Human Rights, Labor Practices

  • Facebook
  • tumblr


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 teammates, and model our respect for diversity and human rights.

The Bridgestone 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 Bridgestone 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.

As the Group strives to meet and exceed international standards for business and human rights, its Global CEO approved revisions to the Global Human Rights Policy in May 2022 to clarify and strengthen its commitment to respect internationally recognized human rights principles laid out in the aforementioned international standards.

This mission is important to the Bridgestone 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 Bridgestone Group is creating social and customer value and building trust with stakeholders.

Global Human Rights Policy

The Bridgestone Group’s Global Human Rights Policy

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

The Bridgestone Group’s Global Human Rights Policy (129KB)

Management structure

The Bridgestone Group’s commitment to respect human rights is upheld and led by the Global Executive Committee (Global EXCO), the highest-level committee overseeing its business strategy and execution, which 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 Joint Global COO Masahiro Higashi, who serves as the chair of the GSC, directs the Group’s sustainability strategy, 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 uphold the above internationally recognized human rights principles into practice in each 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

To achieve its human rights and labor practices mission, the Bridgestone Group has established goals and KPIs, including:

  • Conducting human rights risk assessment surveys in 80% of its operational sites by the end of 2022. Based on the outcome of the assessments, the Group will ensure mitigation plans are in place for 100% of any identified risks by 2023.
  • Strengthening its 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.

Human rights due diligence

The Bridgestone 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 Bridgestone 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 assessments

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 Bridgestone 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 outcome of these two human rights risk assessments, the Group has identified its salient human rights risks: working hours, non-discrimination 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, have the highest priority across its operations and will be the primary focus in its human rights due diligence process for its own operational sites.

2022 human rights risk assessment outlook

Based on the outcome of assessments conducted in 2021, the Bridgestone Group will continue to investigate human rights risks with special focus on the identified salient issues at Group operational sites with BSR. The Group plans to take a two-step approach to identify actual risks and examine the human rights risk management system at operational sites, while continually refining its due diligence process and methodology.

Based on the site-specific risk profile developed with Verisk Maplecroft, the Group will conduct in-depth human rights risk assessments at three representative sites. These in-depth assessments will help identify any actual and potential risks that may exist, examine the current risk management system, and clarify gaps between the current management system and international standards laid out in the UNGPs.

The first of these assessments was conducted in the Group’s diversified product plant in Saitama, Japan, in March 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.

Additional in-depth human rights assessments, incorporating the knowledge gained from the assessment in Saitama, will be conducted at the Group’s tire plant in Indore, India, and its natural rubber plant in Harbel, Liberia later in 2022.

During the detailed assessments mentioned above, the Bridgestone Group will also test and validate survey assessment methodologies that can be broadly utilized across its operations, These evaluation methods will be utilized to more broadly assess human rights risks across the Group’s global operational sites, with a target for 80% of its operations to complete the survey in 2022. Based on the findings from these assessments, the Group will develop mitigation plans for identified risks as well as improvement measures for its risk management process. For any identified adverse human rights impacts, the Group will engage with affected groups and draw on internal/external expertise to plan and implement mitigations, and will properly monitor the effectiveness of the implemented mitigation actions.

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 Bridgestone 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 Bridgestone 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 Bridgestone Group website and is conspicuously posted in all of our facilities.


Human rights training for all employees

The Bridgestone Group conducts regular education on its Global Human Rights Policy and Code of Conduct, reaching more than 84,000 employees, 92.9% of its target audience, by the end of 2020. In 2021, the Group conducted human rights education for more than 17,000 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 recognizes the need to avoid long working hours and unusual amounts of overtime or late-night work to prevent 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 2021, the rate of employees taking annual paid leave was 78.0 percent, with an average of 15.6 days.

Bridgestone 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 1,969 hours (FY 2021)
Annual overtime hours worked 224 hours (FY 2021)

  1. 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.
  • Bridgestone sets leave-on-time days.
  • 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