Guidelines for Group Shared Policy for Suppliers
Established on : November 11, 2013
Revised on : July 1, 2018
Revised on: November 1, 2022
We believe our path to growing sustainably as a global company lies in resolving food and health issues through Ajinomoto Group Shared Value (ASV)—our unchanging commitment, since our founding, to solving social issues and creating economic value through our business activities.
We believe every supplier we trade with—who provide raw materials, products, and services—is an essential partner in creating value and contributing to sustainable societies based on ASV.
It is essential all our suppliers understand our Ajinomoto Group philosophy and ways of thinking, that we work together, meet our corporate social responsibilities, and undertake measures throughout our supply chain to make our societies truly sustainable.
To this end, we established the Group Shared Policy for Suppliers (the Policy) and outlined seven expectations we have of our suppliers necessary for fulfilling our corporate social responsibilities and for helping make our societies more sustainable.
The Guidelines for Group Shared Policy for Suppliers (the Guidelines) sets out specific actions we require of our suppliers in relation to the seven expectations of the Policy. We have classified these topics as either mandatory or developmental topics. We require all our suppliers to undertake topics classified as mandatory. While we encourage our suppliers to undertake further topics towards those classified as developmental to help make our societies more sustainable and to fulfill our corporate social responsibilities.
The scope of application of the Guidelines is all companies and employees (including permanent employees, temporary employees, contracted employees, and franchised dealers) of Ajinomoto Group and its suppliers, including affiliated companies and outsourced manufacturers. We would appreciate the cooperation of our suppliers in understanding the purposes, and in actively promoting compliance, of the Policy and the Guidelines, including within your suppliers and contractors (upstream supply chain, dealers, and their respective employees), which constitute your supply chain.
We would also appreciate the cooperation of our suppliers in responding to questionnaires so we can understand the level of compliance with the Policy and the Guidelines. We also ask for understanding in the event we need to gain further clarification of the level of compliance by undertaking visits and requesting provision of information.
We will request measures be undertaken to remedy any situations when it is confirmed mandatory topics are not being complied with. Moreover, when necessary, the Ajinomoto Group will provide ongoing support to ensure such situations are remedied. We will respond appropriately, including reviewing contracts with suppliers, when such situations are not remedied or there are ongoing serious breaches of compliance.
We kindly ask for your cooperation in complying with the Guidelines, so we can together fulfill our corporate social responsibilities and help make our societies more sustainable.
Ⅰ. Establishment of Compliance Framework and Compliance with Statutory and Regulatory Requirements, and Accepted Social Norms
Suppliers are requested to comply with the statutory and regulatory requirements, and the accepted social norms of those countries and regions in which we operate; and will establish a compliance framework for preventing violation of laws and inappropriate behavior by our company and employees, as well as a response mechanism that can quickly handle problems as they occur.
- Businesses—as a necessity of running their operations—must understand various relevant statutory and regulatory requirements that impose various obligations; must obtain various permits, approvals, and licenses, as necessary; and must also comply with various requirements such as quality standards, labeling methods, document issuance, regular reporting, and creation of transaction records.
Ⅰ-1 Prohibition of Corruption, Bribery, and Related Illegal Acts
Bribery, illegal political donations, and related behaviors are strictly prohibited to ensure that relations with politicians and governments are maintained on a sound and acceptable basis.
- Statutory and regulatory requirements prohibiting bribery and illegal political contributions shall be strictly complied with by formulating related policies, understanding risks, and providing training and education opportunities to personnel in charge.
- The following shall be implemented as methods of understanding and managing risk:
- Examples of initiatives to understand risk:
- Regular risk assessments (internal audits)
- Establishment of a department in charge of understanding risk
- Implementation of training and education for managers
- Collaboration with external experts
- Examples of initiatives to manage risk:
- Commitment of management to deal with bribery and corruption
- Implementation of training and education for employees
- Sharing of company policies with suppliers
- Examples of initiatives to understand risk:
- Bribery is the provision of money, entertainment, gifts, or some other benefit or advantage to a government employee or someone of similar standing in return for advantage to one’s business, such as the acquisition or maintenance of a business contract or transaction, or the acquisition of a license or non-public information.
- An illegal political donation is, for example, making a political donation in return for advantage to one’s business, such as the acquisition or maintenance of a business contract or transaction, or the acquisition of a license or non-public information; or a making a political donation without following the correct procedures.
Ⅰ-2 Prevention of the Abuse of Superior Bargaining Positions
Behavior in abuse of a superior bargaining position that is detrimental to a business partner is prohibited.
