Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion of Sumitomo Forestry Group

Basic Policy

The Sumitomo Forestry Group advocates the promotion of a free and open-minded corporate culture that respects diversity as one of the principles in Our Values. According to internationally accepted human rights norms, we shall of course respect equal opportunity and diversity as well as respect the human rights of all individuals, including women, children, indigenous people, minorities and vulnerable people in the employment and treatment of employees as stated in the Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct.

We have also defined "a vibrant work environment where a diverse workforce can unharness their skills and individuality" as one material issue for sustainability. As part of the specific strategies and goals set in the Mid-Term Sustainability Targets, we aim to create a work environment that generates diverse ideas, job satisfaction and vibrancy as well as secure human resources by training younger workers and utilizing older ones, which we incorporate into our management practices through inclusion in annual activity policy and measures for each department.

In recruitment activities, the Company emphasizes the ambition and volition of the applicant, and does not differentiate the selection processes according to academic background or gender. At Group companies outside Japan, the employment of local staff is actively promoted, and talented personnel are employed and promoted to management positions, irrespective of race or gender.

As for the disciplinary punishment and dismissal of employees, if there has been a compliance violation, the employee will be dealt with appropriately in accordance with Employment Regulations. We have also put in place a system to prevent unfair dismissals.

Recently, talent acquisition has been recognized as one of the major management issues for management in Japan triggered mainly by low birth rate and thereby aging population. Sumitomo Forestry communicates this type of approach with potential employees during recruitment and expands supportive programs to foster diverse work styles and performance of female employees in effort of acquiring valuable, next-generation talent.

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Promotion System

As an independent organization within the Human Resources Department, "Work Style Support Office" cooperates with each department to support the active involvement of diverse employees, including female employees, retired employees, and employees with disabilities, and promotes diversity.

The Sustainability Committee, consisting of directors concurrently serving as executive officers and general managers of each division, is chaired by the President Executive Officer and manages progress, etc. in the Mid-Term Sustainability Targets.

In addition, two independent directors play a role in promoting the diversity of Sumitomo Forestry and the active involvement of female employees. In discussions with female employees at in-house opinion exchange meetings and meetings by members attending the Board of Directors, not only the promotion of the active involvement of female employees but also the promotion of diversity in Sumitomo Forestry is actively discussed.

Promoting the Active Involvement of Female Employees

The Sumitomo Forestry Group is committed to a workplace environment where motivated employees can be actively involved irrespective of gender, age, nationality, race, religion or disability. In an endeavor to actively engage female employees in particular, the Group has sought to improve its systems relating to childcare, education and training, and at the same time, has taken a proactive stance on promoting the use of these systems.

During fiscal 2013, the Group surveyed the attitude and needs of employees with respect to: work and careers; promoting the active involvement of female employees; and childbirth and parenting. A survey was conducted to gauge the awareness of all female employees at Sumitomo Forestry to assist the Group in promoting the active involvement of female employees and in supporting the workstyles of employees currently raising children. In addition, the Group released the "Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration on Empowering Women". It was issued to the entire Group under the name of the President, and formally summarizes the significance of promoting the active involvement of female employees into three policies. The Group is actively engaged in activities under the policy described in the Declaration.

In fiscal 2014, numerical targets for the appointment of women to managerial posts have been set in order to foster further empowerment of female employees at Sumitomo Forestry. We have publicly announced our goal of raising the ratio of female managers to at least 5% by 2020, and have worked to achieve this goal. In fiscal 2016, in accordance with The Act on Promotion of Women's Participation and Advancement in the Workplace of the Japanese Government, the Company's first phase action plan (April 1, 2016 -March 31, 2019) was implemented. In fiscal 2019, the second phase action plan (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2022) was formulated, advocates and has advanced efforts toward the goal of raising the ratio of female managers to at least 5.5% as a new numerical target to achieve by fiscal 2021. As of the end of 2021, it was 5.6%.
Furthermore, in the third phase action plan (April 1, 2022 to December 31, 2024) in fiscal 2022, a goal of "the percentage of female employees in management positions being 8.1% or more by December 31, 2024" is announced.

In addition, we have been conducting a mentoring system for the purpose of encouraging growth for the active participation of female employees as management. The mentoring system is a program where assigned mentors periodically interview mentees to support the growth of the mentee. Thus far, a total of 27 female manager and manager candidate mentees where mentored by managers in positions of general manager level with the aim to further success and self-reformation. Since fiscal 2020, we have participated in an external mentor program, with two employees participating in fiscal 2020 and three employees participating in fiscal 2021.

