Human Rights Policy
The Yakult Group operates globally, based on our philosophy of contributing to the health and happiness of people around the world. To make this a reality, it is important to create a society in which human rights are protected and respected all over the world.
We recognize that our actions may have a direct or indirect impact on human rights during the course of conducting business, or through our value chain. In order to ensure that the human rights of all people involved in our business are respected, in April 2021 we established the Yakult Group Human Rights Policy after deliberation and approval by the Board of Directors. The Policy clearly states that we shall promote human rights based on the framework of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (referred to below as the “Guiding Principles”), which is the global standard for human rights. Using that framework, we will continue to develop and implement mechanisms for human rights due diligence.
Yakult Group Human Rights Policy
The Yakult Group operates its global business under the corporate philosophy of “We contribute to the health and happiness of people around the world through pursuit of excellence in life science in general and our research and experience in microorganisms in particular,” and in order to fully realize this philosophy it is vital that we create a society where human rights are protected and respected throughout the world.
The Yakult Group recognizes that during the course of conducting business, or through our value chain there exists the possibility that the group may have a negative impact on human rights, either directly or indirectly, and in order to ensure that the human rights of all people involved in the business are respected, the group shall hereby establish the Yakult Group Human Rights Policy (hereinafter referred to as the “Policy”), shall promote initiatives to further the respect of human rights, shall undertake continuous improvements, and shall contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.
The Yakult Group acts in accordance with the United Nations’ “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights” for respecting human rights and supports and respects the following international principles in the execution of its business activities:
- The International Bill of Human Rights (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
- The Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration) and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work by International Labour Organization (ILO)
- The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises by Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
- The Children’s Rights and Business Principles (developed jointly by UNICEF, UN Global Compact, and Save the Children)
The Yakult Group operates globally and conducts business activities based on the laws and regulations of the countries and regions it operates in. If the laws of a given country or region differ from international human rights norms, the group follows the higher standards. If the laws of the country or region contradict international norms, the group will pursue an internationally recognized method which respects human rights to the maximum possible extent.
The Policy applies to all executives and employees of the Yakult Group. The group also expects all business partners involved with the group’s products and services to support the Policy and requires its suppliers to understand and comply with it.
2Responsibility for respecting human rights
The Yakult Group recognizes that in the course of conducting business, or through our value chain there exists the possibility that the group may have a negative impact on human rights, either directly or indirectly, and shall strive to prevent any violation of human rights. Further, if there is a negative impact through its business activities, the group shall appropriately rectify it in accordance with international standards and fulfill its responsibility for respecting human rights in its value chains.
3Establishment of promotion structure
The director of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. who holds the position of divisional general manager of the Management Support Division is the party responsible for the Policy and for regular oversight of the Policy and adherence to it. The content of initiatives based on the Policy shall be deliberated and discussed by the CSR Promotion Committee headed by the director who holds the position of divisional general manager of the Management Support Division, and other bodies. All matters of import are to be reported to the Board of Directors.
4Human rights due diligence
The Yakult Group shall develop and implement mechanisms for human rights due diligence in order to fulfill its responsibilities in regards to the respect of human rights. The group identifies potential negative impacts it may have on the society and prevents and mitigates adverse human rights impact.
If the Yakult Group directly causes a negative impact on human rights or fosters a situation which causes a negative impact, the group shall work to remedy this through appropriate means based on international standards.
The Yakult Group shall disclose the progress and outcomes of its human rights-related initiatives based on the Policy on its website, etc.
7Dialogue and talks with stakeholders
The Yakult Group shall hold dialogues and talks with stakeholders who are affected by, or may be affected by, a direct or indirect negative impact on human rights.
8Education and training
The Yakult Group shall provide necessary education and ability development to its executives and employees to instill the Policy in all business activities and implement it with certainty.
9Human rights issues related to business activities
The Yakult Group recognizes that efforts on the following human rights-related issues concerning its business activities are an important factor of responsible business practices.
- （1） Elimination of discrimination and harassment
The Yakult Group prohibits any kind of discrimination or harassment based on race, religion, faith, nationality, ethnicity, place of origin, academic background, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, illness, job type, or type of employment, and it takes responsibility for eliminating them.
- （2） Prohibition of child labor and forced labor
The Yakult Group never accepts child labor, forced labor, slave labor or labor through human trafficking.
- （3） Respect for basic labor rights
The Yakult Group respects basic labor rights including freedom of association as well as employees’ right to organize and collective bargaining rights.
- （4） Appropriate wage payment and management of working hours
The Yakult Group shall comply with the laws and regulations of respective countries and regions and practice responsible labor customs including payment of appropriate wages that meet or exceed the legal minimum wage and appropriate management of working hours. The group shall pay attention to the maintenance and enhancement of employees’ health, control excessive labor, and reduce overtime work.
- （5） Development of safe, secure, and sound working environments
The Yakult Group shall establish safe and hygienic workplace environments where employees can work with security to support the maintenance and enhancement of employees’ mental and physical health.
The Policy has been approved by the Board of Directors of Yakult Honsha Co., Ltd. and signed by the President and Representative Director.
Established: April 27, 2021
Enhancing Group-wide awareness of the Policy
The Yakult Group Human Rights Policy Guidelines have been published to enhance all Group workers’ understanding and awareness of the Yakult Group Human Rights Policy. The Guidelines provide easy-to-understand explanations of the international norms and standards, as well as the technical terms, contained in the Policy.
An understanding of the Policy and international principles regarding human rights will be promoted among workers in order to broaden respect for human rights throughout the Group.
Human rights due diligence
The Yakult Group will develop and implement mechanisms for human rights due diligence in hopes of building a responsible supply chain where preventive approaches ensure that all human rights are respected. Through its human rights due diligence, the Group will identify, prevent and mitigate any potential negative impacts on society. In fiscal 2021, we established the human rights due diligence review meeting, attended by members of relevant departments. We then gathered and shared information relating to human rights due diligence and identified key human rights issues within the Yakult Group.
14 key human rights issues for the Yakult Group
|Key human rights issue
|Forced labor, human trafficking
|Freedom of association, collective bargaining rights
|Occupational health and safety
|Human-rights issues on the supply chain
|Employees (supply chain)
|Health of local residents
|Water access, hygiene
|Ethical, responsible marketing
|Health and safety
|Rights to privacy
|Employees, local communities, clinical trial participants, etc.
After considering ways to address the issues that emerged, we then formulated a medium-term roadmap and an action plan for fiscal 2022. Since fiscal 2022, we have been promoting human rights due diligence across the Yakult Group in accordance with this action plan. In fiscal 2022, our review committee renamed itself the Human Rights Due Diligence Promotion Council. This Council met three times to consider such themes as confirming the progress of the human rights due diligence action plan, understanding human rights risks in business activities and considering countermeasures, and considering grievance mechanisms.