- Purchasing transactions must be conducted in good faith, impartiality, and fairness—such as being contractually based—and must not abuse a superior bargaining position.
- Laws and regulations* related to abuse of dominant bargaining position must be complied with in countries where such laws or regulations exist.
- Abuse of superior bargaining position is when a business operator who is in a dominant bargaining position uses that position to unilaterally determine or change the terms and conditions of transactions with a business partner to their own advantage or imposes disadvantageous demands or obligations on them.
Ⅰ-3 Prohibition of Giving and Receiving Inappropriate Benefits
The giving and receiving of inappropriate benefits in connection with relationships with stakeholders is prohibited.
- The giving and receiving of inappropriate benefits with stakeholders shall be prevented by formulating related policies, understanding risks, and providing training and education opportunities to employees.
- The giving and receiving of inappropriate benefits includes the following.
- Acts of bribery such as the giving or receiving of money (including gifts, prizes, prize money) or entertainment beyond the scope of laws, regulations, or socially accepted protocols.
- Acts that benefit antisocial forces (criminal or terrorist organizations) that adversely affect social order or the sound activities of society
- Provision of profits to specific shareholders
- Insider trading such as the buying or selling of shares of a client’s company based on important non-public information about the business of the said client
Ⅰ-4 Prohibition of Behavior that Restricts Competition
Behavior that impedes equitable, transparent, and unfettered competition is prohibited.
- Acts that impede competition are prohibited, such as forming of cartels—namely collusion with other companies within an industry on price, quantity, or sales area of a product or service—and bid-rigging—namely collusion with other bidders to determine the party or amount of the winning bid.
- Acts of unfair competition are prohibited, including illegally obtaining and using trade secrets of other companies, false labelling of another company’s products, and labelling of products in a misleading manner such as relating to the origin or quality of one’s products.
Ⅰ-5. Respecting Intellectual Property
Infringements of other companiesʼ intellectual property rights are prohibited.
- Preliminary investigations of the intellectual property rights of third parties must be undertaken when developing, producing, selling, or providing products or services.
- Intellectual property rights refer to patent rights, utility model rights, design rights, trademark rights, copyrights, trade secrets, and so on.
- Intellectual property right infringement includes, unauthorized use of a third party’s intellectual property rights, illegal copying of copyrighted works such as computer software, and acquisition and use of a third party's trade secrets by illegal means.
Ⅰ-6. Engaging in Appropriate Export and Import Management
Steps shall be taken to ensure strict compliance with related statutory and regulatory requirements, establish an appropriate export and import management structure and systems, and engage in proper export and import procedures.
- Appropriate export and import management in compliance with related statutory and regulatory requirements shall be ensured by formulating related policies, understanding risks, and providing training and education opportunities to personnel in charge.
- Regarding imports, there are numerous instances, primarily under the Customs Act, for each country to require permits, examinations, and inspections for each product for reasons such as health and hygiene.
- Similarly, regarding exports, there are various regulations for each exporting country and product, therefore, various import/export management requirements must be complied with.
Ⅰ-7. Information Disclosure
Every effort shall be made to actively disclose information to all stakeholders irrespective of the existence or otherwise of statutory and regulatory requirements.
- Every effort shall be made to actively and fairly disclose information, promote dialogue, and to improve corporate transparency in relation to customers, shareholders, investors, employees, business partners, local communities, government, mass media, and so on.
Ⅰ-8. Eliminate Any and All Relations with Antisocial Forces
Any and all relations with antisocial forces and organizations that pose a threat to the order and safety of civil society shall be strictly prohibited.
- Any and all relations—including for the purchase of land or to facilitate business activities—with antisocial forces and organizations are strictly prohibited.
- The Anti-Organized Crime Law in Japan prohibits acts such as donations and support of antisocial forces.
Ⅰ-9. Prevention and Early Detection of Misconduct
Activities for preventing misconduct shall be carried out, and a system for the early detection and handling of misconduct shall be established.
- Systems—both internal and external—for reporting (whistleblowing) misconduct shall be established to enable management to detect misconduct at an early stage.
- The confidentiality of whistleblowers shall be protected appropriately.
- Misconduct shall be responded to promptly and the results of such responses shall be fed back to the whistleblower as appropriate.
Ⅱ. Respect for Human Rights
Suppliers are requested to respect the human rights of all employees, to treat employees with dignity, and to provide a safe and comfortable work environment free of forced or compulsory labor or child labor.
