Human Rights, Labor Practices

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Advancing human rights and
responsible labor practices
We will foster an inclusive culture in which all Bridgestone entities and locations adopt and apply ethical labor practices, build trust with our employees, and fulfill our responsibility to respect diversity and human rights.

The Bridgestone Group will foster an inclusive culture in which all Bridgestone entities and locations adopt and apply ethical labor practices, build trust with our employees, and fulfill our responsibility to respect diversity and human rights. As part of its dedication to being a true global leader in all that it does, the Group is committed to respecting human rights and advancing responsible labor practices throughout its worldwide operations. This commitment is the right thing to do and consistent with the Group’s vision of providing social and customer value as a sustainable solutions company. It is also fundamental to fulfilling the “Bridgestone E8 Commitment” (one of the values of which is “Empowerment”), by contributing to a society that ensures accessibility and dignity for all. To achieve this aim, the Group is committed to working collaboratively with stakeholders, including affected and potentially affected groups, to address and remedy adverse impacts from its operations, products or services.

The Group continues to embed respect for human rights and the Global Human Rights Policy in its day-to-day operations. The Policy articulates the Group’s stance on internationally recognized human rights principles, and outlines the behaviors that all of the Group’s internal and external stakeholders around the globe can expect from the Group and its business partners. The policy clearly states Bridgestone’s respect for diversity, equity and inclusion, prohibition of discrimination and harassment, focus on workplace health and safety, commitment to responsible labor practices, and protection of freedom of association and collective bargaining. The policy also guides the organization as it strives to uphold human rights principles through interactions with employees, consumers, customers, suppliers, contractors and community members wherever it conducts business. As reflected in its policy, the Group commits to respect and support the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) as well as the human rights set out in the International Bill of Human Rights (IBHR) and the International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These expectations are aligned with the Group’s Code of Conduct and Global Sustainable Procurement Policy.

The Global Human Rights Policy is endorsed by the Global Executive Committee (Global EXCO) and signed by the Global CEO as it demonstrates the Group’s universal and consistent commitment to respecting the internationally recognized human rights principles laid out in the aforementioned international standards.

This mission is important to the Group as stakeholders and society increasingly hold businesses, and especially large global organizations, accountable for their specific human rights commitments and actions. The Group proactively incorporates human rights initiatives into its business models and across its value chains, priorities, management policies, and business strategies. With these actions, the Group is creating social and customer value and building trust with stakeholders.

Global Human Rights Policy

The Group’s Global Human Rights Policy

The Group initiatives to address various human rights issues based on the Global Human Rights Policy.

The Bridgestone Group Human Rights Policy (129KB)

Management structure

The Group’s commitment to respecting human rights is upheld and led by the Global EXCO, the highest-level committee overseeing its business strategy and execution. This committee is chaired by the Global CEO. Under the direction of the Global EXCO, the Global Sustainability Committee (GSC) organizes the holistic Sustainability Framework, and designs and implements sustainability initiatives, including initiatives related to human rights and labor practices. The chair of the GSC directs the Group’s sustainability strategy, and provides regular updates and proposals to the Global EXCO on significant sustainability initiatives.

As a part of the GSC, the Global Human Rights and Labor Practices Working Group (HRLP WG) is responsible for putting the Group’s commitment to upholding the above internationally recognized human rights principles into practice in each Strategic Business Unit (SBU) and regional office. The HRLP WG is composed of senior human resources leaders from each SBU, supported by dedicated human rights functional resources based in the Group’s Tokyo headquarters. The HRLP WG plans and manages human rights initiatives, such as the human rights due diligence process, implementing the Global Human Rights Policy, and assessing, preventing, mitigating and reporting human rights risks related to business conduct. The HRLP WG also collaborates with the Sustainable Procurement Working Group and Environment Working Group to holistically address human rights issues across the value chain. The HRLP WG reports on its progress and plans to the GSC at least quarterly to ensure senior management is consistently informed of all significant human rights developments and initiatives.

Goals and KPIs

2022 Performance and 2023 Goals and KPIs

To achieve its human rights and labor practices mission, the Group established the following goals and KPIs in 2022:

  • To conduct Human Rights Risk Assessment Surveys (HRRAS) for 80% of the Group’s operational sites by the end of 2022, and, based on the outcome of the assessments, ensure mitigation plans are in place for 100% of any identified risks by 2023.
  • To strengthen the human rights due diligence system and processes throughout its operations. The Group anticipates this commitment to be reflected in improvements in evaluations by several external indices.

