Efforts to Respect Human Rights
The Tokyo Electric Power Company Group (“TEPCO Group”) established and announced its TEPCO Group Human Rights Policy in August 2021, aiming to contribute to protecting/promoting human rights across society as a whole, including the international community. We aspire to become a corporate group that continues to be trusted and chosen by society and customers, and respect human rights as the basis of our operation.
1. TEPCO Group Human Rights Policy
The TEPCO Group established and announced in August 2021 the TEPCO Group Human Rights Policy (“the Policy”) that clarifies our stance toward efforts to respect human rights, in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Besides strengthening our previous initiatives for human rights, we will promote human rights-respecting efforts that align with international standards in order to commit ourselves to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts on human rights.
Should the operations, products, or services of not only the TEPCO Group but also our business partners, including suppliers, adversely impact the human rights of our stakeholders including customers and local communities, we will take appropriate actions.
The Policy was established based on international human rights norms and principles (e.g., the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles), and by incorporating opinions of external experts.
Commitment to Specific Human Rights Issues
The TEPCO Group respects the following rights and human dignities in accordance with international norms and principles on human rights.
- (1) Prohibition of human trafficking, forced labor, and child labor
- (2) Freedom of association and respect for the right to collective bargaining, etc.
- (3) Respect for diversity and equal opportunity
- (4) Prohibition of all forms of discrimination*, harassment, bullying, and unfair treatment
- (5) Appropriate management of working hours and reduction of excessive working hours
- (6) Securing the minimum wage and supporting the living wage
- (7) Ensuring a healthy and safe work environment
- (8) Protection of personal information and privacy
- (9) Ensuring the safety of consumers and local communities and disclosing information transparently
Discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, language, religion, nationality, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual expression, disability, political or other opinions, national or social background, property, family or other status, or any similar reason.
2. Governance Structure of Respect for Human Rights
With the establishment of the Policy, we reorganized our Human Rights Awareness Committee, the primary goal of which has been to resolve/prevent issues such as discrimination, and accordingly set up the TEPCO Holdings (TEPCO HD) Human Rights Committee (“HD Human Rights Committee”) in February 2022. Because of the broad scope of human rights issues, we expanded its membership to include the heads of our procurement, ESG, safety, and system security organizations.
The HD Human Rights Committee, chaired by the Chief Human Resources Officer (“Human Rights Chairperson”), chiefly consists of TEPCO HD’s relevant department/office managers and human rights directors of TEPCO Power Grid, TEPCO Renewable Power, and TEPCO Energy Partner (these three are the “core companies”). Each core company has its own human rights committee, and the committee chairs also serve as members of the HD Human Rights Committee.
As a general rule, the HD Human Rights Committee meets twice a year to engage in such activities as reviewing efforts from the previous fiscal year, deliberating plans for the current fiscal year, and monitoring the action plan for human rights due diligence (“human rights DD”).
The Committee also shares specific cases submitted to our Human Rights Reporting Desk and Human Rights Consultation Desk and discusses and recommends remedial measures.
Items reviewed/decided upon by the HD Human Rights Committee are reported to the Executive Committee and other bodies, if necessary. (A report on actions taken after the Policy’s establishment up through FY2022 was made to the Board of Directors on April 28, 2023.)
System of human rights governance
Coverage includes consolidated subsidiaries of the core companies
Here are the details on past HD Human Rights Committee sessions.
Feb. 9, 2022
|24 out of 24
(2 by proxy)
June 13, 2022
|24 out of 24
(3 by proxy)
Nov. 25, 2022
|24 out of 24
(6 by proxy)
May 26, 2023
|24 out of 24
(4 by proxy)
Provided below are the recommendations/remedial measures based on discussions from previous HD Human Rights Committee sessions.
3. Human Rights Due Diligence
The TEPCO Group respects human rights in all aspects of its business activities. We built a human rights DD mechanism based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights so that the human rights of all stakeholders, including people impacted by our business activities, are respected. We also defined ”our companies,” “consolidated subsidiaries,” and “suppliers” as the scopes of our priority responses in this area.
