Human rights and labor

Basic Stance

Recognizing that respect for human rights is a vital corporate social responsibility, the Kobelco Group, as a global business group, fully respects the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" "International Bill of Human Rights" and "ILO Core Labour Standards" for the protection of human rights adopted by the United Nations. In order to clearly demonstrate its commitment to respect human rights, based on the "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights" and other international standards, the Kobe Steel Group has established the "Kobe Steel Group Basic Policy on Human Rights" as its basic human rights policy.

In March 2021, we joined the "United Nations Global Compact" which is advocated by the United Nations and registered as a signatory participant.

The "Corporate Code of Ethics" sets out ethical standards concerning respect for human rights and the prohibition of any discriminatory treatment, and we promote human rights awareness activities so that all employees of the Group can understand the background and purpose of these standards and practice them.

Through our daily business activities, we recognize the importance of considering the human rights of various stakeholders. We are working to resolve human rights issues from a corporate perspective.

Management Structure

  • In order to reduce the risk of human rights violations in our business activities as a whole, if a serious problem of human rights violations occurs, it is reported to the Director (Officer of Personnel & Labor Relations Dept.) who is responsible for respect for human rights, and the content is reported to and discussed at the Board of Directors meeting.
  • In the event of human rights violations or non-compliance with our human rights policy, we will investigate the facts and take appropriate measures.
  • In addition, we believe that it is important to face all stakeholders who are affected by human rights issues and understand their issues. Based on our group's Basic Human Rights Policy, we will consider a human rights due diligence system that will lead to the avoidance and prevention of human rights issues associated with our business activities, and strive to properly respond human rights issues related to our business activities while valuing dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

KOBELCO Group Initiatives

1. Activities to educate and enlighten employees on human rights policies and respect for human rights

  • KOBELCO group has distributed to all employees a "Action Guide for Employees" which sets forth standards of behavior that respect human rights, and encourages each individual to act with respect for human rights. At the same time, we strive to prevent human rights issues by incorporating education that leads to better understanding of the our Human Rights Policy and human rights awareness in training for new employees and those who are promoted. We will continue to provide all employees, including executives, with the necessary education and e-learning on respect for human rights on a regular basis.
  • Every year in December, KOBELCO group provides employees with an opportunity to think about respect for human rights, and works to share human rights issues and create a healthy workplace environment.

2. Efforts to Eliminate Discrimination

KOBELCO group ensures a healthy workplace free from harassment and discrimination on the grounds of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, language, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, physical characteristics, disease, disability, social status, property and place of origin. We provide equal opportunities for hiring, promotion, treatment, pay raises, and placement without any disadvantages.

3. Mechanisms to allow employees to engage with the company management

  • KOBELCO group comply with the labor laws and practices of the countries and regions in which it operates, and respect the rights of its employees to join a labor union and collective bargaining by labor unions . We do not engage in discrimination, harassment, retaliation or any other disadvantageous treatment on the grounds of exercising their right to organize or bargain collectively as workers, such as joining a labor union, requesting collective bargaining, or participating in collective bargaining.
  • KOBELCO group strives to build sound labor-management relations through sincere dialogue with each and every employee and their representatives. For example, "Kobe Steel Workers' Union" holds the following meetings based on a collective agreement concluded between labor and management to discuss management policies, business conditions, and various working conditions.
    Other major Group companies also have their own labor unions.

Major labor-management discussions

4. Prohibition of child labor and forced labor

  • Based on a policy of prohibiting child labor and forced labor in all countries and regions where our group conducts business activities, KOBELCO group regularly conduct monitoring surveys at Group companies to prevent the occurrence of child labor and forced labor in its business activities.

5. Efforts to Prevent Harassment and Human Rights Violations and Specific Measures for Responding to Complaints

  • In order to create a workplace environment where non-compliance with policy ,such as harassment or human rights violation, is unlikely to occur, the Kobelco group has established policies and standards of conduct preventing harassment in each group company's rules of employment and the "Corporate Code of Ethics" and regularly conducts education such as e-learning and group training for employees to ensure that each and every employee in the workplace has a correct understanding of harassment and does not overlook problems of harassment.
  • In addition, in the event of non-compliance with policy , such as harassment or human rights violations, all employees are provided with a Harassment Consultation Desk at each site. In the event of a consultation, we will confirm the facts, investigate the case, and explain the results of the investigation to the consultant with the consent of the consultant. We are also reviewing the workplace environment and taking thorough preventive measures. In both cases, the privacy of callers and related parties is ensured.
Number of Harassment Consultation Desk Received in Fiscal Year 2019 39 matters

6. Stakeholder engagement on human rights issues

KOBELCO Group believe it is important to understand human rights issues from the perspective of stakeholders affected by human rights issues. Based on our group's Basic Policy on Human Rights, we will study a human rights due diligence system that will lead to the avoidance and prevention of human rights issues associated with our business activities, and strive to appropriately address human rights issues related to our business activities while valuing dialogue with relevant stakeholders.

7. Efforts to support local communities

The KOBELCO Group undertakes activities rooted in the local communities where its business sites are located.

Kobe Steel supports employees’ volunteer activities and has established a system that allows employees to take days off to participate in such activities.

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