The Group surpassed its 2022 goal by conducting HRRAS covering 100% of its operational sites, and there were no material risks identified from this process. The Group developed an Implementation Guideline for the Global Human Rights Policy to ensure concrete actions are taken to further strengthen its human rights management system and that the system is embedded in the day-to-day operations at its sites. This guideline will be distributed to 100 % of the Group’s operational sites in 2023.

Based on the progress and improvements of its human rights due diligence processes, the Group received recognition with significantly enhanced evaluations by external indices. The Group will continue its efforts to ensure its commitment to respect human rights throughout its operations are met, and it anticipates continued improvements in external assessments in 2023 and beyond.

Human rights due diligence

The Group regularly conducts human rights due diligence activities across its operations and supply chain. Regarding its operational sites, in partnership with third-party experts and in alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the Group is significantly expanding and accelerating these efforts to ensure it is meeting and exceeding societal expectations, and continually strengthening its overall due diligence process.

In 2021, as a first step in the enhanced and expanded human rights due diligence cycle, the Group partnered with two third-party organizations, Verisk Maplecroft and Business for Social Responsibility™ (BSR), to assess global operational risk exposure and identify salient human rights risks across its global operations. These assessments incorporated external industry and geographic human-rights risk data, along with evaluations of the Group’s management systems, policies and practices. It gives a holistic picture of key industrial, geographical, and operational risks to which its business should pay particular attention, and ensures a data-driven approach to prioritize its due diligence activities.

In this human rights risk assessment process, the Group drew on external expertise and collaborated with internal stakeholders. The approach was guided by and consistent with the approach articulated in the UNGPs.

The assessments carried out with Verisk Maplecroft and BSR are described in detail below.

2021 human rights risk prioritization

Identification of human rights risk exposure through a holistic, risk-scoping project with third-party risk analytics provider Verisk Maplecroft

A desk-top assessment of the human rights risk exposure across a subset of the Group’s owned operational sites was conducted by third-party risk analytics provider Verisk Maplecroft. The list of risk indices assessed in the project included: child labor, decent wages, decent working time, discrimination in the workplace, freedom of association and collective bargaining, indigenous peoples' rights, migrant workers, modern slavery, occupational health and safety, and right to privacy. Additionally, geographic, political, social, industrial and our operational factors were considered in identifying the operational sites that could be exposed to higher human rights risks. This assessment was utilized to prioritize the Group’s due diligence activities based on independently validated risk exposure at its locations across the globe.

Evaluation of its human rights risks and management system through a risk assessment project with third-party BSR, a leading global organization on sustainability

Internal document reviews and interviews with internal stakeholders were conducted by BSR to evaluate the Group’s global human rights risk management system. The methodology of this assessment was aligned with the UNGPs and entailed:

  1. desktop review of internal documents and external sources to clarify potential impacts of its operations; human rights context in relevant geographies; relevant industry standards; and key rights-holders and stakeholders,
  2. interviews with relevant company staff across functions and systematic review against the list of human rights risks based on the international standards
  3. assessment of severity and likelihood of impacts
  4. overall assessment of the management system

Based on the results of these two external evaluations, the Group has identified its salient human rights risks: working hours, nondiscrimination and equal opportunity, workplace harassment, forced labor, child labor, and occupational health and safety. These are the human rights domains that the Group believes, based on a combination of geographical, regulatory, industrial and operational factors, require the highest priority across its operations and are the primary focus of the human rights due diligence process at its own operational sites.

2022 human rights risk assessments

In the process of strengthening its human rights due diligence system, the Group identified salient human rights risks across its global operations through two different risk evaluations conducted by independent third-party organizations in 2021. Based on the 2021 evaluation results, the Group prioritized locations and develop data-driven plans for human rights risk assessments in its operational sites, and conducted two types of human rights risk assessment in cooperation with a third-party expert, Business for Social Responsibility™ (BSR).

The first type of assessment was a deep-dive online investigation into the salient issues at the prioritized locations based on the 2021 evaluation outcome. Three in-depth assessments in representative sites across the Group’s geographic footprint were conducted to identify the existence of any actual and potential risks, examine the current risk-management system, and clarify gaps between the current management system and international standards laid out in the UNGPs. The three representative sites were 1) the diversified products plant in Saitama, Japan, 2) the tire plant in Indore, India, and 3) the natural rubber farm in Harbel, Liberia. These assessments covered holistic human rights domains from diversified perspectives such as gender, religion and culture. In order to take into account the potential vulnerable populations among our rightsholders in the assessments, the interviews were conducted with a diverse representation of employees including but not limited to female employees, employees belonging to known religious minority groups, and migrant employees.

