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Case study: How the Yamaha Group promotes and respects human rights

The Yamaha Group is a Japanese multinational corporation and conglomerate with a very wide range of products and services, and a truly global presence. Based on the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” the Yamaha Group seeks to comply with international norms on human rights  Tweet This!, including the International Bill of Human Rights, the ILO (International Labour Organisation) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the United Nations Global Compact.

This case study is based on the 2018 Sustainability Report by the Yamaha Group published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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In January 2018, the Yamaha Group created the “Yamaha Group Human Rights Policy,” which displays the Group’s thoughts and responsibilities regarding respect for human rights. Accordingly, the Yamaha Group intends to take efforts to engage in business activities, as well as to educate and promote awareness of human rights, based on this Human Rights Policy. In order to promote and respect human rights the Yamaha Group took action to:

  • hire without discrimination
  • establish a good employer-employee relationship
  • prevent harassment and unfair discrimination
  • promote human rights in its supply chain
  • prohibit forced/child labour
  • organise and operate a helpline
  • provide human rights education

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report the Yamaha Group identified a range of material issues, such as environmental protection, prevention of corruption, socially responsible procurement, health and safety at work, appropriate marketing, information and advertising. Among these, promoting and respecting human rights stands out as a key material issue for the Yamaha Group.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups the Yamaha Group engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics the Yamaha Group engages with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers

 

 

·      Customer inquiries service for each product and service (telephone and email, etc.)

·      Regular business activities

Shareholders/Investors

 

 

·      General Shareholders’ Meeting

·      Briefing sessions for investors

·      Website and e-mail magazine for investors

Employees

 

·      Opinion surveys on business management

·      Labour-management meetings and consultations

Business partners (suppliers, clients, subcontractors)

 

·      Regular business and procurement activities

·      Production and sales trend report meetings

·      Policy briefing sessions

·      Surveys

Local communities ·      Information exchange meetings with regional and local organisations

·      Factory tours

·      Employee participation in regional activities

Global environment

 

·      Information exchange and dialogue with the local communities and NPO/NGOs

What actions were taken by the Yamaha Group to promote and respect human rights?

In its 2018 Sustainability Report the Yamaha Group reports that it took the following actions for promoting and respecting human rights:

  • Hiring without discrimination
  • In its hiring and employment practices, based on its Compliance Code of Conduct, the Yamaha Group strives for fair selection and the absence of any form of discrimination, while providing employment opportunities to a diverse group of people. Additionally, the Yamaha Group determines evaluation and compensation of employees according to fair rules, using criteria such as the ability to perform tasks, job responsibilities, and achievements. The Yamaha Group also carries out training for managers involved with evaluations, in order to ensure their ability to make accurate assessments.
  • Establishing a good employer-employee relationship
  • The Yamaha Group adheres to the protection of employee rights prescribed by international treaties, laws, collective labour agreements and other agreements. In addition, in pursuing the Yamaha Corporate Philosophy, employees and the Group strive to achieve favourable relationships, based on ample communication.
  • Preventing harassment and unfair discrimination
  • The Yamaha Group seeks to prevent any form of harassment or discrimination and, in order to spread awareness of this stance, it has distributed the Compliance Code of Conduct in the form of a booklet which includes detailed explanations to all employees. Employment regulations also clarify that harassment is grounds for disciplinary action. Additionally, the Yamaha Group works to maintain a healthy workplace environment by offering a hotline and by educating employees through workplace meetings and management training.
  • Promoting human rights in the supply chain
  • In the interest of furthering its policy concerning human rights throughout its supply chain, the Yamaha Group is taking the following actions:
    • Establishes CSR measures, including human rights, in the selection requirements for suppliers.
    • Requests that suppliers comply with the Yamaha Supplier CSR Code of Conduct, which establishes practices related to human rights and labour (specified in the Transaction Agreement), and that suppliers carry out self-assessments based on this Code of Conduct (correction is requested as needed).
  • Prohibiting forced/child labour
  • The Yamaha Group Compliance Code of Conduct prohibits any form of forced labour or labour by children under the minimum age permissible by law. In addition, the Yamaha Supplier CSR Code of Conduct clearly states the same conditions and requests that business partners follow them. The Yamaha Group also asks business partners to perform self-assessments using a questionnaire and, based on the results, asks for improvement measures when necessary.
  • Organising and operating a helpline
  • The Yamaha Group has set up a helpline both inside and outside the company that deals with requests for advice and notifications from employees concerning human rights issues, including harassment. In addition to developing a multilingual mail reception form that can receive requests from various countries and regions, the Yamaha Group is aiming to raise awareness of the helplines by posting the contact information both in the Compliance Code of Conduct booklet and internal publications. The Yamaha Group investigates the facts behind each consultation and notification quickly and fairly, while protecting the privacy of both the consulting person and the offender and takes corrective measures, including providing guidance if a problem is identified. If the consulting person or victim strongly requests confidentiality and it becomes difficult to carry out an investigation, the Yamaha Group will still take corrective measures, such as improving the workplace environment. Also, as needed, the Yamaha Group will promote awareness and conduct training, such as management training, in order to prevent similar issues from emerging.
  • Providing human rights education
  • The Yamaha Group disseminates information to employees to improve understanding concerning human rights issues. Using its intranet, for example, the Yamaha Group provides explanations of the issue of conflict minerals and of matters such as “guiding principles on business and human rights” and the “Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities”. The Yamaha Group also holds expert-led in-house seminars and briefings and study sessions for personnel in charge of procurement, where discussions address themes such as human rights issues in the supply chain. In FY 2018, 19 employees in charge of marketing learned about related matters for advertising and promotions as part of their skills training.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken

2) Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor

3) Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

4) Disclosure 412-2 Employee training on human rights policies or procedures

 

Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination

Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor

Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Elimination of forced or compulsory labor

Disclosure 412-2 Employee training on human rights policies or procedures does not correspond to any SDG.

 

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by the Yamaha Group, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to the Yamaha Group: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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