- Company policies and thinking regarding respect for human rights shall be clearly publicized and disseminated to relevant parties, including officers and employees.
- Risks related to human rights shall be understood; and the following initiatives implemented:
- Examples of initiatives to understand risk:
- Regular human rights risk assessments and internal auditing are undertaken
- A department in charge of understanding and managing risk is established
- Risks are understood in cooperation with labor unions
- Support is garnered from external experts
- Examples of initiatives to understand risk:
- Training and education opportunities shall be provided to officers and employees to understand human rights issues, international trends regarding respect for human rights (see notes below), and so on.
- The increase in labor and human rights issues accompanying the globalization of business activities has led to the creation of international rules that strengthen responses of companies to these issues.
- Since the submission of the Collective Report on Business and Human Rights to the United Nations in 2008, labor and human rights issues in the international community have become cemented as significant issues in international norms of behavior such as through the launch in 2010 of ISO 26000 (Guidance on Social Responsibility) and the 2011 revision of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
- Furthermore, in 2011, the United Nations endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; and, with national action plans being formulated in each country, it has become a global standard that all countries and companies should respect.
Ⅱ-1. Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor
All forms of forced labor and the imposition of activities against an individual’s will are strictly prohibited. Our actions will be based on principles for countering practices that may lead to forced or compulsory labor. Namely, we will ensure freedom of movement, prohibit demands for compensation for finding work placements, and prohibit all forms of coercion and debt bondage.
- The right of workers to freely leave their jobs must be upheld.
- Holding of identity papers such as ID cards, passports, and work permits by employers is strictly prohibited.
- Work during hours not agreed to in advance by an employee is prohibited.
- Workers shall not be made to bear temporary staffing fees and related fees in accordance with the laws and regulations of each country* or the provisions of the ILO.
- Written contracts shall be concluded with all workers in an employment relationship in their native language or in a language in which they have a detailed understanding.
- Training and education on occupational health and safety shall be provided to migrant workers—such as technical intern trainees and Specified Skill Workers (Japan)—in their native language or in a language in which they have a detailed understanding.
- Training and education opportunities in subjects such as the following shall be provided to foreign workers—such as technical intern trainees and Specified Skill Workers (Japan).
- Examples of training/education subjects:
- Labor rights and standards
- How to access relief
- Local law
- Local language
- Examples of training/education subjects:
- Forced labor is any work or service which people are forced or coerced to do against their will.
- Forced labor includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Forcing a person to work against their will
- Debt bondage is where one’s freedom to leave one’s job is restricted until a debt is repaid
- Slave labor as a result of human trafficking
- Inhumane prison labor in harsh environments
- Being denied the right to stop working or leave a job
- Forcing an employee to deposit identity papers such as ID cards, passports, or work permits with their employer
- Coercion of an employee to work hours they have not agreed to in advance
- Forced labor includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Ⅱ-2. Prohibiting Child Labor
It is vitally important to understand the destructive nature of child labor and to strictly prohibit the employment of children below the legal age.
- Laws and international norms prohibiting child labor shall be strictly complied with by formulating related policies, understanding risks, and providing training and education opportunities to personnel in charge.
- The International Labor Organization (ILO) sets the minimum age for admission to employment or work “shall be not less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling and, in any case, shall not be less than 15 years” and “the minimum age for work likely to jeopardize the health, safety or morals of children shall not be less than 18 years.” Child labor refers to work that violates these age limits.
- Some examples of statutory and regulatory requirements that protect young workers from hazardous work include those restricting night work and hazardous work. Overseas also, employment or violation of obligations to protect persons under the minimum working age, as stipulated in the laws of the country of residence, is deemed child labor. In countries where there are no relevant statutory or regulatory requirements, acts that violate the ILO's minimum age conventions and recommendations are deemed as child labor. (Child labor refers to labor that impedes the healthy development of children and does not include helping families at home or in the fields or working part-time to earn pocket money.)
Ⅱ-3. Prohibiting Discrimination
Steps shall be taken to respect the statutory and regulatory requirements and cultures of each country and region. Discrimination in connection with employment opportunities, recruitment, promotion, and compensation with respect to any and all persons on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, beliefs, place of birth, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited.
- Discrimination on the basis of any factor, including gender, in regards to how we treat people such as for recruitment, promotion, and compensation is prohibited.
- Systems and conditions must be established to make it easy for both men and women to take childcare (maternity/paternity) leave.
