Respect for Human Rights

Basic Stance

Under the three-year Corporate Business Plan launched on April 1, 2019, Sumitomo Chemical regards respect for human rights as one of the foundations for ensuring sustainability of its business. In April 2019, Sumitomo Chemical established the “Sumitomo Chemical Group Human Rights Policy” and the “Human Rights Promotion Committee,” a committee tasked to promote human rights, based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In order to ensure that the Group as a whole is committed to respecting human rights, Sumitomo Chemical makes every effort to ensure that all Group companies in Japan and overseas are fully aware of our basic policies.

Sumitomo Chemical Group Human Rights Policy (Effective April 1, 2019)

This policy was formulated based on the advice of outside human rights experts with practical experience.

Sumitomo Chemical Group (Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. and its Group Companies) has put in place this Human Rights Policy (“Policy”) to demonstrate its commitment to international standards on human rights. All directors, executive officers and employees (“Personnel”) of the Sumitomo Chemical Group will uphold this Policy.

1. Our Position on Human Rights

  1. Compliance with Standards, Laws and Regulations
    We support and respect international standards on human rights, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and promote respect for human rights in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. is a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact and supports its Ten Principles, which include human rights and labor.

    We comply with applicable laws and regulations in countries and regions where we operate, and where local laws and regulations conflict with international standards, we will seek ways to honor the principles of internationally recognized human rights.
  2. Respect for Human Rights in Our Business Activities
    We do not discriminate against individuals based on employment status, age, sex, ethnic or social origin, ancestry, nationality, disability, religion, beliefs, marital status, or any other status. We do not tolerate any form of harassment, including sexual harassment or workplace bullying. We also respect fundamental labor rights including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, and prohibit forced labor or child labor.

    We are committed to respecting human rights in our business activities and also strive to avoid contributing to infringement of human rights. In order to prevent and mitigate human rights risks related to our business activities, we will take necessary measures, including ensuring compliance with the Compliance Manual (the Sumitomo Chemical Code of Business Conduct) and other relevant policies and guidelines. We are also committed to understanding our impact on local communities and aim for harmonious coexistence with these communities.

    We expect our business partners, including our suppliers, and other relevant stakeholders to act in line with the principles in this Policy, and we will seek ways to work with them to promote respect for human rights.

2. Our Approach to Human Rights Issues

  1. Providing Education and Raising Awareness
    We will provide appropriate education and training to our Personnel so that this Policy is understood and effectively implemented.
  2. Human Rights Due Diligence
    We will identify adverse human rights impacts, and seek to prevent or mitigate such impacts though our human rights due diligence framework.
  3. Responding to Identified Human Rights Impacts
    We will engage with relevant stakeholders in order to address actual or potential adverse human rights impacts.
  4. Remedy
    Where we identify that we have caused or contributed to adverse human rights impacts, we will endeavor to remediate such impacts through appropriate processes.
  5. Grievance Mechanisms
    We have grievance mechanisms in place in the form of the Speak-Up Reporting System (whistle-blowing channels) in order to address concerns about activities that may adversely impact human rights or any other concerns raised about our business activities. These channels are available for anyone having involvement in Sumitomo Chemical Group’s business activities, including their business partners as well as Sumitomo Chemical Group Personnel and their families. We will continuously seek to optimize our grievance mechanisms.
  6. Disclosure
    We will report on our efforts to respect human rights including through our website, integrated report, Sustainability Data Book, and other relevant channels.

Compliance with the Laws and Regulations involving Respect for Human Rights World-wide

Sumitomo Chemical Group, as a responsible global company operating worldwide, has
launched the group statement, which clarifies our group-wide business/operation and measures against modern slavery and human trafficking and is in compliance with laws and regulations world-wide relevant to prevention of modern slavery and human trafficking and respect for human rights (i.e. the Modern Slavery Act 2015 of the United Kingdom, the Modern
Slavery Act 2018 of Australia and the U.S. California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010).

Management System

Human Rights Promotion Committee

In order to fulfill its responsibility to respect human rights throughout the value chain, Sumitomo Chemical has established the Human Rights Promotion Committee as the organization to promote activities in accordance with its policies. Since this committee is an initiative that spans the entire value chain, representatives from a wide range of relevant departments are called into the committee.

The Executive Officer in charge of corporate sectors is the committee’s Chairman, and the Executive Officers in charge of the Planning & Coordination Offices in each business sector participate as committee members to ensure the effectiveness of the committee.

Roles of the Committee

  1. Promotion of Human Rights Awareness
  2. Formulation and implementation of the following proposals regarding respect for human rights throughout the value chain of the entire Sumitomo Chemical Group:
    • Formulation and publication of policies required by the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and relevant national laws
    • Identification of human rights issues by conducting risk assessments across the entire value chain; and taking appropriate actions, including remedial measures that are commensurate with the specific issue or risk (human rights due diligence and remedy)

Promotion System

The Sumitomo Chemical Group’s System

Based on the basic policy on human rights, Sumitomo Chemical strives to put together and take actions on specific measures to promote respect for human rights, in collaboration with domestic and overseas Group companies and urging our business partners to cooperate.