Percentage of Female employees in management positions
FY2021 target
(Non-consolidated)

At least 5.5%

Percentage of Female employees in management positions
As of December 31, 2021
(Non-consolidated)

5.6%

Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration on Empowering Women

Sumitomo Forestry Group is committed to creating "an open and inclusive corporate culture that values diversity", as set out in its Action Guidelines. We believe a diverse workforce and a business strategy developed from a wide range of ideas is important for the Company. As part of this effort, we are striving to promote the participation of women in the belief that this will meet the social needs and significantly contribute to increased corporate value.

By expanding opportunities for women and by leveraging the creative power of women, we will integrate a diverse range of values that will spur innovation and enhance corporate value.

  1. We will create a positive work environment for women
    In Japan, with a falling birthrate and aging population, worker population is projected to decline. By utilizing a workforce made up of individuals without regard to values, age, gender, nationality or disability, and by respecting the individual lifestyles of each and every female employee, we are working to create an open corporate culture and positive working environment where everyone can gain a sense of fulfillment in their work.
  2. We will leverage women's unique creative powers
    Women's success in business is gaining prominence, such as with companies that utilize the perspective and creative powers of women to develop new products and services. In all business sectors, Sumitomo Forestry is striving to nurture the culture and processes that will harness women's unique creative powers and create new value.
  3. We will spur innovation through the participation of women
    Lively interaction among employees of different values, ages, gender, nationalities and other qualities leads to new ideas. Expanding work opportunities for women employees, in particular, spurs innovation in all areas, from sales and marketing to product development, business strategy and operational efficiencies.

President and Representative Director
Toshiro Mitsuyoshi

Employment and Promotion of Women (Non-Consolidated)

FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Female employees including contract employees*1(%) 21.0 21.6 22.0 22.6
Female employees in management positions*1(%) 3.7 4.2 4.8 5.6
  Ratio of female senior managers (%) 2.1 2.7 2.7 2.7
  Ratio of female general managers (%) 3.2 5.1 6.3 7.1
Female new graduates*2(%) 24.8 26.9 30.2 26.9
Female employees in management positions in revenue-generating functions*1 *3(%) - - 3.2 3.9
Ratio of women in research and development / technical positions*1(%) - - 9.5 11.7

*1 The ratio of female employees and the ratio of female employees in management positions are calculated from the number of employees enrolled on March 31 of each year from fiscal 2018 to fiscal 2019. The rate is calculated based on the number of employees as of December 31 due to the change in the accounting period after fiscal 2020. The number of employees includes people dispatched to affiliate companies but excludes executive officers, employees hosted from other companies and exchange employees.

*2 The rate of new female graduates is calculated based on the number of employees joining the company as of April 1 each year

*3 The rate is excluding support functions such as HR, IT, Legal, etc.

Development and Sales from a Woman's Perspective

"Female-oriented customer service brush-up training" for female home advisors working at housing exhibition halls are continuously conducted. This training provides insight into household concerns and inconveniences as well as discusses the dream home from a woman's perspective. The curriculum also teaches specific ways to build trust as a key stage of the sales process by especially empathizing with wives and other female customers. This training program is held once every two to three years according to the enrollment of employees yet to take the course. Up until now, 462 female employees took this training program.

Main Initiatives Aimed at Increasing the Motivation of Female Employees

Sumitomo Forestry provides various training for female employees.

Training for women salespersons is conducted for the purpose of finding their source of motivation to encourage female staff to continue to work in sales. Female staff members presented the secret to finding the significance of working as sales team member without focusing on gender. Because many female sales staff resign due to life events, building a working environment that allows diverse work-style innovation is vital. At the same time, raising individual awareness is also important. Therefore, we are working to ensure self-management that not only improves sales skills but also heightens motivation. From 2020 onward, implementation has been postponed due to the impact of the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), but we plan to resume the implementation by utilizing online and the like in the future.

The Sumitomo Forestry Group on-site training for female engineers provided an informational exchange with other companies in the same industry as well as construction site tours for female on-site managers with the goal of teaching successful examples of construction engineers who are women outside Sumitomo Forestry as well as improving skills and motivation.

In January 2020, we held an event called the Women's Conference 2020, aimed primarily at young women employees in their 20s and 30s. Talks from female executives and female managers as role models as well as discussions between participants help female employees think about their long-term career and aim to support them in discovering how to carve their path forward.

Sumitomo Forestry also held management training seminars for female staff to reform thinking in not only female employees but also management. This educational opportunity allowed all of our employees regardless of gender to dispel both conscious and unconscious biases about gender roles and brought greater understanding about diversity promotion.

From November 2020 to February 2021, two employees from the participants of "Women's Conference 2020" participated in an external mentor program with the aim of raising awareness for further career advancement in the future.

In 2021, three employees who changed jobs to broaden their careers also participated in the mentor program.