- Systems and conditions should be established to make it easy for both men and women to return to work from taking childcare (maternity/paternity) leave.
- Understanding the (professional) membership status and working status of employees is important for understanding the risk of human rights violations of workers. Relevant data and records (such as data for each gender regarding average years of employment, absenteeism rate, return rate from long-term leave) should be obtained.
- Discrimination refers to the giving of different opportunities and treatment such as in recruitment, promotion, remuneration, and access to training, depending on factors other than rational factors such as the person's ability, aptitude, or achievements.
- Discrimination factors include race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, beliefs (political opinion and so on.), place of birth, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, union membership, and marital status. It is also considered discriminatory if a health examination or pregnancy test impedes equal opportunity or fairness in treatment.
Ⅱ-4. Prohibiting Inhumane Treatment and Harassment
Every effort must be made to respect the human rights of employees and to eliminate all forms of harassment—sexual and power harassment—mistreatment, corporal punishment, psychological coercion, and verbal abuse from our workplaces.
- Inhumane treatment, including all forms of harassment—sexual and power harassment—mistreatment, corporal punishment, psychological coercion, and verbal abuse, shall be eliminated by formulating related policies, understanding risks, and providing training and education opportunities.
- Inhumane treatment refers to mistreatment, corporal punishment, sexual harassment, power harassment (verbal abuse in the form of harassment or intimidation), and so on. Harassment also includes a range of statements or actions that are deemed unfavorable by the person concerned or that may be objectively deemed unfavorable.
Ⅱ-5. Appropriate Salaries and Wages
Appropriate wages and salaries shall be paid to employees in accordance with all related laws and regulations, including on minimum wage, overtime, and statutory benefits.
- Wages shall not be reduced in violation of labor-related laws and regulations.
- Workers shall be appropriately informed in relation to their salary (including overtime, bonuses, deductions), paid leave, and statutory benefits in written form such as by pay slip.
- The minimum wage is the minimum wage as stipulated by wage-related laws and regulations in the country of residence. This clause also includes payment of other allowances, including overtime pay and statutory benefits.
Ⅱ-6. Appropriate Management of Working Hours
Employees’ working hours, non-working days and holidays shall be managed in an appropriate manner to ensure they do not exceed limits prescribed under relevant laws and regulations.
- The number of working days per year of employees shall be managed to ensure it does not exceed the legal limit, even if the work is requested by the employee, and regardless of whether instructed by the company.
- Work hours per week (excluding emergencies) including overtime hours shall be managed to ensure they do not exceed the legal limit.
- A minimum of one day’s holiday per week and the right to annual paid leave as required by law shall be granted to employees.
Ⅱ-7. Rights of Employees to Organize
The right of employees to organize as a method of facilitating consultation between management and labor with respect to such issues as working conditions and wage levels shall be respected.
- Workers’ rights to freely organize, form trade unions and to bargain collectively in accordance with the laws and regulations of each country or the provisions of the ILO shall be respected.
- Workers’ rights to freely organize, form trade unions and to bargain collectively means ensuring employees’ have the freedom to form unions, to join unions and workers' councils, to bargain collectively, and to protest, without threat of retaliation, coercion, or harassment.
Ⅱ-8. Ensuring access to remedy
The rights of employees to easily accessible, reliable, and fair remedy mechanisms (whistleblowing and grievance mechanisms) shall be ensured.
- Easy-to-access reporting and consultation points of contact (such as an in-house reporting/consultation/whistleblowing contact point or opinion box, or a hotline provided by a third-party organization) shall be established to enable employees to file complaints.
- The privacy of the whistleblowers and the parties concerned shall be protected, and solutions/responses shall be provided promptly.
- It is important to establish reporting and consultation points of contact and mechanism for responding to enquiries (grievance mechanisms) that can be used by people whose human rights have been infringed on to enable rapid remedy and resolution of issues.
- Utilizing public sector—government agencies or institutions—or third-party reporting or consultation points of contact is also effective when establishing an independent in-house system proves difficult.
- Informing employees, both internally and externally, of the existence of reporting or consultation points of contact is important.
Ⅲ. Occupational Health and Safety
Suppliers are requested to take all necessary steps to prevent accidents and disasters by maintaining and enhancing the occupational health and safety of employees and all parties engaged in a working capacity.
- Many occupational health and safety laws and regulations are based on lessons learned from accidents, and it is important to grasp and disseminate such information to employees to reduce the risk of similar accidents.
