Sony established the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct to ensure that suppliers understand Sony's expectations in more detail. Suppliers of products and materials to Sony are required to observe this code.
As part of its effort to ascertain supplier compliance with the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct, Sony conducts assessments worldwide. To this end, Sony uses the concept of risk assessment to determine risks associated with the country and region in which each supplier is based, as well as risks associated with the scale, status and nature of the supplier's business, and tailors its assessments, such as its CSR self-assessment using EICC questionnaires, to the supplier's risk level.
Sony asks suppliers to assess themselves using EICC questionnaires. The assessments are repeated each year for major OEM suppliers with whom Sony does sizable business. Based on the results of these assessments, Sony evaluates the degree to which suppliers are complying with the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct and whether violations have occurred at each of the suppliers' factories. As part of its risk assessments, Sony conducts on-site assessments of suppliers it deems to be subject to risks in order to confirm how their factories are being managed.
For example, if suppliers employ students, Sony's internal procedures provide that Sony directly visits their factories to check whether any workers are younger than the legal age limit in that country, and to confirm whether the health and safety of younger workers are being affected by their jobs due to long working hours, working night shifts, and other factors. Likewise, if suppliers employ foreign workers, Sony's internal procedures provide that Sony confirms whether such workers are subject to forced labor, whether dormitory facilities provided to those workers meet international standards, and whether the working environment is clean and safe. By inspecting factories and providing direction in this way, Sony ensures that suppliers are making every effort to comply with CSR standards.
In fiscal 2015, assessments of 260 Sony suppliers were completed. Based on these assessments, five suppliers were selected for on-site assessments. Guidance was provided on how to develop improvement plans related to issues identified in these assessments and follow-up assessments were conducted until which time it was determined that improvements had been completed. Sony found that, in general, suppliers identified to be at risk tend to have issues requiring improvement in the area of labor management systems and other organizational infrastructure.
In cases where any possibility of violations of the Sony Supply Chain Code of Conduct is reported via external sources, such as NGOs or media reports, Sony cooperates with the supplier in question to confirm the facts of the case expeditiously and objectively. Specifically, Sony may request that the supplier's manufacturing site undergo a third-party EICC audit. In the event that any deficiencies are discovered, the supplier is required to develop an improvement plan, and Sony monitors the supplier's performance in the form of follow-up audits to ensure the progress of initiatives. In cases where any possibility of violations is reported at a secondary supplier, Sony works with the primary supplier to ensure that remedial action is carried out.