The TEPCO Group’s system for respecting human rights
Scopes of priority response for human rights DD
We carry out human rights impact assessments and engage with stakeholders concerning mainly the human rights issues listed in the Policy.
|Employees||In FY2021, we specified harassment, working hours, and proper management of personal information as critical human rights issues. We are implementing and monitoring preventive and remedial measures for them.|
Human Rights Impact Assessments on Our Companies (Employees)
To implement human rights DD for our companies (employees), we specified adverse impacts caused by our business (human rights impact assessments). With the input from external experts, we analyzed our internal rules, results of employee opinion surveys, previous lawsuits, and contents of human rights grievances, among other information. We accordingly identified human rights issues and assessed them from the perspectives of the potential, scale, scope, and irremediability of human rights violations.
As a result, assessments showed particularly significant adverse impacts in the categories of harassment, working hours, and proper management of personal information. We have been addressing these three challenges for some time, and since FY2022 we have defined them as salient human rights issues and stepped up our efforts focused on preventing inappropriate cases related to them and minimizing impacts when such cases occur.
Human Rights Impact Assessments on Our Companies (Business)
We used the following process to conduct human rights impact assessments on nine departments of our three core companies in FY2022.
- (1)We carried out the Self-Assessment on Respect for Human Rights, which has around 70 items covering 25 human rights issues that could have an impact within our business activities, including the specific issues to which we declare our commitment in the Policy.
- (2)External experts conducted interviews based on the results of those self-assessments in order to identify items that each department considers to be potential issues.
- (3)We used the findings from (1) and (2) to assess issues in terms of the potential, scale, scope, and irremediability of human rights violations, identify and prioritize critical human rights issues, and formulate an action plan.
Coverage of the self-assessments conducted
The management and the Human Rights Committee of each core company selected the departments indicated below based on the nature of their business and had them carry out the self-assessment.
|RP||Hydro Power, Wind Power||30.0%|
|PG||Customer Service, Transmission, Distribution, Electronic Telecommunications, Real Estate Acquisition & Management||26.1%|
|EP||Corporate Marketing and Sales, Customer Marketing and Sales, Carbon Neutral Marketing and Sales||30.5%|
The process of identifying and prioritizing human rights challenges determined that study and implementation of preventive/remedial measures regarding the issues identified are being carried out fully (100%). However, it also uncovered the additional issues listed below that could have negative impacts. Preventive/remedial measures for those items are being launched in FY2023.
|Company||Additional Issues & Responses||Progress|
|RP||It was learned that female employees felt hesitant to use the restrooms at hydroelectric plants and dam facilities in mountainous regions due to their inadequately inclusive design. As a step toward expanding diversity-minded facilities at the power plants, a working group comprising mostly female employees is studying and implementing remedial measures.||1H: Working group meetings & proposal of solutions
|PG||It was determined that methods of effective communication were needed to encourage foreign workers to take ownership of safety and recognize risks involved in their work. The following preventive/remedial measures are being carried out.||Underway|
|EP||Due to concerns over risks in solar panel procurement, a policy was formulated regarding how to deal with procurement of electricity generated from solar power (excluding FIT scheme), and measures are being taken in line with it.||Policy formulated in FY2022; now in effect|
The scope of action will be further expanded in FY2023.
Human Rights Impact Assessments on Consolidated Subsidiaries
System for Promoting Respect for Human Rights at Consolidated Subsidiaries
Human Rights Impact Assessments on Suppliers
We established the Sustainable Procurement Guidelines (the “Guidelines) in May 2021 by adding an element of respect for human rights to the Basic Policy on Procurement, with the aim to develop stronger respect for human rights in our supply chain. We also developed a system to reinforce our suppliers’ respect for human rights and started to take action in FY2022. Example endeavors include having suppliers submit a confirmation document that declares they are properly practicing the Guidelines, and distributing a Sustainable Procurement Questionnaire to check the extent to which suppliers are complying with the Guidelines.