Ⅲ-1. Ensuring Safety in the Workplace
Steps shall be taken to assess all risks associated with workplace safety and to ensure safety by adopting all appropriate design, technology, and management measures.
- Occupational health and safety risks of each workplace shall be understood and managed to prevent disasters and accidents. The following measures should be implemented to understand and manage risks.
- Examples of measures to understand risks:
- Regular risk assessments (identification of potential dangers/hazards)
- Internal audits
- Training and support in collaboration with consultants and experts
- Establish an occupational health and safety committee
- Examples of measures to understand risks:
- Regularly inspect the machines used, maintain them appropriately, and install safety devices and protective equipment in dangerous places.
- Ensure safety with appropriate means of design, technology, and management in response to changing conditions such as changes in equipment.
- Consider the safety of visitors to workplaces in addition to employees.
- Undertake disaster evacuation drills and occupational health and safety training for employees.
- In the event of a serious accident or injury in the workplace, accurately grasp the situation and take appropriate measures.
- Assign dedicated staff to occupational health and safety, in addition to an occupational health and safety manager.
- Even if a minor accident or injury occurs in the workplace, accurately grasp the situation, and take appropriate measures.
Ⅲ-2. Management of Facilities and the Workplace Environment
Efforts shall be made to create a working environment that enables each employee to work in a safe and healthy manner.
- Special consideration should be given to those engaged in work that is physically burdensome or involving handling of harmful substances.
- Every effort shall be made to prevent accidents and disasters, and to create comfortable working environments by considering the characteristics of each worker—in addition to characteristics such as differences in age and height, postnatal and pregnant mothers, and persons with disabilities.
- work that is physically burdensome and special considerations refer to the following:
- Handling heavy objects (example of special consideration: setting maximum weights for men and women)
- Working for long periods of time in hot and cold environments (example of special consideration: preparation of winter clothes and instruction to wear them)
- Dusty work (example of special consideration: preparation of appropriate protective gear and instruction to wear it), etc.To guarantee such products, suppliers must establish, operate and consistently improve a range of systems, including quality management systems.
- involving handling of harmful substances and special considerations refer to the following:
- Substances that may affect health (examples of special considerations: alternative measures according to the risks of chemical substances, maintenance of work environment, health management, preparation and wearing of protective equipment, emergency measures, theft prevention management, leakage prevention)
- Substances with a risk of fire and explosion (examples of special considerations: alternative measures according to the risk of chemical substances, fire and explosion prevention measures, health management, maintenance of work environment, preparation and wearing of protective equipment, instructions for emergency measures, anti-theft management, leakage prevention)
Ⅲ-3. Ensuring Clean and Sanitary Workplaces
In addition to providing toilets and rest areas in company workplaces, whether employees come into contact with harmful organisms, chemical substances, excessive noise or odors in workplaces should be determined, and any countermeasures should be implemented, as appropriate. The same standards shall apply to any company-provided employee living quarters.
- Provide sufficient clean toilets, access to drinking water and food, and places of rest for all employees.
- Maintain hygienic environments by providing appropriate ventilation and air conditioning in workplaces.
- Take countermeasures for harmful organisms and chemical substances handled in workplaces, and noises and bad odors, considering the impact on surrounding residents and the environment in addition to employees.
- The safety of the employee housing facilities should be ensured through audits and visits to confirm safety, in cases of ownership of facilities used by employees outside of work—such as dormitories.
- In case of ownership of facilities used by employees outside of work—such as dormitories:
- Develop policies regarding housing facilities.
- Assign a person in charge of management of housing facilities.
- Establish a hotline where claims or complaints regarding the housing facility can be filed.
Ⅳ. Ensuring Product and Service Quality and Safety
Suppliers shall take all necessary steps to ensure that their products and services meet all the safety standards prescribed under the laws and regulations of each country; at the same time, they shall adhere strictly to the quality management policy. Suppliers shall also put in place appropriate business continuity plans to ensure the prompt resumption of mainstay activities in the event of unforeseen circumstances, thereby ensuring stable supply.
- Identifying customer needs and delivering a stable supply of safe products that are useful for society is one of the most important missions of a corporation. This must be achieved in partnership with all suppliers.
- To guarantee such products, suppliers must establish, operate and consistently improve a range of systems, including quality management systems.
Ⅳ-1 Managing Quality
Suppliers are requested to establish and operate quality management systems.
- Suppliers must develop the following and establish a quality management system in order to maintain the quality of products and services.
- organizational structures
- systematic activities
- sharing of responsibilities
- management resources
- Suppliers must create product or service quality policies and measures.
