Benesse Group Human Rights Policy Statement

Respect for Human Rights

Respect for Human Rights

Business activities of the Benesse Group follow our Corporate Philosophy of “Well-Being.” All that we do is centered on building trust with our customers.

During the course of our collaborations with customers and other stakeholders to co-create value, it is important to both embrace diversity and to maintain respect for the dignity of each individual.

It is in this belief that we have established our Human Rights Policy.

Benesse Group Human Rights Policy Statement

This Policy applies to all directors and employees of the Benesse Group (Benesse Holdings, Inc. and its affiliated companies).

This Policy will also be put into practice through our relationships with our business partners and suppliers.

Pursuit of Human Rights Principles and Standards
We will pursue human rights initiatives based on the International Bill of Human Rights (Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenants on Human Rights), the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Our Responsibilities Regarding Respect for Human Rights
We will respect diversity in our own corporate and business activities and will eliminate discrimination or violations of human rights.
As a leading company in education and nursing care, we have a responsibility to always ensure the respect of human rights in the provision of our products and services.
We will also respect diversity within the workplace and continue to demonstrate our values and philosophy for the “Well-Being” of our customers and other stakeholders with responsibility and integrity.

Human Rights Due Diligence
We will develop mechanisms for human rights due diligence and take ongoing actions in our efforts to identify and prevent or mitigate any negative impacts by the Group on human rights.
Further, in such cases where a negative impact on human rights caused by our business partner or supplier is directly or indirectly related to the businesses or services of the Benesse Group, we will seek remedial measures so as to respect and not infringe upon human rights.

Compliance with Applicable Laws
We will respect internationally recognized human rights standards to the maximum extent possible as well as comply with all laws and regulations of the countries and regions where we conduct our business activities.

We will conduct ongoing education and training of our employees to ensure that this Policy is properly incorporated and firmly established in the respective locations of our corporate and business activities. We will also ensure that each and every one of our employees has a full understanding of this Policy and is supported in being able to practice respect for human rights.

We will take appropriate steps and strive to remedy the situation in such cases where it becomes apparent that we have caused or been in some way involved in a negative impact on human rights.

Dialogue and Discussions
We will communicate our human rights initiatives under this Policy through different channels, including our website.
We will also engage in active dialogue and discussions with relevant stakeholders to properly understand and respond to potential and actual impacts on human rights by the Group.

Established on June 22, 2020

Benesse Holdings, Inc. Sustainability Promotion

Governance & Supervision Framework

Benesse Holdings established the Human Rights Subcommittee as an organization subordinate to the Sustainability Committee to bolster its human rights initiatives. The subcommittee started work on developing a structure for undertaking human rights due diligence in accordance with the Benesse Group Human Rights Policy. During the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, Benesse started conducting human rights assessments of some companies in the Group and the assessment results were reported to the Sustainability Committee. Benesse will continue to roll out human rights initiatives across the entire Group step by step, supervising compliance with the Group’s Human Rights Policy and the progress of these initiatives via the Sustainability Committee.

Human Rights Due Diligence

In 2020 Benesse started conducting human rights due diligence with the assistance of external experts, in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Human rights risks to be assessed during the human rights assessment were listed based on material considerations and issues relating to the Group’s corporate activities. These were determined in accordance with international standards and guidelines that define material human rights issues, using Benesse’s own employment/work rules relating to human rights for reference.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Confirm standards to apply Design assessment sheet Conduct human rights assessment Evaluate & report
  • International standards & guidelines
    1. ① Universal Declaration of Human Rights
    2. ② ILO standards
    3. ③ UN Global Compact
    4. ④ OECD
    5. ⑤ GRI standards
    6. ⑥ FLA
    7. ⑦ CHRB
  • Existing standards & rules
    1. ① Group’s Human Rights Policy
    2. ② Employment/work rules
  • Define human rights risks

    List risks based on material human rights considerations and issues relating to the Group’s corporate activities

  • Define measures that deter human rights violations

    List measures taken in individual companies that positively impact respect for human rights, such as work-life management measures and employee education