System to Reinforce Suppliers’ Respect for Human Rights
Results of Sustainable Procurement Survey
In FY2022, we asked approximately 300 suppliers to complete a roughly 60-item Sustainable Procurement Survey on seven areas—human rights, CSR, compliance, occupational health & safety, the environment, risk management, and sustainable growth across the entire supply chain—and on their contributions to local communities. The results indicated that the larger the company is, the more likely it is to have a balanced commitment across the board for all areas.
■ Feedback to survey respondents
We provided each survey respondent with feedback in the form of a radar chart showing the three values indicated below for the seven areas (human rights, etc.). The values included two benchmarks, overall average and average of suppliers of similar size, so that each company could compare its performance against them.
Benchmarked radar graph
Three values shown:
Human rights training material
Of the seven areas covered by the survey, it was found that there was room for improvement in measures for the area of human rights. In response, a material for use in human rights training was provided to the suppliers along with the survey feedback.
The material also contains information on the Human Rights Reporting Desk, which offers service to all stakeholders, including suppliers.
The scoping of human rights due diligence regarding suppliers was performed from the three perspectives of sectoral/enterprise factors, product factors, and geographical factors, based on the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct. We also used tools such as the UNEP FI Human Rights Guidance Tool and FTSE Risk Exposure for analysis. This led us to decision to assign high priority to the construction sector.
|Issues||Occupational health & safety, worker exploitation through subcontractor chains, foreign worker issues, etc.|
In FY2022 we engaged with six suppliers based on the results of the Sustainable Procurement Survey.
Through this we learned that smaller enterprises in particular tend to be behind the curve in how they commit resources to this area.
Going forward, we will continue implementing the initiatives below to highlight the necessity of human rights DD in our supply chain, and provide guidance and assistance where needed.
|Our initiatives||Expected outcomes|
|Company-specific feedback on the Sustainable Procurement Survey results||Objective recognition of own company's strengths and weaknesses|
|Distribution of human rights training material (information on the policies and the Reporting Desk)||Promotion of understanding of the TEPCO group's commitment to respecting human rights|
|Continuous engagement||Enhancement of communication with suppliers, identification of potential risks within our supply chain, and promotion for implementation of human rights due diligence|
|Basic Policy on Procurement|
4. Grievance Mechanism
The TEPCO Group has established both internal and external grievance mechanisms to respond appropriately to human rights-related issues. In addition to ensuring the anonymity of clients or whistleblowers and the confidentiality of the content of their reports, we thoroughly protect the clients or whistleblowers and prohibit unfavorable treatment and retaliation against them.
If it becomes apparent that the TEPCO Group’s operations have caused or were involved in an adverse impact on human rights, we will engage in remediation and redress through appropriate procedures and dialogues.
Primary Consultation and Reporting Contacts for Human Rights
|No.||Name||Availability||Format of consultation||Open to|
|1||External||On our website (Reports are posted)||All stakeholders|
|2||Human Rights Consultation Desk||Internal||Officers and employees of TEPCO HD and its core operating companies|
|External||phone (Accepted on holidays / after-hours)|
|3||Corporate Ethics Consultation Desk||Internal||e-mail, phone (Currently suspended), intranet, postal mail||All persons currently and previously involved in the operations of the TEPCO Group|
|4||Working Hours Consultation Desk||Internal||phone, intranet|
|5||Internal||On our website (Reports are posted)||Suppliers involved in material and equipment procurement|
Flow of Response to Consultations and Whistleblower Reports
Response System for Consultation and Whistleblower Reports
Number of consultations/reports handled (FY2021-2022)
power harassment refers to workplace bullying or abuse of authority.
Breakdown of service users (FY2022)
Disciplinary actions for harassment are prescribed in our rules of employment. Our preventive measures include raising employee awareness by periodically posting information on the intranet regarding disciplinary actions taken. Of the cases handled through our human rights consultation/whistleblowing mechanism, disciplinary action was taken against two cases in FY2021, and none in FY2022.
