- Responsible Business Alliance
- Promoting CSR Procurement
- Procurement Policy/CSR Procurement Standards
- Policy on the Responsible Procurement of Minerals
- Efforts in the Brother Group to Practice the Responsible Procurement of Minerals
- CSR Procurement Level-up Program
- Data Related to CSR Procurement
- Promoting CSR Activities at Suppliers in Part Through Workplace Visits and the Selection of Outstanding CSR Activities
The Brother Group is promoting CSR procurement on a global scale and strengthening its commitment toward "Pursuing a responsible value chain" as stated in the materiality.
Responsible Business Alliance
Since Brother Industries, Ltd. (BIL) joined the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) in January 2019, we have been strengthening our supply chain risk assessment and the implementation system for corrective actions based on the assessment results in the areas of labor, health and safety, environment, ethics, and management systems, including respect for human rights, as stated by the RBA in its Code of Conduct. Brother Industries (Vietnam) Ltd. conducted a self-assessment based on RBA requirements together with its suppliers. In 2022, it became the first manufacturing facility of the Brother Group to undergo an on-site audit by the RBA and attained RBA Gold certification. The Brother Group continues to implement activities such as the above to ensure compliance with RBA requirements at its manufacturing facilities, and is expanding the number of facilities subject to self-assessment according to the business risks at each manufacturing facility.
Promoting CSR Procurement
The Brother Group makes its "Procurement Policy" and "CSR Procurement Standards" publicly available and shares its CSR procurement concept with parts and materials suppliers. The policy and standards cover a wide range of fields, including human rights and labor, the rights to organize and bargain collectively, safety and health, global environmental protection, fair trade and ethics, product quality and safety, raw materials, information security, and social contribution. The Brother Group complies with local laws and regulations and supports workers' collective bargaining rights by conducting collective negotiations and respecting communication between management and employees on working conditions and management practices.
In addition, the Brother Group is also implementing initiatives for the responsible procurement of minerals, such as conducting a mineral procurement survey and establishing a working group to confirm that mineral resources that are mined in conflict-affected and high-risk areas*, and may be involved in violation of human rights, violation of labor rights, environmental degradation, etc. are not used.
Furthermore, the Brother Group has established and is implementing the "CSR Procurement Level-up Program." We explain the "CSR Procurement Standards" and the "RBA Code of Conduct" to our suppliers, request their compliance with the standards, as well as ask them to sign consent forms. We also request that suppliers regularly cooperate by partaking in our CSR questionnaire and a questionnaire survey on slave (forced) labor with the goal of preventing forced labor, and confirm the status of the shared "Procurement Policy" and "CSR Procurement Standards." We then request suppliers for improvements based on the results of risk assessment using the CSR questionnaire, and audit the progress of the improvements.
- Conflict-affected and high-risk areas: areas with a high risk of armed conflict, violence, and human rights violation
Procurement Policy/CSR Procurement Standards
- The Brother Group acts fairly with all suppliers.
- The Brother Group respects the rules and spirit of laws in all countries and regions where we operate, and builds strong, respectful working relationships with suppliers for mutual growth.
- The Brother Group promotes environmentally friendly "green procurement," and reduces impact on the environment through the lifecycle of its products.
- The Brother Group places our customers first everywhere, every time, while remaining committed to delivering high quality products and services at reasonable costs.
- The Brother Group considers human rights violation, labor rights violation, environmental degradation, etc. in mining and trade of minerals as very important social issues, and will take proactive approaches toward the responsible procurement of minerals.
CSR procurement standards
The Brother Group procures products and services from business partners that adhere to the following guidelines:
- Respect for Human Rights and Prohibition of Discrimination
Respect fundamental human rights of all people, and do not discriminate by race, nationality, gender, religion or creed. Understand the Brother Group Human Rights Global Policy, establish your own company policies of the same standard, and have your employees strictly follow them.
- Prohibition of Child Labor and Forced Labor
Do not enforce unfair labor practices and illegal labor of children at any production stage.
- Appropriate Management of Working Conditions and Prevention of Overwork.
Appropriately manage employees' working conditions including working hours in accordance with local labor laws and regulations, and prevent overwork with consideration for employees' health such as by providing adequate rest days.
- Guarantee of Minimum Wage
Pay wages higher than the legal minimum in accordance with local labor laws and regulations, and do not reduce wages unfairly.
- Guarantee of Freedom of Association and Support for Collective Bargaining Rights
Respect the rights of employees to associate freely with others and join or not join the association as a means to facilitate consultation between labor and management over working conditions, working environment, wage levels, etc. In addition, support collective bargaining rights and hold sincere consultations and discussions with employees.
Safety and Health
- Health and Safety Conscious working Environment
Ensure the safety and health of employees and act to create a comfortable working environment.
