Human Rights Initiatives

Shimizu pursues initiatives in respecting human rights aimed at being “a company that values people,” as stated in the Code of Corporate Ethics and Conduct. We formulated the Shimizu Group Basic Human Rights Policy in December 2018 as a guide to fulfilling this responsibility, in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
As a group company with operations around the globe, we aim to contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as manage our business by recognizing and addressing relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. In order to fulfill our responsibility toward a sustainable society, we consider human rights issues from various perspectives.

Response to the UK Modern Slavery Act

Human Rights Education Promotion Structure

Shimizu has established a Company-wide Human Rights Education Promotion Committee, which is chaired by our executive vice president. This committee will draft annual strategies based on the Shimizu Group Human Rights Basic Policy, as well as concrete action plans to guide implementation.
Decisions made by the Company-wide Human Rights Education Promotion Committee are implemented under the supervision of Division Human Rights Education Promotion Committees by employees specifically tasked with human rights promotion at each division. Group companies also work with Shimizu on rolling out various human rights initiatives.

Human Rights Education Promotion Structure

Human Rights Education Program

Based on the company-wide human rights education promotion plan, Shimizu provides human rights seminars and group trainings for all directors and employees (including those of subsidiaries) on various themes such as the dowa mondai (a Japanese discrimination issue regarding an ostracized community called the “burakumin”), discrimination against people with disabilities, discrimination against LGBT people, bullying and harassment, and other topics.

Recipients Form Training Frequency
Officers Lecture Annually
Division deputy general managers and general managers
Employees Group training Once every two years
Human rights education promotion leaders Annually (group format)
New employees Annually
Human rights training for general managers of divisions
Human rights training for general managers of divisions

Human Rights Education Handbook

Shimizu Group executives and employees are distributed handbooks aimed at deepening their understanding of human rights. The handbook is a compilation of information on the Shimizu Group's basic human rights policy, human rights education promotion structure, various human rights issues, and fair recruitment selection.

Human Rights Week Events

To heighten awareness of human rights, we hold a series of events during Human Rights Week in December of each year. These events include an awards ceremony to recognize the best slogans for raising awareness of human rights, employee training, and production and display of posters that raise awareness of human rights. Human rights awareness-raising slogans are solicited from the entire Group, including Group companies, and we received 1,931 entries from employees and their families in fiscal 2019.

Internal Whistleblowing System

Shimizu has established a system for company officers and employees (including temporary employees) to contact an external expert via email for consultation on or reporting of workplace harassment and other issues. When a user seeks a specific resolution, the wishes of the user are confirmed based on the report from the expert, and the company takes the appropriate steps as required.
Whistleblowers will not be subjected to disadvantageous treatment for seeking consultation and reporting a problem. When the company responds as necessary based on a consultation or report, we maintain strict confidentiality of the user, the information provided, and other pertinent information. Whistleblowing reports are also received from external stakeholders via the inquiry hotline.

Compliance Hotline, Internal Whistleblowing System
Compliance Hotline, Internal Whistleblowing System

Due Diligence on Human Rights

Shimizu performs due diligence on human rights that is focused on skilled workers at job sites and construction materials, from the perspective of the sustainability of business.

Fiscal 2019 Initiatives

Shimizu conducted a fact-finding survey of human rights risks for foreign technical trainees and other foreign workers who work at construction sites in the construction business, which is Shimizu’s main business, in light of the many reports of human rights infringements relating to foreign technical trainees and students studying abroad. We worked together with a third-party institution to ensure objectivity and neutrality in conducting surveys at 10 subcontractors with which Shimizu does business. These surveys consisted of interviewing business owners, verifying documentation, interviewing foreign workers*, and verifying living environment.

