In accordance with the Seven & i Group Corporate Action Guidelines, the Seven & i Group complies with the international code of conduct and engages in initiatives aimed at respecting the human rights of all stakeholders.
The Seven & i Group has cultivated a culture of always respecting human rights, and never discriminating against, or allowing discrimination against anyone, including customers, business partners, people in local communities, and employees. We recognize that respect for human rights is an extremely important social responsibility as a part of our business activities, and we respect basic human rights as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international proclamations. The Seven & i Holdings Corporate Action Guidelines stipulates that no person shall be unfairly discriminated against or harassed based on their social status, nationality, race, family lineage, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation*, gender identity*, existence of physical or mental disability, or other traits. We work to ensure that all employees understand these Guidelines.
Furthermore, we believe that the cooperation of our business partners is necessary to advance our initiatives on respecting the human rights and the dignity of all people involved in our business activities. We have established the Seven & i Holdings Business Partner Action Guidelines and work to ensure that our business partners understand and comply with them.
As a sign of our respect for human rights, Seven & i Holdings is also a signatory and supporter of the UN Global Compact comprising 10 principles related to human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption.
Seven & i Holdings has established the Human Rights Education Center as a dedicated entity for overseeing and promoting the Group’s efforts with respect to human rights education and normalization. The Human Rights Education Center coordinates with the human resources and compliance departments of each Group company, and carries out a variety of educational and awareness activities. In addition, the Corporate Ethics and Culture Subcommittee under the CSR Management Committee regularly shares the progress on efforts related to human rights education, and advances activities aimed at having all employees of Group companies correctly understand and recognize human rights, along with fostering a corporate culture free of discrimination or prejudice.
With respect to human rights initiatives in the supply chain, the Consumer Affairs and Fair Business Practices Subcommittee under the CSR Management Committee takes the lead role in encouraging human rights awareness among business partners.
Seven & i Group offers a variety of educational activities and employee training with the aim of creating a corporate culture in which everyone respects the human rights of all customers, business partners, people in local communities, and colleagues, and in which people are aware of all types of discrimination and prejudices and do not discriminate against others or tolerate such behavior.
Seven & i Group companies provide a variety of human rights awareness training to employees, including part-time employees.
For example, Ito-Yokado holds level-specific human rights awareness training when employees join the company and at other times, with training content matching job responsibilities. Employees come to recognize that human rights issues are an intricate part of everyday life, and the training includes specific examples as well as new developments and issues so that employees can apply what they learn to their daily activities. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, a total of 84 training sessions were held, and a total of 2,457 people received training. In order to further support Group companies’ training, in February 2017 Seven & i Holdings published Human Rights – Let’s Start by Learning, a handbook used for human rights awareness. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2018, we are enhancing these initiatives, including training to promote an understanding of LGBT issues.
To create a corporate culture in which each employee’s human rights are respected in accordance with the Corporate Action Guidelines, each year the Seven & i Group solicits proposals for human rights slogans from all employees, including part-time employees, and their family members. By coming up with slogans, employees are encouraged to think about human rights, which raises their awareness of human rights issues. The most excellent slogans submitted are published in the Group’s internal newsletter and intranet, and receive prizes. The contest was held for the 26th time the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, and 73,721 proposals were received, the highest number in the history of the contest.
Seven & i Group conducts an employee awareness survey targeting Seven & i Holdings as well as Group companies every second year to check that human rights are being respected. The survey includes questions asking people if they have seen or heard about harassment or discrimination in the workplace. The survey conducted in May 2017 targeted a total of approximately 45,000 employees working at 29 Group companies.
Seven & i Group has established the Groupwide Help Line as a consultation service for Group employees, their family members, and former employees to consult about or report on any human rights problems in the workplace. The consultation service is operated by a third party under a service contract and a non‒disclosure agreement to protect the privacy of people who contact it. When a report or consultation is received, the facts are investigated as necessary having obtained consent from the person who made the report. In addition, the rules of the consultation service stipulate that people who contact the service as well as those who cooperate with the investigation of facts shall not be subject to disadvantageous treatment.
To ensure that business partners understand the Seven & i Holdings Business Partner Action Guidelines, Seven & i Group administers a self-check sheet for business partners that explains all of the specific requirements for compliance. The self-check sheet contains 61 questions, including human rights-related questions. For example, the questions ask whether or not factory employees have access to consulting desks and whether or not the company requests that its own suppliers comply with the Seven & i Holdings Business Partner Action Guidelines. Responses are entered into a database, and the data are used in the process for determining whether to continue doing business with specific business partners.
In addition, Seven & i Group conducts CSR audits of end manufacturing plants of the business partners who produce Seven Premium private brand products as well as Ito-Yokado’s overseas direct import suppliers. The audits ascertain their level of compliance with the Seven & i Holdings Business Partner Action Guidelines.
An outside audit agency conducts the audits in line with Seven & i Holdings’ original audit, which covers topics such as human rights and the work environment (16 categories and approximately 140 check items). This was prepared by making reference to sources such as the ISO 26000 standard, the Japanese Business Federation’s Charter of Corporate Behavior, and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.