Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Basic Policy

The Sumitomo Forestry Group has positioned diversity equity inclusion (DEI) as one of important elements for development of its business based on one of Our Values: " We promote a free and open-minded corporate culture that respects diversity."

In order to link innovation brought about by the diverse abilities and values of our diverse human resources to new challenges and growth, we have defined "To create a vibrant environment for all workers" as one of our material issues, and are managing it by incorporating it into the annual activity policies and measures of the administrative divisions.

The Sumitomo Forestry Group Code of Conduct states respect for the human rights of all individuals, including women, children, indigenous peoples, minorities, and vulnerable people, in accordance to internationally accepted human rights norms.

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

Workstyle Diversification Department, an independent organization within the Personnel Department, cooperates with each department to ensure a diverse range of employees, including female employees, re-employment of retirees, employees with disabilities, and LGBTQ people, can work actively and achieve work-life balance in accordance with their individual circumstances.

In April 2024, the Sumitomo Forestry Group issued a "Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration on DEI", We aim to reinforce the understanding of DEI by promoting its principles within the company.

The Sustainability Committee, consisting of Directors who concurrently serve as Executive Officers and Divisional Manager, being chaired by the President, manages progress of Mid-Term Sustainability Targets.

Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Sumitomo Forestry Group regards DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) as a key element in developing its businesses. To create new value and pursue further innovation, we are committed to promoting DEI.

We shall accept, embrace and respect the diversity of each individual in terms of gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, race, place of origin, religion, beliefs, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, as well as workstyle, career path, values and other qualities.

By providing the best resources and opportunities according to each individual’s circumstances, we shall create a fair environment where everyone can unharness their abilities.

Inclusion is when individuals feel safe to voice their opinions because they know they are respected. By supporting and cooperating with each other and by building a sense of unity, we shall work together in ways that bring out our fullest potential.

President and Representative Director
Toshiro Mitsuyoshi

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.

In fiscal 2013, we announced "Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration on Empowering Women" to entire group under name of our president. Since then, we have been making efforts in accordance with the policies stated in this declaration.

Since April 2024, under Sumitomo Forestry Group Declaration on DEI, we have been working on DEI promotion initiatives by evolving the concept of empowering women.

Percentage of Female employees in management positions
FY2023 target

At least7.4%

Percentage of Female employees in management positions
As of December 31, 2023


Development of Numerical Targets for Promotion of Women to Management Positions

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 we have been working on this goal, reaching 6.8% by the end of 2023.

In 2021, we endorsed the "Challenge to 30% by 2030," a goal set by the Keidanren (Japan Business Federation) to increase the percentage of women on the board of directors to 30% by 2030.

In 2022, in the Mid-term Sustainability Targets and the third phase of the Action Plan of the Act on the Promotion of Women's Active Engagement in Professional Life, a goal of "the percentage of female employees in management positions being 8.1% or more by December 31, 2024" was announced.

Training for Home Advisors

Regular training is provided for home advisors working at model homes. By using videos and operation manuals that summarize details of operations and points of customer support, we follow up on them so that they can be connected to practical operations as contact of "Sumitomo Forestry homes."

In addition, for new trainers, we provide training that includes an overview of the company, the basics of customer service, telephone service, etc. This is to ensure they understand the guidance and training program for new home advisors, and are able to conduct training for incoming employees based on the trainer's guide.

In fiscal 2023, a total of 56 participants took the course. In the future, we plan to conduct skill improvement training utilizing online and other means so that we can respond to customers' situations and requests in a more detailed manner.

Training for Female Sales Staff

Since not a small number of female employees leave the company due to life events, it is important to create an environment that enables diverse work styles and to facilitate early acquisition of skills. Therefore, we have conducted new training primarily for 13 female sales representatives in Tokai area who are 2-10 years tenure with the company. This training aimed at acquiring sales skills, interacting with senior employees within such area, and raising their motivation.

During the training, participants expressed their desire to learn that there are stories that only women can talk about and that they can take advantage of them, and to use career of their senior employees as a model to motivate them in the future.

In addition, we plan to exchange information online so that we can solve problems for retention of female sales representatives in the future.

Initiatives Aimed at Increasing the Motivation

In a housing maker information exchange meeting in which Workstyle Diversification Department participates, a joint host is held once a year for each of a female business job meeting and a female engineer meeting.

Since this job category has small number of female employees in the industry, the purpose of such activities is to raise motivation and lead to active participation by sharing role models across the entire industry beyond company boundaries, and by interacting with employees facing similar challenges.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this activity could not be held from 2020. It resumed in 2023 after a four-year hiatus. Eleven employees participated in the Female Sales Staff Exchange Meeting and two in the Engineer Exchange Meeting.

At the exchange meeting, case studies of role models were presented and group discussions were held. Participants commented that "Hearing story of a person who is working hard as a manager at another company served as a reference for my future career," and "It gave me an image that I could overcome life events and continue working ", and it contributed to improve their motivation.