- Environmental Consciousness
Take proactive measures to protect the global environment. Comply with the Environmental Supplier Guideline.
- Legal Compliance
Respect the rules and spirit of laws, and act fairly with the highest integrity.
- Adequate Information Management
Have a framework for managing information in place, and keep personal information and confidential information secure.
- Responsible Procurement of Minerals
To promote the responsible procurement of minerals, it is strongly suggested to avoid the use of minerals mined or traded in conflict-affected and high-risk areas, which may be involved in human rights violation, labor rights violation, environmental degradation, etc., as raw materials in reference to the Policy on the Responsible Procurement of Minerals.
- Provision of Superior Quality
Work on building a framework for delivering safe, high quality products and services to customers who use our products and services.
- Continuous Improvement of Activities
Use CSR procurement questionnaires, surveys and any other various explanatory materials provided by us to engage in continuous, PDCA-oriented improvement efforts in fulfilling societal demands.
Contribution to Sustainable Society
- Social Contribution in Consideration of Communities and the Environment
Make efforts to become a good corporate citizen through social contribution activities while sharing our social, economic and cultural resources in communities and considering the global environment.
Request for Cooperation to Business Partners
- Request for Cooperation to Your Business PartnersRequest your business partners to cooperate with our efforts to fulfill social responsibilities from the viewpoints of legal compliance, human rights, labor, safety and health, environment, ethics, management system, etc. stated in these CSR Procurement Standards (including any policies, guidelines, documents, etc. cited in the Standards and/or separately provided to you; hereinafter the same shall apply in this section) at the same level as the Standards, as well as establish any process to check the status of your business partners' initiatives at the request of the Brother Group.
Policy on the Responsible Procurement of Minerals
A part of the minerals (tantalum, tin, gold and tungsten, cobalt, mica, etc.) mined in conflict-affected and high-risk areas, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and adjoining countries are some sources of funds for local armed groups, and there are concerns that transactions for such minerals may promote conflicts and involve matters such as human rights violations, labor issues and environmental degradation problems.
In promoting management with an emphasis on sustainability, the Brother Group recognizes the human rights violation, labor rights violation, environmental degradation, etc. in mining and trade of those minerals as important social issues.
To implement responsible procurement of minerals, the Brother Group carries out surveys on the use of aforementioned conflict minerals and will steadily undertake efforts toward ensuring transparency of mineral procurement in the supply chain and avoiding the use of conflict minerals while cooperating with suppliers.
Efforts in the Brother Group to Practice the Responsible Procurement of Minerals
To promote responsible procurement of minerals across the Brother Group's entire supply chain, we are undertaking the following initiatives according to a five-step framework based on the "Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas" issued by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
For the Brother Group’s approach to the responsible procurement of minerals, we have examined systems and methods to engage in the responsible procurement of minerals since 2014 and have been carrying out conflict minerals surveys on tantalum, tin, gold, and tungsten (3TG) targeting suppliers since 2016. Currently, we have established a working group overseen by the Executive Officer in charge of CSR, in which related business units including those in charge of purchasing, law, and CSR affairs participate, as well as the "Work Standard" for mineral procurement surveys to practice the responsible procurement of minerals in a comprehensive manner. In addition, training is conducted for members in the working group and staff in the procurement and quality control departments responsible for the survey on the responsible procurement of minerals to improve their understanding of our mineral procurement survey initiatives.
The Brother Group has been carrying out a mineral procurement survey once a year targeting suppliers that supply materials or parts used in the Group's products. In this survey, the Group uses the Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) provided by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI)*1 to verify the content of the target minerals, identify smelters or refiners (SOR) in the supply chain of the Brother Group, and confirm the state of efforts made by each supplier toward the responsible procurement of minerals. Based on the information on SORs included in the Brother Group's supply chain identified as a result of the survey and other information, we conduct a risk assessment for each supplier.
Based on the results of risk assessment, we ask suppliers that use SORs expected to be of concern to take appropriate responses, including requiring suppliers to conduct reconfirmation of SOR and avoid use of SORs with concerns.
Furthermore, the Brother Group also requests that suppliers understand the Group’s stances through means such as the CSR Procurement Standards and supplier explanatory meetings, and work on responsible procurement activities for minerals.
As a corporate member of RBA and RMI, Brother Group supports the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process (RMAP) audits conducted by RMI, and cooperates with the industry to improve activities regarding mineral procurement surveys, and promotes responsible mineral procurement on a global basis in its supply chain.
Brother Group's commitment to the responsible procurement of minerals is disclosed annually on our website and in the Integrated Report.
The Brother Group carried out the annual mineral procurement survey on 3TG in 2021 and obtained answers from more than 95% of the targeted suppliers. The Group will make ongoing efforts to obtain answers from all of such suppliers.