Participants of Women's Conference 2020 displaying their individual goals

Participants of Women's Conference 2020 displaying their individual goals

Main Initiatives Aimed at Increasing the Motivation of Female Employees

Eligible Persons Description
Sales Staff Regular Female Sales Staff Training
Networking Event for Female Housing Sales Staff: Joint Program by Housing Builders
Production Staff Regular On-site Training for Female Engineers
Managers and Manager Candidates Mentoring Program
Administrative planning staff Career Advancement Training
Administrative planning staff Engineers External Mentoring Program

Various Career Development Programs

Sumitomo Forestry has put in place Free Agent (FA) programs, opportunity bulletins, and a job transfer system so that employees can think about and advance their own careers. By providing a means for employees who satisfy a certain set of conditions to transition into a desired role, we provide a chance for them to fully leverage their skills, improve motivation and vitalize the organization.

In addition, Sumitomo Forestry supports employees' career formation by conducting career development training, such as Career 30 training (voluntary) for employees in their 30s and Career 40 training (all employees) for employees in their 40s tailored to each major millstone throughout life.

LGBT initiatives

Sumitomo Forestry regards LGBT measures as an important initiative that underlies diversity and inclusion, which is understanding of others and respect for individuals, and is promoting training and the development of systems and mechanisms.

It is important to deal with not only employees but also customers and business partners. In order to gain correct knowledge and understanding, in 2021, we conducted training for executives and personnel and general administration departments, and opened an e-learning course that all employees can take.

In addition, an "outside consultation desk" where consultation with a specialist counselor can be anonymously performed was set up, and the system was set up.

We will continue to work to create an environment where everyone can work comfortably and actively.

LGBT training state

LGBT training state

Partnership System Regulation

Sumitomo Forestry established the "Partnership System Regulations" in January 2022. This regulation applies the in-house system and welfare programs to "same-sex partners" and "common-law partners" (hereinafter referred to as "partners") in the same way as spouses. As a result, special leave, childcare and nursing care-related systems, condolence money regulations, or the like will be applied to registered partners and their children and parents.

According to this regulation, the relationship of same-sex partnership is recognized in the company, employees can works with peace of mind by applying the in-house system, a system that can be compatible with work is established even when a life event such as childcare or nursing care with a partner happens, and the employees can work actively in the future. In addition, as new families are becoming more widespread, regardless of legal marriage, we are also targeting common-law partners and creating an environment where they can work comfortably and actively in the future.

Promoting the Employment of Persons with Disabilities

Sumitomo Forestry promotes the employment of people with disabilities, giving the highest priority to matching the individuality of each person with a disability with the workplace and business activities. The ratio of disabled employees as of end of December, 2021 was 2.38%. Furthermore, to improve the retention rates for current employees, the Company provides regular face-to-face meetings as well as phone interviews and career advice as required.

Furthermore, we have been promoting employees to take the Universal Manners Test*1 since fiscal 2018. All employees, excluding employees who are on leave, are prompted to take the 3rd grade course every year and achieved a 100% attendance rate in 2021*2. We plan to implement this course for new hires, etc. from the next fiscal year onward, and promote the acquisition of all employees. Through this test, we aim to promote and retain the employment of persons with disabilities and improve the hospitality of various customers and business partners.

*1 Test to build the mind and actions necessary to provide better services to a diverse range of people from the elderly and people with disabilities to parents with strollers and foreign nationals.

*2 Applicable to 5,430 employees excluding childcare leave, long-term leave, overseas expatriates, etc.

*3 The calculation is the sum of Sumitomo Forestry, subsidiary Sumirin Wood Peace as well as the affiliated Group company Sumirin Business Services

State of group work in the Universal Manners Test (November 2019)

State of group work in the Universal Manners Test (November 2019)

Ratio of Disabled Employees
As of December 31, 2021
(Non-consolidated*3)

2.38%

Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Non-Consolidated)

FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021
Ratio of Disabled Employees (%) 2.32 2.40 2.25 2.38

* Calculated as of March 31 of each fiscal year until 2019, and as of December 31 due to changes in the accounting period after 2020

* Calculated including subsidiary Sumirin Wood Peace and the affiliated Group company Sumirin Business Services

-Sumirin Wood Peace-aiming to actively promote employment of persons with disabilities

Sumirin Wood Peace located in Niihama City, Ehime Prefecture, is a group company that cultivates raw wood shiitake mushrooms and manufactures, processes, and prints woodwork products. In April 2017, the Sumirin Wood Peace obtained the certification of a special subsidiary company in accordance with the Act for Promotion of Employment of Persons with Disabilities. The Company has been promoting recruitment of people with disabilities as business has grown since its start with five people at the time of its founding. As of December 2021, Sumirin Wood Peace employs 12 people with disabilities. In the future, the Company will further this recruitment and ensure business continuity.

