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 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. This can be done either online or face-to-face.
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.
Training and communication
We continued to provide training on the Codes of Conduct to our employees online and face-to-face in 2020.
In our Japanese operations, 99.8% of employees completed the online courses *C.
In our international tobacco business, we continue our effort to ensure the highest standard across our business operations. We use an interactive Code of Conduct video in multiple languages to guide our employees to make the right choices. For employees without computer access, we provide face- to- face training in local languages. As part of our annual global business ethics behavior training, we rolled out a global harassment training video. This addressed various forms of harassment and guided employees on how to address this sensitive issue.
Compliance and Employee Engagement Survey
In order to better implement compliance in our workplace, each department in our Japanese operations makes Compliance Action Plans every year. These Action Plans are rolled out on a yearly basis, which means that we base the plans on the results of the compliance survey and the status of our initiatives in the previous year.
We conduct a compliance survey every year. In 2020, 95.5% of employees completed the survey. The survey outcomes are analyzed by the JT compliance office, and reported to the head of each department while ensuring confidentiality. Next, the JT compliance office develops an Annual Compliance Action Plan based on the results of the analysis. The relevant departments then introduce a remediation plan to address any issues raised, using quantitative targets to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan.
In our Japanese operations, the 2019 survey results showed that harassment* and undeclared overtime work were the most important concerns. With these results in mind, we provided support for our subsidiaries to comply with the Work Style Reform Act and Harassment Law.
In 2020, the survey results showed that information management and harassment are now the most important issues. We will continue to make every effort to improve the situation by providing employees with training in these areas.
In our international tobacco business, we cover the subject of compliance in our Employee Engagement Survey every three years. The most recent survey indicated that employee understanding of the Code of Conduct was increasing. The next Employee Engagement Survey is scheduled for 2021.
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 and available 24/7. Every reported concern and investigation report are treated on a strictly confidential basis, and retaliation against anyone reporting a concern will not be tolerated.
We offer multiple communication channels for employees, customers, and business partners to confidentially raise concerns about potential violations of our Codes of Conduct or policies. We review all concerns raised, launch investigations as needed, and take appropriate corrective actions.
Employees are informed about our Reporting Concerns Mechanism through various channels, including the JT Group intranet. In our Japanese operations, the Mechanism is available in four languages (Japanese, English, 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 the final quarter of 2020, our international tobacco business upgraded its reporting concerns tool, introducing a new channel for raising concerns through a voice messaging system. Together with the existing email system, this makes it easier for our employees and business partners to report concerns of misconduct. The tool is available in more than 70 languages.
In 2020, we received 668 reports across the JT Group. 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.