Our Group recognizes that the process of conducting business may directly or indirectly affect human rights, and thus respects the human rights of all people involved in our business. To this end, we have formulated the “Air Water Group Human Rights Policy” based on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011, and are promoting initiatives to respect human rights.

Human rights due diligence

Our Group promotes human rights due diligence initiatives to minimize negative human rights impacts. As a first step, we conducted a human rights risk assessment to identify and evaluate potential human rights risks in our Group regarding human rights issues listed in the international norms that are closely related to the Air Water Group’s business. Those issues include fair wages, working hours, occupational health and safety, forced labor and child labor, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining, and the rights of indigenous people, minority, women, and migrant workers. Specifically, we worked with external experts to organize the value chain and stakeholders, as well as conduct a potential risk assessments and workshops. That allowed us to identify three key issues: “occupational health and safety,” “foreign technical interns,” and “suppliers.” We will be assessing the nature of the risks and their impact on each of our priority issues, and taking measures to address them.

Process for Promoting Human Rights Due Diligence

Basic Human Rights Policy (excerpts)

  • The Air Water Group will comply with international norms on human rights, as well as the relevant laws and regulations in each country and region in which it conducts business.
  • The Air Water Group will ensure that human rights are not infringed as a result of its business activities. In the event that human rights are impacted, the Group will take appropriate measures to correct the issue, fulfill its responsibility to respect human rights, and build a responsible supply chain.
  • This policy applies to all officers and employees of the Air Water Group. The Group expects that all business partners concerned with its products and services understand and agree with this policy, and will engage in human rights promotion activities with them.
  • To minimize negative impacts on human rights, the Air Water Group establishes a human rights due diligence framework, identifies the potential negative impacts it could have on human rights, and works to prevent and mitigate them.
  • Regarding its response to any actual or potential negative impacts on human rights, the Air Water Group will engage in dialogue and discussions with its stakeholders to improve its human rights initiatives.
Three key issuesSpecific approaches
Occupational safety and healthWe will identify new labor risks through security and labor audits. For currently identified significant risks, we will recognize risks to health and safety and take appropriate measures to avoid accidents and minimize their impact, including safety goals, enhanced training opportunities, and stress checks.
Foreign technical internsWe will ascertain the actual status of the management system in terms of conformity with such standards as environment, education, compensation, and housing, from the perspective of whether strict conditions are imposed on foreign workers and whether any discriminatory practices are taking place. For high priority areas and projects, we will offer training and guidance to managers and supervisors.
SuppliersWe will identify the types of human rights risks, countries, areas, and products to be investigated. This is based on the idea that attention must be paid to human rights in the supply chain, both domestically and globally. Of the human rights impacts identified, we will take measures to address the highest priority risks.

Dialogue with human rights experts

I had the opportunity to have a dialogue with executives in each business unit about the three key issuess. Our human rights efforts must rely on international standards, and in 2022, occupational health and safety was added to one of them, the ILO’s Core Labour Standards. I am encouraged that your group has expressed a concrete commitment in this field.

In addition, your Group has identified foreign technical intern trainees as an important stakeholder (subject of human rights) based on the business characteristics of the target occupations, such as food manufacturing, machinery and metals. I can appreciate the fact as the first step of human rights due diligence that you have begun to ascertain not only the application of laws and regulations, but the actual status of contracts with supervisory bodies and awareness of issues through questionnaires to relevant group companies. The next step would be to promote dialogue, such as conducting interviews with the technical intern trainees.

Regarding human rights risks of suppliers, I was impressed that the executives examined and actively provided examples of the different countries, products, and stages of commercial distribution in which they operate in the Global Environment and Wellness businesses, respectively. Going forward, it is expected to make your initiatives even more effective through developing and operating a grievance mechanism.

Emi Omura

Attorney in Japan and New York,

Human rights conscious procurement

At the Air Water Group, we are building good partnerships with our suppliers toward the Sustainability Vision, “achieving a recycling-oriented society through coexistence with society and the earth.” Also, we conduct procurement activities in line with the “Air Water Group Sustainable Procurement Policy,” which clearly states that we give consideration to the global environment and basic human rights throughout our supply chain.

Sustainable Procurement Policy (excerpts)

Consideration for the global environment

Based on the Air Water Group 2050 Environmental Vision, we will engage in environmentally friendly procurement activities that consider decarbonization and biodiversity.

Quality, price, delivery time, and low carbon

We will engage in fair and transparent procurement activities, and widely procure low-carbon goods and services with excellent quality, price, and delivery time from our suppliers both in Japan and abroad.

Consideration for human rights, labor standards, and safety and health

We will respect basic human rights and engage in procurement activities that consider both labor environments (prohibition of forced and child labor) and safety.