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 29, 2020, a total of 48 training sessions were held, and a total of 925 employees underwent training. In order to further support training by Group companies, Seven & i Holdings has been using "Human Rights - Let's Start by Learning" to raise employee awareness.
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 on the intranet website, and are awarded prizes. The contest was held for the 29th time in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, and 61,142 proposals were received, marking yet another year with a large number of submissions. The submissions 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 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 established in the Corporate Action Guidelines are being respected. The survey conducted in November 2018 targeted approximately 35,000 employees working at 28 Group companies in Japan. The next survey is scheduled for the second half of FY2020 .
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 factories 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. In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, CSR audits were conducted at 304 factories in 13 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 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.