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
Managers and Manager Candidates Training for new managers (once a year), training for female leaders (once a year)
Administrative planning staff Career Advancement Training (1 time a year)

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 design training, such as Career 30 training (voluntary) for employees in their 30s, Career 40 training (all employees) for employees in their 40s and Career 50 training (all employees) for employees in their 50s tailored to each major millstone throughout life.

LGBTQ initiatives

Sumitomo Forestry is promoting training and the establishment of systems and mechanisms to support LGBTQ initiatives. This is part of DEI promotion, which emphasizes understanding others and respecting individuals.

Fostering Employee Awareness

Training was conducted under a three-year plan. In 2021, training was provided to executives, employees of Personnel Department, and General Administration Department. In 2022, training was provided to all site managers and general affairs managers. In 2023, training was provided to all group managers in Housing Division. In addition, all employees are required to attend e-learning.

In addition, we are continuously posting various measures and participatiom informatiom for LGBTQ-related events on our internal website to raise employee awareness and increase the number of "allies (people who understand and support LGBTQ) ". In 2023, we created an original Allies sticker and distributed it to employees.

Creation of a Structure

In January 2022, we established "Partnership System Regulations" to provide same in-house systems and benefits for same-sex and de facto partners as those of spouses. As a result, special leave, childcare and nursing care systems, and regulations on condolence and celebration payments are applied to registered partners and their children and parents.

By accepting same-sex partnerships, which are currently not stipulated by law, and applying an internal system, we have created an environment in which employees can work with peace of mind and can continue to play an active role in the future even when they have life events such as childcare or elderly care with their partner. In addition, as a new family style that is not bound by legal marriage is expanding, partners in de facto marriages have been added to the scope of these regulations.

We have also set up an External Consultation Desk where employees can consult with counseling specialists anonymously.

Being praised by these efforts, Sumitomo Forestry was awarded the highest Gold Rating in the PRIDE Index, which evaluates LGBTQ initiatives in the workplace, for two consecutive years in 2022 and 2023. We will continue to work to create an environment where everyone can work comfortably and actively.

Sumitomo Forestry Original Allies Sticker Sumitomo Forestry Original Allies Sticker

Sumitomo Forestry Original Allies Sticker

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, 2023 was 2.46%*1. 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*2 since fiscal 2018. Every year, all employees except the person on leave take 3rd grade course. In fiscal 2021, we became the first company in the housing industry achieving a 100% attendance rate. Since then, this program has been implemented for newly hired employees to encourage all employees to acquire the certification*3. 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.

*1The calculation is the sum of Sumitomo Forestry, subsidiary Sumirin Wood Peace as well as the affiliated Group company Sumirin Business Services

*2Test 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

*3By December 2023, 5,683 employees except childcare leave employees, long-term leave employee, employees seconded to partner companies and etc. completed the course.

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, 2023


Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Non-Consolidated)*

FY2020 FY2021 FY2022 FY2023
Ratio of Disabled Employees (%) 2.25 2.38 2.40 2.46

*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 2023, 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

Selective Retirement and Re-employment of Retirees

Introduction of Selective Retirement System

Sumitomo Forestry introduced a Selective Retirement Age 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.

Percentage of Re-employment before introduction of Selective Retirement has remained at about 80%, although it varies from year to year. On average, more than 90% of employees continue to work after reaching age of 60.

Result of those who reached the age of 60 (full-time employees) in 2022 is 88.9% (including re-employment of 5 retirees).

Re-employment of Retirees

Sumitomo Forestry adopted a system for the re-employment of retirees in fiscal 2006 whereby its 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 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. Every year since April 2020, our reemployment rate after selective retirement has reached 100%.

After introduction of selective retirement, number of employees who select retirement before 65 years old due to their own circumstances and desire re-employment increases. We listen to needs of their department and wishes of employee, and respond individually as necessary, for example, by reducing number of working days after the second year. Employees of senior generation play an active role by flexibly coping with the contract condition without fixing contract condition.

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, 109 employees have registered as senior human resource assets, of whom 76 are still working as of December 31, 2023.

Among them, there are 12 persons aged 70 or older (including working in our group companies).

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. This is a system that allows employees to be re-employed by the company in the future if they meet certain filing requirements such as three years or more of service when they retire due to their own circumstances, and since its introduction, 17 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 operate a system for promoting partner employees to permanent status. It promoted 11 workers to permanent employee status in fiscal 2023.

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*

F2020 F2021 F2022 F2023 F2024
12 17 13 12 11

*As of April 1 of each fiscal year

Number of Challenged Employees Promoted to a Permanent Employee*

FY2020 FY2021 FY2022 FY2023 FY2024
1 0 1 2 3

*As of April 1 of each fiscal year

Sustainability Report
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