Updated on August 29, 2019
Sony respects the human rights of all stakeholders in our business operations and supply chains. In response to the growing concern regarding the impact of increasing globalization on human rights, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in 2011. These Principles identify steps that global companies can take to prevent and mitigate the potential adverse human rights impact in their business operations and supply chains. In accordance with the Principles, Sony strives to respect human rights and ensure good labor practices in all of its business activities.
Sony’s overall commitment to ensuring the protection of human rights in its operations, supply chains and products is set forth in the Sony Group Code of Conduct. The Sony Group Code of Conduct is applicable to all directors, officers, and employees of Sony Group and provides: “Sony believes that all human beings should be treated with dignity and respect. Sony is committed to uphold internationally recognized human rights of all people. We will all use reasonable efforts to avoid causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts that may arise from our operations, products, services and/or business relationships and will act diligently to help remediate any impacts that may occur.”
The Sony Group Code of Conduct was established with the approval of the Sony Corporation Board of Directors and sets forth Sony’s basic commitment to human rights. The CSR Section at Sony headquarters in Tokyo is responsible for analyzing and monitoring human rights risks throughout Sony Group’s business activities and supply chains. CSR Section reports to the Corporate Executive Officer in Charge of CSR and works with relevant functions such as procurement, compliance and employees to manage potential human rights issues related to Sony’s business activities and supply chains.
Sony’s CSR Department assesses and monitors human rights risks throughout Sony’s operations and supply chains. In 2012, Sony engaged BSR, an independent, non-profit, global organization devoted to building a just and sustainable world, to conduct an initial analysis of potential human rights risks across Sony’s various business operations and supply chains, which include electronics, entertainment and finance, as the salient human rights issues vary depending on the business segment. The initial BSR assessment identified potential human rights considerations in the electronics business supply chain, including materials procurement. In order to address our key risk, we collaborated with industry-wide efforts to protect and empower workers in the global electronics supply chain and were a founding member of the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA*1). Manufacturing sites of Sony’s electronics business and their suppliers were required to comply with the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct, which employs the RBA Code of Conduct. The Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct is also consistent with the human rights commitment, which is expressed in the Sony Group Code of Conduct. Sony also introduced an ongoing assessment and monitoring scheme for our electronics suppliers.
In 2018, Sony reviewed and updated its analysis of human rights risks with BSR, so as to reflect the current state of global affairs, stakeholder concerns, evolving human rights laws and changes in Sony’s business activities. Sony referenced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties on human rights to identify issues that are relevant to its business activities, and reviewed media and NGO reports to identify the human rights risks for these issues. These were compared against Sony’s areas of business to identify underlying risks with the greatest relevance to Sony. As a result, human rights risks related to workers in the electronics industry supply chain, which has been a key focus of Sony’s efforts, and to new technologies such as AI, were identified. Sony will continue to monitor and address its human rights risks across our operations.
Sony Group provides training to all of its employees worldwide in order to familiarize them with the Sony Group Code of Conduct and to encourage ethical business conduct, including respect for human rights. Relevant organizations within Sony Group conduct additional specialized training for pertinent personnel to help detect and address human rights risks.
Sony provides multiple channels, including an ethics hotline, for employees to raise concerns and seek guidance about possible violations of laws or internal policies, including violations of the Sony Group Code of Conduct. Additionally, Sony operates a supplier hotline for business partners, and a Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals hotline for reporting violations of the Sony Group Policy for Responsible Supply Chain of Minerals and other applicable policies. These channels of communication enable Sony to rapidly address human rights concerns.