- Suppliers must ascertain the state that quality policies and measures have been implemented when operating the above systems and work to maintain and improve the system.
- Quality management systems refer to broad-based management frameworks that are designed to promote quality assurance activities. These systems encompass organizational structures, systematic activities, the sharing of responsibilities, practices, procedures, processes, and management resources.
- Quality assurance activities refer to the drawing up of quality policies, implementation in accordance with these policies, achievement, review, and maintenance. Quality assurance therefore involves a repetitive PDCA cycle that facilitates continuous improvements in quality assurance. A representative quality management system is the ISO* 9000 series.
Ⅳ-2 Providing Accurate Information on Products and Services
Suppliers are requested to make every effort to provide accurate information regarding products and services to customers.
- Customers must be provided with accurate information regarding the following items.
- Specifications, quality, and handling procedures
- Raw materials used in products, materials used in packaging materials, etc.
- The following points must be kept in mind regarding expressions included in displays, advertising, and promotions such as product and service catalogs.
- Wording and expressions that are false or that cause misunderstanding among consumers and customers cannot be used.
- Information that defames other companies or individuals or infringes on other rights cannot be included.
Ⅳ-3 Ensuring Product Safety
At the time of product design, products and raw materials shall satisfy the safety standards prescribed under the laws and regulations of each country as well as the required standards of business companies.
- Products and raw materials must satisfy safety standards stipulated by laws and regulations of each country.
- Requirements related to product quality stipulated in agreements on aspects such as quality assurance with suppliers must be fulfilled.
- When designing/developing products, suppliers must ensure sufficient product safety at the design and development stage.
- When manufacturing products, suppliers must use agreed upon raw materials and ensure product safety through appropriate production methods.
- For example, suppliers should reference food related statutory and regulatory requirements in such leading countries as the U.S. and EU as well as safety assessment reports.
- Suppliers shall reference food-related recommendations made by the FAO*1 and WHO*2 with respect to safety assessment reports as well as food and food additive standards, where available.
Ⅳ-4 Ensuring Stable Supply of Products
Suppliers are requested to develop a business continuity plan (BCP) to promptly restore core operations even in unforeseen circumstances, as a part of efforts to ensure the stable supply of products.
- Suppliers must establish the business continuity level in the case of a natural disaster, large-scale accident, or emergency such as pandemic.
- Suppliers must create an emergency operation manual that ensures the above business continuity level when there is a crisis and provide training for employees.
- BCPs encompass all plans to ensure not only employee safety but also business continuity in the event of a natural disaster, including large-scale earthquakes and floods, as well as emergency situations such as a major explosion or fire at a factory, or a pandemic.
- Under such plans, suppliers shall establish the target level for business continuity, create manuals for when there is a crisis, and carry out training to continue priority core operations.
Ⅴ. Taking into Consideration the Global Environment
Suppliers are requested to minimize any detrimental impact on nature and ecosystems when manufacturing products by fully taking into consideration the environment. At the same time, they shall ensure the health and safety of all individuals. Recognizing the importance of environmental conservation, suppliers are requested to take all due care throughout their production processes, from the use of natural resources to the disposal of waste, and contribute to biodiversity conservation while minimizing emissions, including greenhouse gases.
- Ensuring a sustainable global environment and society is today a key component of corporate activities. As the Ajinomoto Group and its suppliers go about their daily business endeavors, every consideration must be given to the global environment. Giving consideration to the global environment and actively contributing to the creation of a sustainable environment and society through business activities is the very basis for ongoing corporate activities.
Ⅴ-1 Operating an Environmental Management System
Steps shall be taken to establish and operate environmental management systems, reduce any negative impact of business activities on the environment, and pursue continuous improvements in this regard.
- Suppliers must establish an environmental management system (EMS). Guidelines, including the following, must be referred to when creating the system.
- EcoAction 21*1
- Various EMS recognized in other countries
- UN Global Compact’s principles
- In operating the above systems, the scope must not be limited to aspects such as factories and production but encompass all of the company’s (Group’s) endeavors as well as supply and value chain activities.
- Establishing an environmental management system (EMS) is fundamental to undertaking environmental activities.
- When operating an EMS, the scope must, therefore, not be limited to aspects such as factories and production but encompass all of the Company’s (Group’s) endeavors as well as the supply and value chain activities.
Ⅴ-2 Managing Chemical Substances
Suppliers are requested to appropriately manage those chemical substances identified under laws and regulations for the production process.