State of wood product processing

State of wood product processing

Awarded as Sumirin Woodpeace Employee, Excellent Worker with Disability

Employees of Sumirin Woodpeace Co., Ltd. received the President's Effort Award of the Japan Organization for Employment of the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities, and Job Seekers as an excellent worker with disability at the Award for Excellent Establishments for Employment of Persons with Disabilities in Reiwa3rd Year. In the previous year, another employee of Sumirin Woodpeace received the President's Encouragement Award at the Poster Original Drawing Contest for Employment of Persons with Disabilities, and this is the second consecutive year that the award has been given by the organization.

The award for excellent establishments for employment of persons with disabilities is intended to promote employment of persons with disabilities and stabilize their employment, and is a tribute to the efforts and achievements of establishments that actively hired a large number of persons with disabilities and excellent workers with disabilities who have been working for a long time as model professionals.

2021 Champions of Inclusion Award to award persons with disabilities and companies that are active

In October 2021, Canyon Creek (CCC), a group company in the United States, and employees working for the company received the "2021 Champions of Inclusion Award" from AtWork !, a non-profit organization that supports the employment and independence of persons with disabilities. Since the manufacturing business requires a lot of employment, the manufacturing business is a business that has close ties with the local communities. CCC will continue to aim to be an attractive company that local residents "want to work for".

Adopting Systems to Re-employ Retirees and Provide Selective Retirement

Adopting a Selective Retirement System

Sumitomo Forestry adopted a Selective Retirement System in April 2020 to extend retirement until the end of the fiscal year the employee reaches the age of 65 (March 31 of the personnel fiscal year). We have also introduced a system to move up retirement to the day before the employee's 60th birthday when requested.

An employee can continue to work through the valid term of their contract (re-employment) when selecting retirement before the age of 65 and requesting a flexible work style, such as reducing the number of work days.

The re-employment ratio of retirees before adopting the selective retirement system has remained around 80% on average, although the ratio varies from year to year, after adopting the selective retirement system, 91.9% of employees (1 re-employ retiree) in fiscal 2020, and 93.3% of employees (4 re-employ retirees) in fiscal 2021 choose to continue employment after the age of 60, which has led to stable employment for those aged 60 and over.

Re-employment of Retirees

Sumitomo Forestry adopted a system for the re-employment of retirees in fiscal 2006 whereby it re-employs personnel, who retired at 60, until the end of the fiscal year that they reach the age of 65, on the condition that they have had at least 10 years of continuous service, they have specific qualifications and experience, and they wish to be re-employed. Before April 2020 when the retirement age was set uniformly at 60 years of age, about 80% of our employees who turned 60 requested re-employment each year, and 100% of those employees who requested re-employment were re-employed in the first fiscal year. Since April 2020, a re-employment ratio of 100% is achieved even for those who wish to be re-employed after selecting retirement age.

Senior Human Resources Bank Center

The Senior Human Resource Asset Bank Center established in April 2018 extends re-employment contracts even after the end of the fiscal year when employees turn 65—which is the upper age limit for re-employment of retirees—who are necessary to the company and would like to keep working until they are 70. As of April 2020 when the selective retirement system was adopted, Sumitomo Forestry has abolished the upper age limit to allow re-employment contracts even after the age of 70.

Thus far, 58 employees have registered as senior human resource assets, of whom 40 are still working as of January 1, 2022.

Return to Work Application System

Sumitomo Forestry has operated the Return to Work Application System. The aims of the system are to meet the re-employment needs of workers to secure talented personnel who resign due to unavoidable circumstances such as childcare and eldercare. Employees register their wish to return to work at the time they resign, and applicants must have worked for at least three consecutive years before the resignation. Until now, 288 applications have been received and 7 have been re-employed.

When the Company receives an application, it goes through a selection process based on the Company's needs and the skills of the applicant. Applicants who are successfully re-employed within three years of the resignation are able to regain the same levels of position as before.

Direct Employment of Non-permanent Employees

In recent years, regulations for dispatched employees have been strengthened to correct disparities arising out of different forms of employment. Sumitomo Forestry has established a system that allows dispatched employees to be converted to direct employment as "fixed-term employees (called: partner employees)" in order to prompt talented employees. We also operates a system for promoting partner employees to permanent status. It promoted 13 workers to permanent employee status in fiscal 2022.

Furthermore, we have also implemented a system for partner employees with disabilities (challenged employees) to transition to permanent employment.

Number of Partner Employees Promoted to a Permanent Employee

FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021 FY2022
12 14 12 17 13

* As of April 1 of each fiscal year

Number of Challenged Employees Promoted to a Permanent Employee

FY2018 FY2019 FY2020 FY2021 FY2022
0 2 1 0 1

* As of April 1 of each fiscal year