5. Stakeholder Engagement
We strive to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders, including workers’ representatives, suppliers and other business partners, and local communities, so that we can understand and respond to the human rights-related impacts of the TEPCO Group’s operations from the perspective of the affected stakeholders. We also refer to the opinions of external experts.
We recognize that the working conditions and safety of contractors are human rights issues peculiar to our industry. Through interviews, we will deepen our understanding of the situation and take further action.
6. Information Disclosure
We use our website (this webpage) and other channels to periodically disclose information about the process of efforts made based on the Policy and results of assessments on their effectiveness.
We will also disclose our efforts on sources such as the Integrated Report and Corporate Governance Report.
7. Information Dissemination/Education on the Policy
The TEPCO Group provides appropriate education and training to all officers and employees so that the Policy permeates the company. We will also not only incorporate this policy into related policies, procedures, and tasks to properly embed it in our operations, but also work on building the capability of individuals in charge of human rights DD for the effective implementation of human rights DD. Moreover, we will strive to respect human rights throughout the supply chain by thoroughly communicating the contents of the Policy to our business partners, including suppliers.
Commitment of Top Management
Other Human Rights Trainings Held in FY2022
|Officers (incl. Group companies)||Training led by an external lecturer on how companies can meet expectations for respecting human rights in their business activities||Jan. 1, 2023||370|
|Employees||Workplace-level trainings led by local managers and the HRC for HD, using tools such as the human rights training manual developed by the HD Human Rights Committee||Apr. 1, 2022 - Mar. 31, 2023||23,184|
|New hires||Apr. 12, 2022
Apr. 4-6, 2022
|Consolidated subsidiaries||Trainings on human rights, discrimination, various types of harassment, and other topics, provided at the subsidiaries upon request and led by lectures from TEPCO HD||Upon request||2,000|
Creative Approaches for Enhancing Sensitivity to Respect for Human Rights
Launching on the intranet a portal site on respect for human rights (July 2022)
Establishing an emblem of respect for human rights and using pictograms
Emblem of respect for human rights
Human rights are inherent rights for people to live happily and humanly with dignity.
The TEPCO Group respects human rights, and this mindset underlies our operation.
This emblem likens our consideration for others to an image of a heart, and represents our respect for the human rights of all stakeholders.
Pictograms representing respect for human rights
These pictograms are created by the TEPCO Human Rights Committee with the hope that human rights will be respected in all aspects of our business.
Responding to Discrimination (Buraku discrimination issue)
In addition to the above efforts, the TEPCO Group has long been committed to taking action on discrimination against Buraku people and other groups. We continue to do so through responses based on the Policy.
Responding to Discriminatory Graffiti
Discriminatory graffiti is sometimes found on the TEPCO Group’s electric power equipment and other facilities. To avoid becoming complicit in such human rights violations, we established a section in our intranet’s human rights portal site that focuses on how to counter discriminatory graffiti on our facilities. This section provides a manual on specific actions to be taken when such graffiti is discovered, an incident report form, and information on past cases. We take steps to encourage all Group companies to make use of these resources and join in our commitment to swiftly take proper action whenever discriminatory graffiti is discovered.
In line with the Policy, the TEPCO Group fairly screens applicants by respecting their fundamental human rights, so as to ensure equal employment opportunities.
Human Rights Reporting Desk
Access our Human Rights Reporting Desk, which is open to our stakeholders, from the link below.
Human Rights Reporting Desk
TEPCO HD has a Human Rights Reporting Desk open not only to employees but also to all other stakeholders, including our customers, local community members, clients, and people who work in the supply chain.
When we receive a whistleblowing report, the responsible division will investigate, consider a remedial measure, and request related departments to remedy the situation.
We protect the privacy of the whistleblower and prohibit retaliatory acts. Further, TEPCO never subjects whistleblowers to disadvantageous treatment for making reports.
Whistleblowing report handling
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