- Human Rights Initiatives
The project involves the chairpersons of each of the four subcommittees under the CSR Management Committee (Corporate Ethics and Culture Subcommittee, Supply Chain Subcommittee, Compliance Subcommittee, and Environmental Subcommittee), as well as the Human Rights Education Center. The project promotes human rights due diligence initiatives, including identification of business-specific human rights issues, corrective actions, regular monitoring, and information disclosure. Plans of human rights initiatives are developed and the progress is reviewed at meetings of the Human Rights Promotion Project.
The Corporate Ethics and Culture Subcommittee under the CSR Management Committee regularly shares the progress on efforts related to human rights education. It 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. The Supply Chain Subcommittee under the CSR Management Committee requests that suppliers understand the Seven & i Group's approach to human rights and implement ongoing initiatives.
In addition, Seven & i Holdings has permanently established the Human Rights Education Center as a specialized department that oversees operations related to human rights enlightenment and normalization. The Human Rights Education Center conducts various awareness-raising and educational activities in cooperation with the human resource departments and CSR promotion departments of each Group company.
These human rights initiatives are reported and shared at the biannual meetings of the CSR Management Committee, a cross-group organization.
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.
Since 1987, we have joined the Tokyo Human Rights Awareness Corporate Liaison Committee (name at the time of joining, “Tokyo Corporate Liaison Committee for the Dowa Issue”) which comprises of 123 companies (as of April 2022), mainly companies headquartered in Tokyo. Through participation in the monthly conferences, we are working to further enhance human rights education and our awareness-raising system while mutually studying with member companies.
Seven & i Group companies provide awareness training to employees, including managers and part-time employees, on a variety of human rights issues such as basic approaches to human rights and harassment prevention. In addition, Seven & i Holdings is working to promote employee understanding through the utilization of our human rights awareness handbook “Human Rights for Everyone—Let’s Start by Learning” and “Normalization Support Guide” to futher support the education of Group companies.
For example, Ito-Yokado holds level-specific human rights awareness training when employees join the company or are assigned to a new store or local store, with training content matching job responsibilities. Employees come to recognize that human rights issues are easily happened in everyday life, and the training includes specific examples such as power harassment and sexual harassment as well as new developments and issues so that employees can apply what they learn to their daily activities. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, training sessions for preventing harassment were held for 17 companies, and training sessions for mental health were held for 19 companies.
At York, hands-on training on normalization is incorporated as part of training at the time of joining the company to provide assistance to people with visual impairments and those on wheelchairs. Sogo & Seibu provides training on how to respond to a wide range of customers, including acceptance of assistance dogs and explanations on universal design, as part of training at the time of joining the store for new employees and store employees of business partners.
Further, Seven & i Holdings conducts compliance training for business partners and the Group’s personnel in charge of product development and purchasing in order to reduce and mitigate human rights risks in the supply chain. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, about 2,800 employees took the compliance training.
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 human rights slogans from all employees, including part-time employees, and their family members. In the process of coming up with human rights slogans, opportunities are created for employees to think about human rights, which raises their awareness of human rights issues. The most excellent slogans selected from among those submitted are announced to the employees through the Group's internal newsletter and on the intranet website, and are awarded prizes. The contest was held for the 31th time in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, and 24,079 slogans were received, marking yet another year with a large number of submissions. The slogans emphasized reconsidering the importance of human rights, touching on everything from personal feelings in one's daily life to musings from a broader perspective.
Seven & i Group conducts an employee engagement survey targeting employees of Seven & i Holdings as well as Group companies. The survey includes questions asking people if they respect diversity or have seen or heard about problematic employee behavior in the workplace, and checks whether the human rights are respected in line with the Corporate Action Guidelines. The survey conducted in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, targeted approximately 73,000 employees working at 34 Group companies in Japan. The next survey is scheduled for the second half of FY2022.
The Seven & i Group implements interview surveys of store employees conducted by the Human Rights Education Center with the aim of identifying human rights issues specific to its business or operating companies and for reducing and mitigating human rights risks. In March 2021, we completed interviews with all employees of Terube, Ltd., a special subsidiary established to promote employment for people with severe disabilities. We plan to conduct interview surveys sequentially in the future as well.
To ensure that suppliers understand the Seven & i Holdings Business Partner Action Guidelines, Seven & i Group administers a self-check sheet for suppliers 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 the suppliers.
From the fiscal year ended February 28, 2017, the Seven & i Group has conducted questionnaire surveys of suppliers to confirm whether the speech and behavior of employees toward suppliers follow the Seven & i Holdings Corporate Action Guidelines. In these surveys, suppliers reply to questions anonymously. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, a total of approximately 8,800 representatives of suppliers responded to questionnaire surveys issued by Group companies.
In addition, Seven & i Group conducts CSR audits of end manufacturing factories of the suppliers who produce Seven Premium, group’s private brand products, as well as Ito-Yokado's overseas direct import suppliers. The audits ascertain their level of compliance with the Seven & i Group Business Partner Sustainability Action Guidelines.
A third-party organization 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 117 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. In the fiscal year ending February 28, 2022, CSR audits were conducted at 357 factories in 10 countries.
Seven & i Group has established the Groupwide Helpline 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. In addition, the Group has also established the Business Partner Helpline. The Helpline can be used by directors and audit & supervisory board members, employees, and former employees of domestic Group companies' business partners. The consultation service is operated by a third party under a service contract and a non-disclosure agreement with our company 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. If any issues are identified, corrective measures will be taken. 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.