The Mitsui Chemicals Group lists “respect for human rights” as one of the “prerequisites for business continuity” as a part of the Group’s materiality and is working to put this into company-wide practice.

Survey on Human Rights Challenges That Should Be Taken into Consideration

In the countries in which the Mitsui Chemicals Group maintains a presence, there are a number of challenges pertaining to human rights, reflecting conditions of local politics, the economy and society. In addition, in line with changes to those conditions, the challenges themselves will at times also be impacted. At each of the Group’s sites, consideration into such human rights challenges is something that cannot be overlooked. In order to gain a grasp of the human rights challenges that arise from each region around the globe that we should consider as a Group, we reference information from the United States State Department’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices” and “Trafficking in Persons Report” as well as survey materials such as “Human Rights Watch World Report” and ”Transparency Corruption Perceptions Index” from NGOs and other organizations involved in human rights, and conduct investigations of challenges with regard to regional human rights where the Group’s business sites exist. According to the reference survey materials, there are various issues in each region, such as discrimination in employment and work, working conditions, forced labor and child labor, human rights violations against foreign workers and involvement in corruption. There are also such issues in the supply chain (raw material suppliers, subcontractors, processing subcontractors, logistics partners, etc.). The global pandemic brought on by COVID-19 has become a major issue for the Group and its global business operations. The impact is not limited to operation of our global supply chain but also to potential human right issues in various parts of the world which we believe our Group cannot ignore. Under collaborations with external experts, we started confirming the situation and organizing the status in fiscal 2021 while taking into account the impact of climate change, pollution, waste, etc., on human rights as a new viewpoint of investigation, in addition to the conventional viewpoints on human rights issues.

Initiatives toward the Human Rights Due Diligence

Human rights metrics taken into account under "Assess actual and potential human rights impact"

  • Child labor
  • Fair wage
  • Working hours
  • Discrimination in workplace
  • Education
  • Forced or compulsory labor
  • Freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • Freedom of expression
  • Rights of indigenous people
  • Human trafficking
  • Right to land and migration
  • Rights of migrant laborers
  • Modern slavery
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Pandemic sensibility
  • Poverty
  • Right of privacy
  • Rights of sexual minorities
  • Rights of women and girls
  • Rights of young workers
  • Impact on climate change
  • Deforestation
  • Impact on water resources
  • Air pollution and marine pollution
  • Discharge of waste and harmful substances
  • Use of natural resources
  • Impact on ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Product safety
  • Responsible marketing
  • Consumer redress process
  • Responsible tax payment
  • Corruption prevention
  • Relationship with the government, etc.

Consideration for Human Rights within Mitsui Chemicals

The Mitsui Chemicals Group has been working to build a system for human rights protection, including the provision of human rights education to employees, establishment of a reporting and consultation desk for human rights, and introduction of an internal audit process.
In internal training sessions, we raise human rights awareness among employees by educating them on a number of issues, such as discrimination and harassment, through Mitsui Chemicals Group Human Rights Policy, the Mitsui Chemicals Group Action Guidelines, etc. To facilitate a deeper understanding of the basic principles of business and human rights, in fiscal 2019, we introduced the "Business and Human Rights e-Learning" series published by the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center and Amnesty International Japan. A total of 9,844 employees, including those from domestic Group companies, studied this program in fiscal 2020. We plan to expand the scope of this program across the entire Group. As activities outside the company, Mitsui Chemicals joins the subcommittee of the Global Compact Network Japan concerning human rights. This subcommittee provides opportunities to learn about and deliberate on a wide range of issues pertaining to human rights on a global scale in conjunction with human rights NGOs and participating companies. In addition to deepening its understanding toward human rights issues, the Mitsui Chemicals Group will draw its participation in the subcommittee to bolster its awareness activities.
As complaint handling, the Risk Hotline and the harassment consultation services receive reports and consultation on human rights. The business audit also includes an internal audit process based on self-assessment of internal controls utilizing the compliance checklist. The compliance checklist includes items related to compliance with related laws and regulations, prevention of bribery and corruption, harassment, appropriate handling of personal information, and human rights issues such as discrimination, forced labor, and child labor. The checklist is revised every year.

Human Rights e-Learning Program (Mitsui Chemicals, domestic affiliates and subsidiaries)

e-Learning Program FY2020 Number of participants/Total hours
Business and Human Rights 9,844 (6,562 hours)

Consideration for Human Rights in Investment Activities

The Mitsui Chemicals Group undertakes substantial investments as a part of its business development activities. When selecting an investment, a meeting is held to consider any related human rights issues. As a part of the Group’s due diligence, steps are also taken to assess the impact of human rights concerns in the context of each country’s statutory and regulatory requirements regarding the use of labor.

Taking Human Rights Issues into Consideration along the Supply Chain

The Mitsui Chemicals Group conducts business activities with emphasis on human rights in its relations with stakeholders in the entire supply chain. For example, we have clearly set out our expectations of suppliers in the Mitsui Chemicals Group Purchasing Policy and the Mitsui Chemicals Group Sustainable Procurement Guidelines. Under these policies, we place considerable importance on respect for human rights, fair working conditions and a good work environment, reduction in environmental impact, compliance with laws and regulations, social norms and considerations for those in the supply chain. When we begin a new business arrangement and with ongoing suppliers, depending on the nature of the business, we conduct regular checks on the supplier's efforts through our sustainable procurement Self-assessment Questionnaires (SAQ) . We use the questionnaire results to provide feedback to suppliers and to support their efforts to improve. In addition, we have also extended our Risk Hotline so that it is now accessible to suppliers and are determined to keep on building stronger partnerships in the future. The Mitsui Chemicals Group works diligently to ensure equal opportunity and transparency while maintaining and promoting fair and equitable business practices.

Participation in Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop Organized by Caux Round Table Japan

Through dialog with companies, NPOs/NGOs and knowledgeable experts, the Mitsui Chemicals Group deepens its understanding of the contexts in which human rights challenges occur as well as the relationship between business activities and human rights. We then consider what are the important human rights issues for us and business activities considering these issues, and work to utilize that understanding in our corporate activities.
The Group participated in the Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop organized by Caux Round Table Japan (CRT Japan). The program holds discussions, conducted by companies, NGOs/NPOs and knowledgeable experts, geared toward the human rights due diligence called for under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In the 2020 program, we identified important human rights issues in each industry by utilizing the human rights guidance tools created by the UNEP Finance Initiative. We also took other human rights-related backgrounds into consideration, such as the COVID-19 impact on workers, children, and communities; ICT business; building a sustainable supply chain driven by the Tokyo Olympics; human trafficking and modern slavery; and the rights of indigenous people.

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