Recognizing the Imperatives

The Sumitomo Forestry Group respects the human rights of employees as well as all of its other stakeholders equally as a corporate Group expanding its businesses globally. We believe reducing human rights risks in our business activities is a material theme for our sustainable growth and development.

The Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct was formulated based on this recognition of our respect for human rights. We also strive to raise awareness about human rights through training and other educational measures.

We have also translated the Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct into English and other languages to further expand these principles to affiliated companies outside of Japan. In addition, we keep all of our employees well informed and disclose this information to many of our stakeholders by including this code of conduct on our website.

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Approach and Policies to Human Rights

The Sumitomo Forestry Group complies with international human rights bills (Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenants on Human Rights), the International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Labour Standards, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Based on these international standards, the Sumitomo Forestry Group has put forth a commitment to human rights respect and a healthy workplace in its Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct. In addition, the Code calls for the respect of the human rights of all individuals, including women, children, indigenous people, minorities and other socially vulnerable people and stipulates that there will be no discrimination whatsoever on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, ideology, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or other. The Code also does not permit forced labor or child labor in any form.

Furthermore, the Sumitomo Forestry Group will permeate these policies and conduct the proper assessments to ensure this same level of respect even by business partners. We will also execute measures against human rights risks and conduct human rights due diligence in an effort to fully grasp and mitigate any risk to human rights.

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Support for the Human Rights Initiative

The Sumitomo Forestry Group has been a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Global Compact since December 2008, and has posted this on the Company's website in both Japanese and English. For the purpose of more widely disseminating the Global Compact’s ten principles in four areas (human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption), Sumitomo Forestry also prepared a poster in English, Chinese and Indonesian, and has distributed it for display to all Group companies overseas.

Sumitomo Forestry addresses human rights issues by participating in domestic and international initiatives concerning human rights such as the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) subcommittee meetings of UN Global Compact Network Japan.

A poster promoting the UN Global Compact

A poster promoting the UN Global Compact

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Implementation of Human Rights Risk Measures and Due Diligence

Through human rights due diligence, Sumitomo Forestry Group identifies factors that may have a negative impact on human rights and works to prevent or reduce them.

Since FY2012, a CSR fact-finding survey is conducted every year at each of the Group companies regarding their CSR initiatives to review and improve the human rights situation. In FY2017, based on the survey for the major 52 Japanese and overseas Group companies (26 Japanese companies, 26 overseas companies), 47 subsidiaries implement human rights trainings (including 20 overseas subsidiaries), 42 have functions to handle grievance (including 15 overseas) and 32 implement mitigation plans (including 19 overseas). For our suppliers, we conduct surveys and face-to-face interviews to prevent human right infringements.

Based on this survey, in fiscal 2017, we did not find any human rights violations.

In addition, we regularly invite human rights experts to serve as instructors and give workshops on human rights due diligence, primarily for employees of management divisions and departments with high human rights risks, namely overseas plantation forest operations, manufacturing operations and timber procurement operations. The workshops examine the stakeholders in the supply chain of each operation and identify those regions and organizations at high risk in terms of human rights. Participants of the workshops then analyze risks with a high possibility of occurrence or with a potentially significant negative impact and discuss various countermeasures.

As a measure against identified risks in 2018, the Sumitomo Forestry Group has formulated a grievance mechanism for plantation forest operations in Indonesia.

We will continue to reinforce our efforts globally regarding human rights risks.

Workshop on due diligence in human rights

Workshop on due diligence in human rights

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Identifying and managing human rights risks

In conjunction with the formulation of its Human Rights Policy, Sumitomo Forestry Group has asked each of its business divisions to create a risk map to clearly identify important human rights risks affecting stakeholders in the value chain.

Each business division identified its important risks as follows: The Environment and Resources Division – “Infringing indigenous or community land rights and managing related laws” as well as “Occupational safety and health management in mountain forests (dangerous work, etc.).” The Timber & Building Materials Division – “Infringing indigenous land rights,” “Occupational safety and health management at factories (fires, dust explosions, etc.),” and “Child labor at timber plantations (including dangerous labor).” The Housing and Construction Division and the Overseas Housing and Real Estate Division – “Labor conditions of migrant workers (forced labor, etc.).”

In addition to risk measures already being undertaken, the Company is working on countermeasures and implementation plans for each stakeholder to further prevent, avoid, lessen or rectify these identified important risks.

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Human Rights Training

The Sumitomo Forestry Group offers classes about human rights in its new employee training in Japan. Sumitomo Forestry also incorporates classes about human rights in its training for new general managers. We also require all Group employees with access to the intranet to take the “Work and Human Rights” module in e-learning every year with the intention to promote respect for human rights and a workplace where no discrimination is tolerated.

In fiscal 2017, 10,899 employees of which 5,606 and 5,293 belong to the parent company and Group companies, respectively. The effort in raising human right awareness via e-learning will be continued into the future. We also plan to conduct training related to the Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct formulated in July 2017.

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Prevention of Harassment

Sumitomo Forestry makes its policy on sexual harassment, workplace bullying and maternity harassment clear, having included in its Employment Regulations, under one category of rules to be observed by employees (discipline on the job), a provision prohibiting such harassment as well as disciplinary standards. The Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct also prohibits all forms of harassment and this is communicated via the internal website and pamphlets. In addition, awareness within the Company is fostered by providing information with case examples and implementing regular awareness promotion notices, through human rights and ethics training and other activities.

Furthermore, a framework to properly handle inquiries and complaints was put in place in fiscal 2000 with the establishment of the Harassment Consultation Hotline within the Personnel Department and Compliance Counter both inside and outside of the Company. The privacy of all those involved is protected and every effort is made to ensure that neither the complainant nor those cooperating are treated detrimentally.

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Respect for Human Rights at Overseas Plantations

For timber plantations in Indonesia’s West Kalimantan Barat, the Company signed an advisory agreement with International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s group institute in 2012, and conducted an assessment adhering to the concept of “High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF)” mainly on whether the commercial land use plan has been implemented appropriately and whether adequate consideration for biodiversity and local communities are made.

As a way to communicate the assessment results from 2013, the Sumitomo Forestry Group invites stakeholders (local residents, neighbor corporations, academics, NGOs, and government workers) as part of its plantation forest operations with considerations toward human rights to deepen understanding about environmental considerations such as sharing information about the business before harvesting of plantations in 2015.

In 2018, the Group formulated a grievance mechanism with the help of the IFC.

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Respect for Human Rights Through CSR Procurement

Sumitomo Forestry Group is conducting fair and responsible procurement under the Sumitomo Group Procurement Policy which obligates suppliers to protect human rights and basic rights of labor as well as preventing corruption. For procurement of imported materials, specifically, the Group ensures whether rights of workers and local communities in the areas where raw materials of the supplies are procured from, have not been violated; if there is a risk, then whether adequate consideration for these rights during logging is inspected through surveys and on-site interviews to the suppliers.

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