Activities as a Member of Society
Basic Concept of Responsibility for Customers
The Sumitomo Corporation Group operates TV shopping, food supermarket, and other businesses that handle consumer products and services, but will not handle products that seriously negatively impact society and run counter to corporate social responsibility, including: any product that has not been confirmed as safe and therefore is socially questionable; any product that may impair human rights, dignity or reputation; any product that defames or disparages another company; and any product that infringes on intellectual property, including patents, utility model rights, design rights, trademarks and copyrights, or other rights of third parties. We also comply with laws and regulations on product and service safety and quality standards. If any product or service we provide has a quality problem, we will take prompt actions to prevent related damage from spreading, and make efforts to investigate the cause of the problem and prevent a recurrence.
Responsible advertising and marketing
In lifestyle, retail, and other business areas that deliver products directly to consumers, we are fully aware of the significance of the impact that advertising expressions have on consumers. Placing first priority on safety and security, we carry out advertising and marketing activities with due consideration of our social responsibilities. Taking into account the position of consumers and using factual expressions in principle, we will not use misleading expressions describing the characteristics or quality of our products and services.
Access to better nutrition and medicine
Demand for medicine is rapidly increasing in emerging and developing countries due to growing populations and economic development. In many of these countries, however, access to healthcare services and medicine is not fully secured for many people due to underdeveloped social infrastructure and healthcare environments as well as to economic reasons. In Japan, as its super aging society faces increasing expenditures for nursing care and healthcare, curbing social security cost is a pressing issue.
With focus on providing comprehensive support to players in the pharmaceutical industry, from upstream to downstream, taking advantage of the unique global structure as a general trading company, and on disseminating medicine in emerging countries, the Sumitomo Corporation Group is making great contributions to improving people’s quality of life. We are also participating in the healthcare-related service business, and are involved in the operation of pharmaceutical-dispensing drug stores. By promoting use of home healthcare and nursing care, we will contribute to achieving better access to nutrition and medeicine.
Creating local employment
The Sumitomo Corporation Group operates large-scale resource development, infrastructure development, manufacturing, processing and sales businesses in countries around the world, and therefore the impact of its business activities on the economies and lifestyles of these countries and regions is significant. Recognizing that we have a responsibility to pay attention to the history of the country or region and care about local residents as we carry out our business activities, we contribute to the development of local communities not only by creating and promoting local employment but also by working on skills advancement for sustainable development, support for self-reliance, and protection of the local culture and the environment.
Participation in Industry Initiatives on Responsibility for Customers
Sumitomo Corporation Group’s members delivering products directly to consumers (i.e., Jupiter Shop Channel operating the “Shop Channel” for TV shopping, the food supermarket chain Summit, and Tomod’s operating pharmaceutical-dispensing drug stores) are participating in the following industry initiatives (as of December 2020).
Japan Direct Marketing Association (JADMA)
JADMA is the official representative body of the direct marketing industry specified in Article 30 of the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions. Through cooperation with consumer organizations and public offices’ consumer contact points, JADMA promotes thorough after-sales care, proper advertising expressions, and its consultation service to earn consumers’ trust and facilitate healthy development of the industry, with the goal of making mail order sales enjoyable and convenient.
All Japan Supermarket Association (AJS)
AJS was established in 1962 to contribute to the development of the entire supermarket industry by supporting member companies from the viewpoint of education, products, and information.
Japan Supermarkets Association (JSA)
JSA was established in 1999 to plan, propose, and promote food distribution policies together with local communities.
Japan Chain Stores Association (JCA)
JCA was established in 1967 to rationalize distribution systems, facilitate their modernization, and contribute to people’s lives by improving retailing management through the promotion of healthy development and expansion of chain stores.
Nippon Pharmacy Association (NPhA)
The main purposes of this association are as follows, based on three key words of safety, convenience and economy which are to clarify the roles of national insurance pharmacies to prioritize the profit of Japanese people. It also aims to contribute to realize health insurance pharmacies that can be truly trusted and satisfied by Japanese people through activities such as fostering health insurance pharmacies with people's viewpoint, providing relevant information and streamlining pharmacy operation and establishing various infrastructures to do so.
Tomod’s discontinued tobacco sales at all of its stores at the end of July 2017 to help customers achieve a healthy and affluent life. Even before this, Tomod’s has supported efforts to quit smoking, introducing customers to medical institutions that provide smoking cessation outpatient service in the neighborhood, as well as products that help them to quit smoking, and providing nutritional guidance from national registered dietitians before and after smoking cessation. Additionally, to encourage its employees to work together with customers in quitting smoking, Tomod’s introduced a welfare program for employees that supports the smoking cessation program. In recognition of these activities, the Japan Society for Tobacco Control recently offered a letter of appreciation to Tomod’s.
Initiatives in the mining business
“Social license to operate” is a term that means to gain approval from society to carry out business activities. The mining business in particular requires initiatives to reduce environmental impact arising from development and to facilitate sustainable development of local society. In conducting the mining business, the Sumitomo Corporation Group values compliance with laws and regulations, as well as the concept of a social license to operate, and works on rehabilitation at all mining sites where it operates to minimize its impact on the ecosystem and contribute to environmental restoration.
Eventually the production at the mine will come to an end. It is therefore important to support economic independence and minimize environmental impact after the operation shuts down so that the local community can achieve sustainable development. When participating in a mining project, the Sumitomo Corporation always develops a business plan that covers the costs required to restore the site to its original state after closure, according to the life of the mine. When actually closing a mine, we take appropriate steps in accordance with local laws and regulations.
Initiatives in the media business and digital business
The Sumitomo Corporation Group respects personal information provided by customers and pays the utmost attention to data privacy. We recognize their importance particularly in the media business and the digital business, which require strict and proper management, and accordingly ensure compliance with laws and regulations on the handling of personal information, guidelines set forth by administrative bodies, and other standards. For example, Jupiter Shop Channel, as an operator of the “Shop Channel” for TV shopping; SCSK as an IT services provider; and T-Gaia as a mobile phone retailer, are certified as handling personal information properly in compliance with Japanese Industrial Standards JIS-Q 15001 personal information protection management systems—requirements, making them eligible to use the privacy mark.
In operating the media business, including the multichannel programming distribution, we are making efforts to meet society’s trust by observing freedom of speech and expression, following the spirit of democracy, respecting basic human rights and public opinion, and protecting law and order.
Declaration of Partnership Building
In June 2020, the Council on Promoting Partnership Building for Cultivating the Future, whose members consist of the Chairman of Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), the Chairman of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the President of Rengo (the Japanese Trade Union Confederation) and the relevant ministers (the Minister of State for Economic and Fiscal Policy; the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare; the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries; and the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism), introduced a framework called the Declaration of Partnership Building.
This framework allows a company to declare, in the name of the company’s representative, that it will build a new partnership for shared prosperity throughout the supply chain by reinforcing relationships with supply chain partners and enterprises that seek to create value.
By adopting the Declaration, companies publicly commit to:
- shared prosperity throughout their supply chains and new partnerships across the borders of business scales and groups; and
- compliance with the Promotion Standards stipulated in the Act on the Promotion of Subcontracting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises regarding fair transactions with subcontractors.
Sumitomo Corporation has endorsed this initiative and expressed its commitment to building trust and creating new value through sound business activities with suppliers, customers, joint venture partners, financial institutions, logistics companies and all other business partners. (August 17, 2021)