Our Codes of Conduct form the foundation of our business ethics. Reflecting our commitment to the 4S model, they outline our responsibilities towards our consumers, our shareholders, our employees, and the wider society. Our Reporting Concerns Mechanism allows employees and business partners to report concerns in a confidential manner. We take a zero-tolerance approach to bribery, corruption, and other financial crime, and we actively manage risks related to these areas.
Employees are trained on the Codes, and there are communication channels for employees to report concerns about potential breaches or violations.
Besides the JT Group Code of Conduct, our international tobacco business and Torii Pharmaceutical have developed a version of the Codes of Conduct to reflect the needs of their operations.
Our Codes of Conduct
Living our Codes of Conduct
Our Codes of Conduct guides us to conduct business ethically and be a responsible corporate citizen. We ensure that they are communicated on effectively throughout the entire business by running various training courses for employees.
Our employees sign an acknowledgment form to show their commitment to following our Codes of Conduct.
We continuously review and update our Codes of Conduct to improve our standards, and the latest revision took place in 2018. In our international tobacco business, we have digitalized the Code into an accessible, easy-to-read document, including a decision-making guide to assist employees in making the right choices. It is now available in 40 languages, and we provide printed booklets for those with limited internet access.
We continued to provide training on the Codes of Conduct to our employees online and face-to-face in 2019. In our Japanese operations, 99.7% of employees completed the online courses *C. In our international tobacco business, we launched a new interactive Code of Conduct video in 25 languages to guide employees to make the right choices. For employees without computer access, we have adopted a Train-the-Trainer approach. So far we have trained 59 local trainers, who provided face-to-face training in local languages to 6,274 employees, including those from all our newly acquired entities in the Philippines, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
In our Japanese operations, the survey outcomes are reported to each executive officer and to each department. The relevant departments then introduce measures in their Annual Compliance Action Plans to address any issues raised, using quantitative targets to evaluate the effectiveness of these measures. In 2019, 95.8% of employees completed the survey.
In our Japanese operations, the latest survey results showed harassment* and unpaid overtime as the most important concerns. We have provided support for the JT Group companies to comply with the ‘Work Style Reform Act’ and monitored overtime hours in each department. We will continue to monitor progress and make every effort to improve the situation in these two key areas.
In our international tobacco business, the Employee Engagement Survey covers compliance questions. It is distributed every three years, and the last one was completed in 2018. The results showed that, since the previous survey was carried out, the Code of Conduct is more widely understood by employees and enforced by line managers. A total of 90% of respondents agreed that their direct supervisor reinforces the importance of adherence to compliance and ethical standards, compared to 85% in the previous survey (2014).
Across the JT Group, each of our operating companies has specially trained members who handle compliance matters. If an employee is concerned about a potential violation of our Code of Conduct, they can contact their line manager, HR lead, or a member of the compliance team. Employees in Japan receive a booklet explaining the process for reporting concerns. We also provide an external concern-reporting service run by an independent provider. Every reported concern and investigation report is treated on a strictly confidential basis.
Employees are informed about our Reporting Concerns Mechanism through various channels, including the Group intranet. In 2018, our Japanese operations made the Mechanism available in four additional languages (English, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Nepalese) to meet the needs of our diverse workforce.
Any concerns are then dealt with by specially trained contact persons, who all follow a mandatory face-to-face training course.
In 2019, we received 723 reports accross the JT Group, covering issues such as labor practices and discrimination. In the case of proven violations of our Codes of Conduct, we took appropriate action in the form of dismissal, verbal or written warnings, financial penalties, or other measures.