The results of the survey revealed that there were no unpaid wages, and that workers were also being paid the appropriate premium payments for working overtime and on holidays. Subcontractors were also making various considerate arrangements to lend smartphones and bicycles and provide food to foreign workers upon acceptance. The interviews with workers enabled us to confirm that there were few concerns over harassment from abuse of power in the workplace and that many workers wished to come and work in Japan again. While no significant human rights risks were identified, a number of issues were identified and we will work to make sure that all subcontractors are aware of these issues in the future.
Shimizu has participated in a Human Rights Due Diligence Working Group for construction and real estate established by eight general contractors and developers since 2018. This group is exploring procedures and methods for addressing human rights risks related to plywood formwork for concrete.

Interviews were conducted with 30 foreign workers from China, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Myanmar in their native languages.

Future Initiatives

Based on the fact-finding survey of subcontractors, Shimizu will make all subcontractors aware of the elements required in laws and regulations and operating guidelines when employing foreign technical trainees and elements on which improvement is needed via a dedicated website and training for subcontractors, and works to avoid and mitigate human rights risks.
A third-party institution will also be retained to survey and analyze human rights risks for workers who work at construction sites overseas. We will focus on specified the high-priority regions and are proceeding with initiatives aimed at conducting fact-finding surveys.
An initiative in construction materials involving plywood forms for concrete is considering human rights in the countries and regions where the raw lumber is produced. The standard we are urging subcontractors to comply with is use of certified materials that are highly compliant with the Sustainable Sourcing Code for Timber, which is a part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Sustainable Sourcing Code.

Engaging with Our Supply Chain

To engage with our supply chain to seek their compliance with Shimizu Group Human Rights Policy, we hold nationwide compliance trainings for our suppliers and subcontractors. During fiscal 2019, 19 times in total, 1,322 companies and 1,374 people participated in these training sessions.

Compliance training for suppliers and subcontractors
Compliance training for suppliers and subcontractors

We have newly established "Respecting human rights" in the basic contract for construction subcontracting concluded with suppliers and subcontractors. In addition, in order to respect human rights and secure employment and working conditions, we asks suppliers to comply with the following thinds and make it known to their business partners.

Things We Request of Our Suppliers (Excerpt)

  • Respect the diversity, personality, and individuality of employees
  • Prohibition on discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, religion, nationality, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or any other form of discrimination, as well as harassment that injures the dignity of the individual
  • Prohibition of various kinds of child labor and forced labor
  • Appropriate wages, work hours, and management of holidays and time off

Cooperation with outside concerning human rights

Global Compact Network Japan (GCNJ) Activities

Shimizu participates in the Human Rights Education Working Group, Human Rights Due Diligence Subcommittee and the WEPs (Women’s Empowerment Principles) Working Group. Alongside other corporate participants, we share and obtain information and insight about the effective implementation of human rights initiatives.

Working Group Purpose FY 2019 Activities Shimizu’s Role
Human Rights Education Working Group To create human rights training tools that can be utilized by participants in their own companies based on expert lectures and research on leading companies. The committee deepens our understanding of topics on which the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has issued recommendations to Japan through lecture by experts and discussion among subcommittee members. One person participates as the official member
Human Rights Due Diligence Subcommittee We learn from initiatives in due diligence on human rights based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Each company pursues its own initiatives by holding lectures by experts, evaluating the company’s progress on its own initiatives, and through workshops, group work, and other means. One person participates as the official member
WEPs (Women’s Empowerment Principles) Working Group To improve the international competitiveness of signatories to the GCNJ and ultimately to contribute to the improvement of gender equality in Japanese companies. To examine the seven WEPs, engage in activities that can facilitate concrete initiatives within participant companies, and communicate them. Two people participate as official members.

Activities of the Industrial Federation for Human Rights, Tokyo

Shimizu is a member of the Industrial Federation for Human Rights, Tokyo, which consists of 123 companies as of April, 2020- most of which are headquartered in Tokyo. We work along with other member companies to contribute to solving various human rights issues through implementation of human rights trainings, raising social awareness of human rights issues, and publicly reporting on these activities.

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