Overview of the assessment in Japan

The first assessment was conducted in the Group’s diversified product plant in Saitama, Japan, in the first quarter of 2022. This assessment included document reviews and interviews with managers, employees and contract workers, and migrant workers at the plant, to investigate the following human rights domains: working hours; wages and benefits; workplace harassment and violence; non-discrimination and equal opportunity; diversity, equity and inclusion; freedom of association and collective bargaining; forced labor; child labor and young workers; occupational health and safety; and grievance mechanism and access to remedy. While the assessment did not identify any human rights violation, it provided insights about the efficacy of Bridgestone’s human rights management system and generated ideas for further refinement of our due diligence process. The assessment also highlighted positive impacts including progress made by the plant management and workers to respect and enhance diversity, equity and Inclusion of their workplace.

Overview of the assessment in India

The in-depth assessment of the Group’s tire plant in India was conducted in the third quarter of 2022. It consisted of a desktop review of policies and procedures to determine any gaps against Indian law and international human rights standards. Practices and policy adherence were validated through interviews with workers, the human resources department, plant management, health and safety teams and legal and compliance specialists. The assessment covered working hours, wages and benefits, workplace harassment and violence, non-discrimination and equal opportunity, diversity, equity and inclusion, freedom of association, forced labor, child labor, occupational health and safety and grievance mechanisms. No significant gaps were identified, however improvements can be made to further embed the Group’s Global Human Rights Policy into local standard operating procedures.

Overview of the assessment in Liberia

Assessment in Liberia

An in-depth assessment of the Group’s natural rubber farm in Liberia was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2022. The assessment included desktop reviews of all relevant policies and procedures, interviews with management staff, and extensive interviews with production employees. In addition to the salient issues, the assessment covered socio-economic conditions due to the nature of our operation in Liberia. While the assessment did not uncover any significant human rights concerns, the socio-economic and infrastructure challenges in the country highlighted areas of improvement as we strive to uphold international human rights standards. To reinforce our existing system to advance respect for human rights, we have already taken action to strengthen communication on the Global Human Right Policy, including reconfirming employees’ ongoing access to resources should any issues be identified, while continuing to engage with third-party human rights experts.

The second type of assessment was a Human Rights Risk Assessment Survey (HRRAS). This survey was utilized to enable the Group to very broadly assess potential risks and management processes across the Group’s operations for two highly impactful human rights risk domains: child labor and forced labor. The assessment covered 100% of the Group’s operations across the globe. The HRRAS was composed of two different surveys: 1) to identify human rights risk, and 2) to evaluate the human rights risk management system against international human rights standards, with the specific focus on child labor and forced labor.

From these two types of human rights risk assessment which were Risk Assessment Survey and In-depth Risk Assessment, the Group was able to 1) verify that there were no human rights violations at the three representative sites assessed in-depth, 2) confirm there were no incidents of child labor or forced labor among its own operations, and 3) identify key areas to improve and reinforce in its management system to minimize human rights risks across its operations.

The assessment process also significantly strengthened the global human rights management system and enbaled the Group to foster significant stakeholder engagement on the topic of human rights, including developing partnerships with external third-party partners (BSR), facilitating strategic conversations and actions among the Group’s global teams, and directly engaging with frontline employees to include the voice of local employees in the due diligence process. Based on the results of the 2022 assessments and the existing global network for its human rights due diligence process, the Group will establish and implement mitigation measures targeting its own operations in 2023.

2023 human rights due diligence outlook

In 2023, the Group will further improve and reinforce the human rights risk management system, while at the same time continuing to assess and monitor human rights risks through its human rights due diligence process.

Based on the 2022 assessment results, the Group will plan and implement mitigation measures across its own global operations to further minimize human rights risk and impacts in its operations. As the 2022 assessments did not identify any human rights violations, the Group will focus on the areas for improvements to further strengthen its prevention measures for the most broadly assessed human rights risk domains (child labor and forced labor) in 2023. Specifically, the Group developed an Implementation Guideline for the Global Human Rights Policy to ensure its Global Human Rights Policy commitments, stance, and standards include specific and actionable steps the Group’s operations can implement in day-to-day activities to achieve its goals.

