting human rights in global business based on international human rights standards, we uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly, and in 2017 we enacted the Unicharm Group Policy on Human Rights and demonstrate our continued efforts to fulfill our responsibility to respect human rights in all of our activities. Furthermore, we distribute our human rights policy to all Group employees as part of the Unicharm Group Action Guidelines.

We will not tolerate child labor and forced or compulsive labor and we will never discriminate against people based on nationality, race, religion, gender, sexual preference, age, family background, disability or any other factors. We will guarantee freedom of association and freedom of collective bargaining and we confirm that excessive work hours have been reduced and that the right to minimum wages is upheld.

Unicharm Group Policy on Human Rights

The corporate philosophy “NOLA & DOLA” of Unicharm Group (the “Group”) contains our hope that “Unicharm aims to provide all people, from newborn infants to the elderly, with products that gently support their mind and body for freeing them from various types of burdens to fulfill their dreams.” In accordance with this philosophy, the Group supports the realization of a society where human rights are respected as a fundamental right granted to all people. Based on this assumption, the Group will make efforts to fulfill its responsibility to respect human rights.

1. Background

The Group has established the Unicharm Group Policy on Human Rights (the “Policy”) by which it will promote efforts for the respect of human rights of all stakeholders including employees based on the following international human rights principles; the International Bill of Human Rights (the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), the ILO (International Labour Organization) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Policy complements the corporate philosophy and the action guidelines (The Unicharm Way) in which it clarifies how the Group will address the matters concerning human rights.

2. Scope of Application

The Policy will apply to all executives and employees who work at the Group. The Group will also require its business partners and suppliers to support and comply with the Policy and work together with them to promote efforts for the respect of human rights.

3. Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

The Group will fulfill its responsibility of respecting human rights by ensuring that its business activities do not result in human rights violations and by responding appropriately to correct any adverse human rights impact our business activities may cause. Furthermore, the Group will require its business partners and suppliers to respond appropriately to correct any adverse human rights impacts on them even if the Group does not directly contribute to those impacts.

Compliance with Applicable Laws and Regulations

The Group will comply with the laws and regulations of each country or region where it conducts its business activities. Where there is a conflict between national or regional laws / regulations and international human rights standards, we will seek ways to honour international human rights standards.

Human Rights Due Diligence

The Group will establish a system of human rights due diligence in accordance with procedures based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights under which it will make efforts to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts.

Remedy

In the event the Group's business activities directly or indirectly result in adverse human rights impacts, it will provide a remedy through appropriate dialogue and procedures.

Education

The Group will provide appropriate education to ensure effective implementation of the Policy by which it will be instilled inside and outside the company.

Dialogue and Consultation

The Group will engage sincerely in the meaningful consultation with people whom its business activities may cause impacts as a part of its efforts under the Policy.

Reports

The Group reports on its efforts related to human rights through its website, etc.

Date of Establishment: October 25, 2017

Takahisa Takahara

President & CEO

Unicharm Corporation

Management structure

Since it is necessary to have involvement for human rights from a variety of departments, the Global Human Resources & Administration and the CSR Division take the lead, under the direction of the executive officer and General Manager of the Global Human Resources & Administration Division, who is the officer responsible for human rights, in promoting the initiatives of related departments such as the Procurement Department and Audit Department and those of related companies both in Japan and overseas, and in reporting to the CSR Committee. Meanwhile, our human rights initiatives in our supply chain are headed by our Procurement Department, which is the contact point for suppliers, which encourages suppliers' support for human rights, and which distributed the Basic Purchasing Policy and Sustainable Purchasing Guidelines, which were enacted in 2017, to our domestic suppliers.