- Not only chemical substances designated under laws and regulations, etc., used by one’s own company but also those used by suppliers must be properly managed as a matter of course.
- Management systems must consistently reflect the most recent information concerning chemical substance regulations.
- There is substantial risk that if chemical substances are not properly managed and used, they could negatively impact people’s health and the ecosystem.
Ⅴ-3 Reducing the Use of Chemical Substances
Suppliers are requested to work to reduce the use of chemical substances that are potentially harmful to human health and the ecosystem, or substituting other chemicals for such substances.
- In addition to properly managing the use of chemical substances as explained in 5-2. above, suppliers must take steps to reduce the use of chemical substances that are potentially harmful to human health and the ecosystem, as well as to find less harmful alternatives to such chemicals.
Ⅴ-4 Minimizing the Impact of Operations on the Environment
Suppliers are requested to establish voluntary environmental standards and make improvements when necessary while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations concerning water discharge, emissions, waste, noise, vibrations, and lighting in each country where operations are conducted.
- Suppliers must adhere to laws and regulations in each country where they conduct operations.
- Suppliers must maintain close communication with stakeholders, including the local community, and pursue improvements by maintaining voluntary standards when necessary.
Ⅴ-5 Making Efficient Use of and Circular Resources, Energy, and Water
With an emphasis on efficiently using and circular resources (raw materials), energy, and water, suppliers are requested to set voluntary targets for conserving resources, energy, and water, as well as reducing waste and greenhouse gas emissions, and lessen the negative impact on the environment and ecosystems across the entire supply chain from a sustainability perspective.
- Suppliers must set voluntary numerical targets related to issues such as making more efficient use of raw materials and energy, reducing water use and waste, and cutting the volume of greenhouse gas emissions and work to increase efficiency.
- Suppliers must work to spread this throughout the supply and value chain and to ascertain and improve product and business activity lifecycle.
- Initiatives to minimize any negative impact of operations on the environment are closely related to improving the efficiency of business activities. Initiatives can include conserving resources, energy, and water, cutting waste, and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Therefore, suppliers are expected to voluntarily set numerical targets in these areas and actively work to increase efficiency. Furthermore, initiatives should be undertaken from the perspective of business activities and product lifecycles over the entire supply and value chain, extending beyond the purview of the company in consideration of resources and the environment on a global scale.
- For example, suppliers should closely examine Scope 3* level emissions of greenhouse gases, and carry out carbon footprint calculations and other related methods.
Ⅴ-6 Minimizing the Impact of Business Development
Suppliers are requested to take steps to determine and minimize the impact of setting up factories and farms on local communities, the natural environment, and ecosystems.
- If a supplier plans to build a new factory or farm or expand existing facilities, it must carry out an assessment of the development’s impact on the local community as well as the ecosystem and environment, and take appropriate steps to lower any negative impact.
- If a supplier has developed land in the past, it must confirm how such activities have affected the environment, and implement whatever measures are necessary to properly respond to any environmental destruction, human rights violations, or other problems that have resulted.
- Building production facilities and farms can change the use of land and alter landscapes, potentially destroying valuable ecosystems, and, as a result, negatively affecting nearby residents and even threatening their livelihoods. This kind of development has been strongly criticized by citizens and NGOs, which not only harms a company’ reputation but also leads to a suspension or business.
Ⅴ-7 Taking into Consideration Biodiversity and Ecosystem from the Raw Material Procurement Stage
Suppliers are requested to confirm traceability and determine the status of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation in producing regions from which raw materials are procured, and implement any necessary improvements.
- Suppliers must work back to upstream supply activities and ascertain the status of producing regions in collaboration with concerned parties
- Suppliers must work to implement improvements if there are problems with conditions in production regions in terms of preserving biodiversity and ecosystems
Ⅴ-8 Contributing to the Environment through Business Activities
Suppliers are requested to provide products and services that contribute to the global environment by taking the environment into consideration at the earliest possible stage of the product lifecycle, including research and development from the perspective of society.
- Suppliers must incorporate environmental concerns from the product research and development stage and deliver products and services that contribute to the global environment.
- In working to build a sustainable global environment and society, companies are expected to look beyond the bounds of their own activities to reduce environmental burden, and to actively contribute to society as a whole
- In specific terms, it is important that business activities themselves be used to contribute to the global environment, which includes incorporating environmental concerns from the product research and development stage and delivering products and services that contribute to the global environment.
Ⅴ-9 Disclosing the Status of Environmental Conservation Efforts
Suppliers are requested to properly disclose information in response to active requests to disclose information on the environment.
