Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion of Sumitomo Forestry Group

Basic Policy

The Sumitomo Forestry Group is promoting diversity and inclusion with "respecting diversity and creating a free and vigorous corporate culture" as one of our values.

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

As an independent organization within the Personnel Department, "Workstyle Diversification Department" cooperates with each department to promote diversity and inclusion through activities that support the active involvement of diverse employees to achieve a work-life balance that meets their specific circumstances, including female employees, retired employees, employees with disabilities, and LGBTQ employees.

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.

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 we have been working on this goal, reaching 6.3% by the end of 2022.

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.

Percentage of Female employees in management positions
FY2022 target

At least6.7%

Percentage of Female employees in management positions
As of December 31, 2022


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)

FY2019 FY2020 FY2021 FY2022
Ratio of female employees to all employees*1(%) 21.6 22.0 22.6 23.1
Ratio of females to new hires*2(%) 26.9 30.2 26.9 33.1
Female employees in management positions*1*3(%) 4.2 4.8 5.6 6.3
  Ratio of female senior managers (%) 2.7 2.7 2.2 2.4
  Ratio of female general managers (%) 5.1 6.3 8.3 8.5
Female employees in management positions in revenue-generating functions*1*4(%) - 3.2 3.9 3.8
Ratio of women in research and development / technical positions*1(%) - 9.5 11.7 10.5

*1Fiscal 2019 was calculated based on enrollment as of March 31. 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

*2Calculated by adding the number of new graduate employees hired between May and the following March of the previous year to the number of new graduates hired in April.

*3Among managers, supervisors are defined as senior managers and the rest as general managers

*4The rate is excluding support functions such as HR, IT, Legal, etc.

Training for Home Advisors

Regular training is provided for female home advisors working at model homes. We follow up with them by utilizing videos and operations manuals that summarize the details of the work and key points of customer service, so that they can put the work into practice.

In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, a total of 318 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. To this end, we provide training for female employees in sales positions in their third year with the company to help them acquire sales skills and follow up with them to strengthen their weak areas.

In addition, we plan to conduct online information exchanges to help resolve issues related to the retention of female staff.

Initiatives Aimed at Increasing the 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.

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
Managers and Manager Candidates Training for new managers and female leaders
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 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 regards LGBTQ 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.

In 2021, training was conducted for directors and employees at the Personnel Department and General Administration Department, and in 2022, training was conducted for all managers in charge of each department and branch office, as well as all managers in charge of general affairs. In 2023, we plan to implement the program for all group managers in the Housing Division. All employees are required to take e-learning courses to promote company-wide understanding.

In the area of personnel systems, in January 2022, we established the "Partnership System Regulations" and applied the same internal systems and benefits to same-sex partners and de facto partners as those of spouses. We are working to increase the number of allies (people who understand and support LGBTQ) by providing information to employees on the internal website, including information on systems, initiatives, and participation in LGBTQ awareness-raising events such as Rainbow Pride.

In addition, an "External Grievance Desk" has been established to provide individual consultation.

In November 2022, in recognition of these efforts, Sumitomo Forestry received gold certification, the highest ranking, in the PRIDE Index 2022 which evaluates companies’ engagement with the LGBTQ community. We will continue to work to create an environment where everyone can work comfortably and actively.


LGBTQ training state

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, 2022 was 2.40%. 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. The program was also implemented in fiscal 2022 for new hires, etc. We plan to continue to do so and promote acquisition by 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.

*1Test 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

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

*3The 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, 2022


Employment of Persons with Disabilities (Non-Consolidated)*1*2

FY2019 FY2020 FY2021 FY2022
Ratio of Disabled Employees (%) 2.40 2.25 2.38 2.40

*1Calculated as of March 31 for 2019, and as of December 31 due to changes in the accounting period after 2020

*2Calculated 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 2022, Sumirin Wood Peace employs 13 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 Cabinet Company (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 remained around 80% on average, although the ratio varies from year to year. After adopting the system, 91.9% of employees (1 re-employ retiree) in fiscal 2020, 93.3% of employees (4 re-employ retirees) in fiscal 2021 and 93.2% of employees (5 re-employ retirees) in fiscal 2022 chose 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. Every year since April 2020, a re-employment ratio of 100% has also been 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, 77 employees have registered as senior human resource assets, of whom 53 are still working as of December 31, 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. 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 in October 2008, 324 applications have been received and 12 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 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*

F2019 F2020 F2021 F2022 F2023
14 12 17 13 12

*As of April 1 of each fiscal year

Number of Challenged Employees Promoted to a Permanent Employee*

FY2019 FY2020 FY2021 FY2022 FY2023
2 1 0 1 1

*As of April 1 of each fiscal year