  • Collate assessment sheet responses

    Individuals in charge of responding at each company collate information from each relevant operating site, and enter responses on the assessment sheet

  • Hold dialogue with assessed companies

    Hold dialogues with companies to discuss assessment sheet responses, involving external experts. Promote understanding of key human rights issues

  • Create risk maps

    Evaluate risks from the perspectives of likelihood of occurrence, severity, and risk management weaknesses to create risk maps

  • Discuss at Human Rights Subcommittee

    Evaluate and verify each company’s risk map to identify key human rights themes for the Group

  • Report to Sustainability Committee

    Report the key human rights themes identified for the Group and discuss future action

Human Rights Issues Relating to Corporate Activities

As a result of the human rights assessment, we identified the following as key themes subject to potential risk and confirmed that continuous risk management is being conducted with regard to these themes.

Key Human Rights Themes Identified within the Benesse Group

  • Eradication of child labor
  • Prevention of abuse
  • Prevention of harassment in the workplace

As a company that operates educational businesses for children, we believe that it is never acceptable to impede compulsory education or violate children’s rights by requiring minors under the age of 18 to perform hazardous, harmful work prohibited under labor conventions.

Furthermore, as many of the Benesse Group’s businesses, including its nursing care and cram school businesses, provide customers with person-to-person services of high added value, we place importance on respect for fundamental human rights within our business activities.

We will continue to monitor the situation with regard to the key human rights themes identified within the Group. Next fiscal year, we plan to further increase the number of Group companies for which we conduct human rights due diligence.

Risk Management in Corporate Activities

We are taking the risk management measures detailed below to address the key human rights themes identified.

Key Human Rights Themes Identified Risk Management
Eradication of child labor Regular audits are conducted by an external organization and we continuously monitor to ensure that respect for human rights and appropriate working environments are maintained by our suppliers.
Prevention of abuse In our nursing care business, we administer regular questionnaires to all care workers to promptly identify any behavior that could develop into abuse and deal with it appropriately before actual abuse occurs. We also hold monthly meetings of a committee that works to prevent abuse in care homes.
Prevention of harassment in the workplace To raise awareness of harassment among employees, we hold group sessions to go through documents setting out our standards, and provide guidance for managers and other employees including harassment-related training.
Note: We also offer a consultation service specifically for harassment-related issues.

Respect for Employees’ Human Rights

The Benesse Group operates its businesses globally, promoting Group-wide diversity and inclusion while implementing a range of measures to deal with issues of harassment and discrimination.

As a specific example, it has set up internal reporting mechanisms for passing on information or seeking advice regarding compliance-related concerns including potential human rights violations, discrimination, or harassment.

Internal Reporting Mechanism Overview
Benesse Group Speak-Up Line A mechanism for reporting the discovery of illegal or dishonest behavior, or violations of a company’s articles of incorporation or internal rules
Audit & Supervisory Board Member Hotline A mechanism for reporting in cases where senior management may be involved, or similar situations

Note: Every effort is made to ensure that these reporting mechanisms can be used with peace of mind; for example, they are located outside the company itself and they can be used anonymously.

In addition to the above, we also offer a consultation service provided by an external specialist organization that employees can use to seek advice related to harassment.

For non-Japanese employees, we confirm visa status after an employee joins the company and do not make the type of demands that can lead to forced labor, such as requiring that a Group company takes possession of an employee’s passport or other important documents.

We also take other steps to ensure employees’ human rights are respected by instilling awareness of the relevant policies throughout the Group and implementing training.

Human Rights Training

As part of our efforts to promote awareness of human rights within the Group, we conduct human rights training for new recruits and harassment training for managers and other employees on an annual basis, aiming to minimize the number of instances that occur.

Benesse will continue to implement measures throughout the entire Group in accordance with its Human Rights Policy, helping to bring about a sustainable society through vigorous support for its customers and other stakeholders as they strive to live well.

Last updated : 2021/04/15