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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 in the prominent mention respect for human rights and a mutually respectful human perspective in The Unicharm Way Action Guidelines and our 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 reduction of excessive work hours and uphold the right to minimum wages.

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 a variety of departments involved in human rights, the Global Human Resources & Administration Division and the ESG Division take the lead, under the direction of the General Manager of the Global Human Resources & Administration Division (an executive-level officer and assigned responsibility 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 ESG 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.

Stakeholder engagement for human rights

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

In 2019, we held a dialogue with global human rights experts at the Global Conference on Business and Human Rights in Tokyo (administered by CRT Japan) and received advice on how to proceed with human rights due diligence. We will make use of the opinions received in our future activities.

Dialogue with global experts Dialogue with global experts

Dialogue with global experts

Initiatives in Thailand

In October 2019, the Thai government was the first in Asia to take a cabinet decision to implement the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP). Since Unicharm has a business presence in Thailand, we recognize there is need to determine the situation from a human rights due diligence perspective.

We therefore participated in the 2019 Global Conference on Business and Human Rights in Thailand for stakeholder engagement(administered by CRT Japan with support from the Embassy of Japan in Thailand) and carried out a dialogue with Thai NPOs, the Foundation for Consumers and others for addressing human rights issues such as human trafficking, migrant labor and forced labor.

We also visited the Labour Protection Network, an NPO working to solve human trafficking in Thailand, to engage in understanding the status of human rights issues in the fishery industry. Accompanying officers from Thailand's Ministry of Labor during an unannounced inspection of a Bangkok Port facility, Unicharm observers were able to gain an understanding of the situation of onsite workers, such as how they offload catches.

Visit to the Labour Protection Network NPO

Unloading a catch at port

Unloading a catch at port

Initiatives in Australia

The Modern Slavery Act(MSA) was passed in Australia in 2018 and came into effect on January 1, 2019. Under this Act, Australian subsidiaries of overseas corporations with annual sales of more than A$100 million are required to implement measures based on the UN Guiding Principles by 2021 and thereafter submit an annual modern slavery statement. In response to this requirement, Unicharm Australia first carried out a human rights impact assessment for employees at its factories regarding appropriate wages, appropriate working hours, workplace discrimination, forced labor and workplace health and safety as risk indicators.

No significant risk situation was found this time, but we will continue to monitor and identify potential risks.

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