The definition of human rights risks, the internationally recognized human rights principles to prevent and address these risks, and actual prevention measures expected from the Group’s operations will be listed in the Guideline. The Guideline (version 1.0) was developed and will be distributed covering 100 % of its operational sites in 2023. It will focus on prevention of child labor and forced labor, and will evolve in tandem with the Group’s human rights due diligence processes and advancement of the internationally recognized human rights principles.

In addition, as part of the Group’s continued implementation of human rights due diligence processes, the Group will conduct further in-depth human rights risk assessments at representative sites and launch an expanded Human Rights Risk Assessment Survey (HRRAS) across its global operational sites in 2023. The in-depth assessment sites will be selected based on a combination of geopolitical and industry data provided by Verisk Maplecroft’s regional risk data and external expertise, and the 2022 assessment results. The HRRAS will continue to cover all of the Group’s own operational sites. The 2023 assessment results will be used to mitigate any identified risks and will also provide valuable input for making future updates to the Group’s Global Human Rights Policy Implementation Guideline.

As described above, the Group will take a multi-point and step-by-step approach to enhance the human rights risk management level, striving to meet international human rights standards while simultaneously taking a data-driven and risk-based approach to identify and address its priorities based on the global landscape and the nature of its operations.

For more information on human rights and environmental due diligence and grievance mechanism in the natural rubber supply chain, see “Procurement” and “Grievance Mechanism”.

Whistleblowing system

To help ensure compliance with the Global Human Rights Policy, the BridgeLine, a whistleblowing web-based reporting system, and phone hotlines are available to all Group employees and all its stakeholders (including, for example, contractors, suppliers, consumers and customers). The Group encourages all stakeholders who have questions about the Global Human Rights Policy and the Code of Conduct or want to report human rights concerns, to submit an inquiry.

The Group encourages speaking up and will ensure that anyone can do so safely and securely. The Group protects confidentiality and anonymity to the full extent possible for all who submit a report through BridgeLine. The Group prohibits retaliation, and has zero tolerance for acts of reprisal of any kind against anyone who makes a report.

To encourage speaking up, the Group’s whistleblowing reporting channel is explicitly mentioned in the sustainability clauses of supply orders and supplier contracts. It is also reiterated in various Group policies, on the Group website and is conspicuously posted in all of our facilities.


Human rights training for all employees

The Group conducts regular education on its Global Human Rights Policy and Code of Conduct. In 2022, the Group conducted human rights education for more than 15,000 new employees. All managers are trained regularly on the Group's Code of Conduct, including the topics of harassment and bullying.

The HRLP WG is collaborating with the Sustainable Procurement Working Group and the Global Sustainability Function to enhance our human rights training programs as part of its global due diligence and risk assessment process. The content is being designed to further build awareness of specific contexts and causes of human rights impacts, to understand the relationship between business activities and human rights, and to forge a deeper understanding of the importance of human rights across the value chain.

Preventing overwork

In Japan, Bridgestone Corporation recognizes the need to prevent long working hour and health risks caused by overwork. The Company complies with the Labor Standards Act by working to reduce overtime and encouraging employees to take their annual holiday leave, and in 2019, it reviewed its policy on appropriate management of working hours.

In Japan in 2022, the rate of employees taking annual paid leave was 87.0 percent, with an average of 17.4 days.

The Company also has a program requiring employees working more than a fixed number of hours to consult with industrial physicians to help maintain good health.

Total annual hours worked* 1,961 hours (FY 2022)
Annual overtime hours worked 242 hours (FY 2022)

* Total annual hours worked = (Annual regular hours worked) + (Annual overtime hours worked) - (Annual paid holidays taken) - (Other holidays taken)

Bridgestone also takes measures to prevent excessive working hours:

  • The Labor Union, through the activities of the Working Hours Committee and other committees, shares with the Labor Department the existing issues and activities to improve the situation.
  • Bridgestone sets targets for annual leave days taken and monitors results.
  • Bridgestone holds seminars about work-life balance.
  • Normal working hours were reduced from 8 hours to 7.5 hours to reduce the total work time since April 2017.
  • Bridgestone has introduced a system that allows employees to take annual paid leave for 5 days (40 hours) per year on an hourly basis in 2021.

Relevant Information