Human Rights Initiatives
In accordance with the Seven & i Group Corporate Action Guidelines, the Seven & i Group complies with international standards on human rights and engages in initiatives aimed at respecting the human rights of all stakeholders.
Philosophy and Policies on Respect for Human Rights
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*, 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.
- Sexual orientation: A person’s sexual nature determining the gender(s) to which he or she feels attracted
- Gender identity: The recognition and sense of which gender an individual feels they belong to
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 personnel and CSR promotion 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.
Human Rights Awareness and Training
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, 2019, a total of 73 training sessions were held, and a total of 1,728 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,” a handbook published in February 2017, to raise employee awareness.
Human Rights – Let’s Start by Learning handbook
Human rights training
Solicitation of Proposals for Human Rights Slogans
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 28th time in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019, and 70,637 proposals were received. This marks the third consecutive year that more than 70,000 proposals were received.
Poster calling for the submission of human rights slogans
Evaluation of Respect for Human Rights
Conducting Employee Engagement Surveys
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.
Consultation Service for Employees
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.
Assessment of Business Partners by Self-Check Sheet
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.
Conducting CSR Audits of Business Partners’ Manufacturing Plants
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. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019, CSR audits were conducted at 327 plants in 13 countries.