In particular, at overseas, Sumitomo Chemical has set up the regional headquarters in the United States, Belgium, Singapore and China that have established the compliance systems in accordance with the respective local legal system and are working to ensure and promote compliance of each of the local companies’ operations in the region, including initiatives to protect human rights.

Examples of Initiatives

Sumitomo Chemical has outlined its basic policy on human rights in its Compliance Manual (Sumitomo Chemical Code of Business Conduct). Sumitomo Chemical is raising awareness of this policy through the intranet.

Under this policy, Sumitomo Chemical makes it clear that, in line with the principle of respect for individuals, Sumitomo Chemical has completely rooted out speech and behavior that manifests as harassment and bullying, such as that which disparages another’s character based on personal opinions or values without respecting their individualities.

In addition, Sumitomo Chemical prohibits all forms of harassment, including power harassment and sexual harassment (including LGBT-related and that directed at people of the same gender).

Regarding the prohibition of unfair discrimination, Sumitomo Chemical does not conduct any discriminatory acts that impugn people’s dignity based on employment type, age, gender, birthplace, ancestry, nationality, race, disability, religion, beliefs, marital status, or other such attribute. Sumitomo Chemical also prohibits discrimination based on a person’s physical gender or perceived gender due to a difference in gender identity or sexual orientation, and discrimination against people with disabilities.

Raising Employees’ Awareness of Human Rights

To educate employees on human rights issues, Sumitomo Chemical incorporates human rights-related education into not only the introductory training all employees take after joining Sumitomo Chemical but also all internal training programs, including those for newly promoted employees.

In addition, Sumitomo Chemical implements training and other measures at each workplace to protect human rights.

Initiatives to Raise Awareness of Human Rights (Sumitomo Chemical) (FY2018)



Seminars and lectures on human rights


(running total)

92.5% of all employees

Consultation Office

Aiming to establish a system wherein employees are able to receive counseling for various kinds of harassment, including power harassment, sexual harassment, and maternity harassment, Sumitomo Chemical has set up a harassment consultation office staffed with counselors. In fiscal 2018, as in the past, there were no cases recognized as discrimination.

Human Rights Initiatives in the Supply Chain

Since 2009, we have been promoting the Sumitomo Chemical Supply-Chain CSR Deployment Guidebook as an initiative for responsible procurement throughout the entire supply chain. The guidebook asks suppliers to respect human rights, prohibit harassment and other forms of unethical treatment, root out discrimination when advertising open positions and when hiring, realize equality in opportunities and fair compensation, comply with legal standards regarding working hours, respect the rights of labor to organize, prohibit forced labor and child labor, and comply with minimum wage requirements.

Furthermore, once again demonstrating our commitment to ensuring that human rights are respected throughout the entire supply chain and to ensure executive officers’ strict compliance with related initiatives, the Group announced its support for the Joint Declaration on Rectifying Business Practices That Lead to Long Working Hours, which the Japan Business Federation and around 110 other business and economic associations have ratified. In addition, we set up a website especially for the Compliance Manual’s human rights initiatives in the value chain, including the supply chain. We ensure that the Group’s executives and employees comply with our efforts.

Human Rights Due Diligence and Remedy

The Sumitomo Chemical Group has established a human rights due diligence framework in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in addition to its previous initiatives for CSR procurement, with the aim of ensuring respect for human rights through business activities. Human rights due diligence is a continuous effort to identify potential adverse human rights impact throughout the value chain through our Group’s business activities, to prevent and remediate such adverse impacts, and to disclose information on the details of responses and results to the public. The CSR Dept., Legal Dept., Procurement Dept., and Logistics Dept. are working together to ensure that the entire value chain is thoroughly checked under this human rights due diligence framework.

In fiscal 2019, in addition to previous initiatives, we plan to identify risks by establishing risk indicators based on the nature of our business and the regional characteristics of the Sumitomo Chemical Group’s business activities and conducting investigations. In addition, we plan to identify risks through investigations involving external experts, including additional on site investigations when necessary. If, through this human rights due diligence process, it is determined that the Group’s business activities are causing or contributing on adverse human rights impact, we will engage with relevant stakeholders and endeavor to rectify and remediate such impact through appropriate processes.

Overview of Human Rights Due Diligence Initiatives

Looking Ahead

Sumitomo Chemical and its Group company, under the initiative of the Human Rights Promotion Committee, will continue to promote respect for human rights in accordance with the Sumitomo Chemical Group Human Rights Policy.