We need to respect Human Rights in every market where we operate. Since we are present in countries where human rights may be at risk, we have made a commitment to assess those as a priority. We will develop actionable plans to make improvements where required, to ensure the highest standards of behavior are upheld within our business and value chain.
We have made significant progress in some areas, including by working to prevent child labor in tobacco farming communities, by working closely with our tobacco leaf suppliers on labor standards, and on a daily basis in the workplace.
More generally, we have sent out a strong message on the importance of human rights through our Codes of Conductt.
Launching a human rights policy
Over the past three years, we have been working on a more systematic approach to human rights issues. In September 2016, we launched the JT Group Human Rights Policy (the Policy), which follows the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and delivers on our management principles, as set out in our 4S model.
The Policy was originally developed in consultation with internal and external stakeholders. As per our commitment to the policy, in 2017 we began carrying out human rights due diligence programs across our businesses. In order to strengthen and improve implementation of the Policy, our international tobacco business created a Human Rights External Advisory Board.
The policy follows the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and helps to deliver on our management principles as set out in our 4S model. The policy complements our Codes of Conduct.
Find out more about our human rights training programs and due diligence process in our latest JT Group Sustainability Report.
The JT Group Human Rights Policy
This policy has been approved by the Board of Directors of Japan Tobacco Inc.
Our activities in 2017
We have been rolling out e-learning modules and training on human rights within the JT Group since 2016. In 2017, our international tobacco business launched a module in English and in 24 other languages. Training for employees without computer access will take place in 2018 to ensure all our employees have awareness of our company's commitment to the Policy.
We are committed to carrying out due diligence to identify and assess actual and potential human rights risks in our business.
In our international tobacco business, we conducted a gap analysis of our corporate framework, including policies, procedures, and processes in 2017. This analysis concluded that we have a robust set of policies and procedures in place to investigate and mitigate human rights risks across our operations and business relationships. While our policies are consistent with human rights expectations, we will ensure that they are integrated and conform with international standards. In 2018, we will test corporate policy implementation in our key markets. This process will enable us to address human rights risks and impacts effectively.
We completed a gap analysis in Japan, followed by a pilot due diligence project across our Japanese operations. This included distribution of a Self Assessment Questionnaire to over one hundred logistics sites, R&D centers, and factories across the three key business segments of tobacco, pharmaceutical, and processed food. Selected sites were also visited for face-to-face interviews with internal audit teams. We analyzed the questionnaires and shared our findings and risk assessments with the business.
The extensive Self Assessment Questionnaire analysis in our Japanese operations provided us with further insights into high risk areas, including issues around foreign workers, harassment, and long working hours. We identified a need to reinforce our internal policies and a need to continue engaging internally, in order to keep making improvements in this area. Based on our findings and our learnings from the due diligence pilot programs in 2017, we will focus in 2018 on establishing internal guidelines for the hire of foreign workers, and their working conditions in Japan.
JTI UK Modern Slavery Statement
In June 2017, JTI UK, the JT Group's UK subsidiary, published a statement pursuant to the Modern Slavery Act 2015 of the United Kingdom.
JTI UK Modern Slavery Statement