- Suppliers must undertake proper disclosure in response to requests for environment-related information.
- Suppliers must work to actively communicate with stakeholders through a variety of voluntary environmental communication activities.
- Proper communication activities, such as the disclosure of information on the environment, is the foundation for enhancing the transparency of business activities and earning the trust and confidence of society.
Ⅵ. Information Security
Suppliers are requested to implement all necessary measures to protect computer systems and networks, put in place appropriate controls to prevent damage to themselves and other companies, and properly manage and protect personal information of customers, third parties, and employees as well as all confidential information in their possession.
- Information systems are widely recognized as valuable and are extensively used in daily operations. Although these systems offer convenience and speed, they also lead to greater risks, such as larger system problems and information leaks.
- Failure by either party to comply with the rules that make it possible to benefit from high quality services through information systems could lead to not only the loss of business but also violations of the law and a loss of credibility within society. Therefore, information security activities are extremely important.
Ⅵ-1 Protecting Against Computer Network Threats
Suppliers are requested to put in place measures to protect against computer networks threats and undertake management to ensure that there is no damage to themselves and other companies.
- Suppliers must put in place measures to protect computer networks against threats, such as infection by computer viruses and cyberattacks.
- Suppliers must use robust passwords linked to user IDs in systems used for transactions with the Ajinomoto Group.
- In the event that computers are infected with a virus, the potential exists for customer information as well as confidential information stored on computers to leak or be lost through the network.
- Failure to thoroughly manage user ID passwords may lead to information leaks and alteration of information due to unauthorized computer access, and should the network become the subject of a cyberattack, there is the possibly of losses due to an interruption in operations
- It is desirable to introduce multi-factor authentication for passwords.
Ⅵ-2 Properly Managing Personal Information
Suppliers are requested to properly manage and protect the personal information of customers, third parties, and employees.
- Suppliers must examine the approach toward personal information and privacy taken in the country where operations are conducted and manage such information accordingly.
- Intentional removal of information and information leakage due to negligence by employees or outsourcing service providers
- Human error due to a lack of knowledge regarding the Act on the Protection of Personal Information as well as information systems
- Unauthorized access by a third party.
- If personal information is handled improperly, incidents may arise involving the individuals affected. Companies that possess personal information are obliged to clarify the purpose of use, notify the person or announce the purpose of use, and handle personal information after taking appropriate security control measures. However, there continues to be numerous incidents where information has been leaked.
■Japan’s Act on the Protection of Personal Information was also applied to the corporate sector from April 2005. Companies in the possession of personal information must clarify the purpose for which information will be used and adopt all necessary safety precautions in the handling of personal information.
- For personal information used on a daily basis, it is necessary to comply with the Laws and regulations on the protection of personal information, establish certain rules regarding the use of such information, and properly manage that information.
Ⅵ-3 Preventing Leaks of Confidential Information of Customer and Third Party
Suppliers are requested to properly manage and protect confidential information received from customers and third parties.
- Suppliers must adhere to the guidelines outlined in non-disclosure agreements with respect to the handling of information that falls within the scope of non-disclosure agreements (mutual agreement relating to the nature of confidentiality) concluded with clients.
- Suppliers must report if they are using information obtained from a third party for business using proper procedures.
- The agreements contain a variety of restrictions including restrictions on the number of copies as well as parties to whom information can be disclosed. Any violation of non-disclosure agreements that leads to a leak or unauthorized use of confidential information can lead to substantial damages, including claims for enormous amounts of compensation.
Ⅶ. Contributing to Society and Coexistence with the Local Community
Suppliers are requested to undertake independent activities that contribute to the growth and development of international and local communities.
- Suppliers must actively support communities related to their business to the extent possible. Support activities include the following.
- activities that leverage technology and other assets for business and contribute to society
- activities that leverage non-monetary assets, including facilities and human resources, and contribute to society
- activities that contribute to society through donations
- ISO26000 uses the phrase “stakeholder engagement.” As the phrase “stakeholder engagement” suggests, building relationships with all parties (communities) is an important theme. No organization or individual can possibly exist outside of society. Therefore, actively participating in and developing the community makes it possible to generate sustainable growth.
- In specific terms, activities include collaborating with local communities at the time of a disaster; supporting activities conducted by employees, volunteers, NPOs, NGOs, or other entities; making donations, and disseminating information. Suppliers shall determine the scope that assistance is possible and actively work to contribute to society.