Process for policy establishment

Meetings with stakeholders to exchange views during the drafting process of the Unicharm Group Policy on Human Rights

As a company that fulfills its responsibility to respect human rights, we invited Mr. Makoto Teranaka, former longtime Secretary General of Amnesty International Japan, to speak on the topic of businesses and human rights. Afterwards, we held meetings for the exchange of opinions between members involved in drafting the Unicharm Group Policy on Human Rights and members of departments with a particular awareness of human rights. Mr. Teranaka does not accept the old attitude of it being wrong to cause human rights problems. He told us it is critical to deal with human rights problems when they occur, and how to manage them, and from the standpoint of a human rights professional he also gave us advice on creating a human rights policy which forms the basis of managing human rights problems.

For example, to his question about how specifically our company is contributing to achieving what kind of society, in the introduction to our policy we stated clearly, “We support the realization of a society where human rights are respected as fundamental rights given to all persons.” Also, to his comment that it was not clear to whom this policy applied, we revised the policy to read that it applied to all stakeholders including employees, as we had learned about the corporate stance required by society and reflected this thinking into the words of our human rights policy.

Questions came from the participants, such as “What is the best way to manage human rights as a company,” “Who should be participating in it?” To these questions, Mr. Teranaka advised us that departments that controlled the company overall should be in charge, and the work would proceed more smoothly if performed by people who have many opportunities to interact with those outside of the company, such as those in sales. He added that if we created a mechanism for reflecting the opinions of a variety of people, including those employees who are tend to be in a weak position on a daily basis, such as new employees or those who are involved in childcare or nursing responsibilities, the human rights policy that is enacted will come to life.

Our company will make use of Mr. Teranaka's opinions and recommendations in our Group Policy on Human Rights, and at the same time will endeavor to incorporate them into future initiatives.

Stakeholder meetings
Mr. Makoto Teranaka
Member of the Faculty of Contemporary Law
Tokyo Keizai University

Our human rights initiatives

In May 2018, the company participated in a Caux Round Table (CRT) Meeting on the “Stakeholder Engagement Programme in Asia” sponsored by CRT Japan and supported by the Japanese Embassy in Thailand and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific. We carried out a dialogue with government officials, Thai NGOs and others on human rights issues such as human trafficking, migrant labor and forced labor.

In Japan, we participated in Nippon CSR Consortium's (administered by CRT Japan) stakeholder engagement programme from June to July 2018, identifying important human rights issues by industry while referencing the human rights guidance tools formulated by the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).*

Following that, at CRT Japan's September 2018 global stakeholder engagement programme, each of the countries that held the same programme (Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan) reported to the international experts from organizations such as the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and took part in an open discussion on the points businesses should give attention to when advancing business and human rights initiatives. Unicharm also participates in the UN Global Compact's subcommittees for human rights education and human rights due diligence (HRDD) where we have open discussions with experts and business representatives.

Through these activities, we take the valuable opinions of domestic and international experts and apply them to Unicharm's HRDD initiatives.

Determining prominent human rights Issues

We proceeded with the following steps to identify human rights issues in the Unicharm Group's supply chain.

Human rights issues in the Unicharm Group's supply chain.

We have defined the applicable scope for our personal care business as the ASEAN with a focus on Thailand and identified the risks from a regional perspective and a business characteristics perspective. We determined the human rights risks for the value chain, summarized content regarding human rights abuse issues and prioritized human rights risks to be addressed along the two axes of “possible impacts” and “severity of potential impacts.”

In addition, we asked Ms. Akiko Sato, a lawyer at the UNDP Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, who is engaged in projects involving business and human rights under the Governance and Peacebuilding team, for her opinion about the human rights risks identified by Unicharm. Based on her advice regarding examples of human rights violations in Thailand, the different countries' specific action plans to address those human rights violations and the points we need to be concerned with as a business, we prioritized the our identified human rights risks.

Lawyer Akiko Sato

Human rights education

In 2018, we conducted e-learning for all employees in three groups to promote understanding of the importance of respecting human rights worldwide. A workshop on SDGs and sustainable procurement was held for executives and department heads, while the procurement and production departments took part in human rights study sessions tailored to their work.

 

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