The Group also appropriately answered and dealt with inquiries from customers about the conflict minerals survey by means such as the submission of CMRT.
|Number of identified SOR||318||38||75||51||173||337|
|Number of CFS*2 certified SOR||255||37||59||47||107||250|
|Percentage of CFS*2 certified SOR||80%||97%||79%||92%||62%||74%|
The Brother Group has undergone Validated Assessment Program (VAP) audits by the RBA at its manufacturing facilities, and the following facilities that underwent VAP audits in 2022 met the required standards based on the RBA Code of Conduct (D. Ethics 7. Responsible Sourcing of Minerals).
|Group company||Country||Main products manufactured|
|Brother Industries (Vietnam) Ltd.||Vietnam||Printers and All-in-Ones|
- Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI): An organization that promotes the responsible procurement of minerals globally in cooperation with companies.
- Conflict-Free Smelter (CFS): Smelter or refinery that has been certified through audit as not using conflict minerals.
CSR Procurement Level-up Program
Developed CSR Procurement Level-up Program
In FY2020, the Brother Group developed our CSR Procurement Level-up Program to improve CSR procurement at our suppliers. This program comprises the three steps given below, and repeatedly conducting these steps helps to improve the level of CSR procurement at each supplier.
Suppliers are requested to understand and comply with Brother's CSR Procurement Standards. Agreement by suppliers to promote activities is confirmed by obtaining their signatures on consent forms.
The state of compliance with the CSR Procurement Standards is confirmed through self-checks using the CSR questionnaire. Risk assessment of suppliers is conducted based on the responses to the CSR questionnaire.
Suppliers that have risks discovered as a result of the evaluation are requested to make improvements while communicating with them such as through meetings. The state of improvement is confirmed, and support for improvement activities are provided through means such as audits and monitoring.
This program is being deployed not only for existing suppliers but also new ones. For existing suppliers, based on the evaluation results about the state of compliance with the CSR Procurement Standards, areas of improvement are clarified for each supplier, the results are given as feedback to the suppliers, and they are requested to make improvements. For new transactions, compliance with the CSR Procurement Standards is confirmed so that CSR procurement is carried out even more steadily in the future. Through this program, the Brother Group seeks to further improve the level of CSR procurement together with suppliers.
Results of the CSR Procurement Level-up Program
STEP1: Understanding and agreement; Activities to promote awareness of the CSR Procurement Standards and the RBA Code of Conduct
CSR Procurement Standards supplementary explanation
In FY2020, we developed a supplementary explanation about the Brother Group's CSR Procurement Standards and started activities to get suppliers to sign consent forms. The supplementary explanation gives the background to the formulation of the CSR Procurement Standards, specifically stating clearly that it was developed with reference to the RBA Code of Conduct, and also states the requests and matters for cooperation being sought from suppliers. The supplementary explanation of the CSR Procurement Standards as well as consent forms were sent to suppliers within Japan and overseas to obtain their understanding about the Brother Group's CSR Procurement Standards, from which we received agreement from 480 suppliers. In addition, we also explain the CSR Procurement Standards when starting new transactions to obtain understanding and cooperation. These activities were continued in FY2021, with 630 suppliers giving their consent.
In addition, since FY2022, we have been conducting activities to request that suppliers at our manufacturing facilities (Printing & Solutions (P&S) Business) understand the RBA Code of Conduct and sign consent forms.
Supplier explanatory meetings
In April 2021, we held an explanatory meeting online for suppliers at P&S manufacturing facilities in Japan, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. There were 680 people from 380 companies that participated in the meeting. We worked to thoroughly make our CSR Procurement Standards common knowledge among our suppliers. In addition, at each of these meetings, we gave explanations to suppliers about the activities based on the CSR Procurement Level-up Program.
At the explanatory meetings, we requested that suppliers "fully comply with laws and ordinances," "comply with the CSR Procurement Standards," "revise the CSR questionnaire in FY2021," and take a "questionnaire survey on forced labor." In addition, we explained the fortification of risk management response while reviewing the handling of COVID-19. Suppliers that participated in the explanatory meetings voiced their consent of the Brother CSR Procurement Policy. These are some of the comments we received—"We recognized the importance of working environment and ethics in addition to the traditional aspects of environment, safety, and health as well as the necessity for activities across the supply chain;" "In global management, efforts toward CSR procurement will definitely improve the social position of companies and we will also consider our activity policy;" and "We think that Brother's CSR procurement efforts are extremely good activities for improving corporate value, and we will also actively cooperate in your activities."
In April 2022, we held similar online explanatory meetings at P&S production facilities in Japan, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In addition to the CSR Procurement Standards, we also explained the RBA Code of Conduct in the meetings in 2022, which were attended by 814 people from 478 companies.
Training sessions with suppliers
In FY2021, training sessions on the SDGs, the RBA Code of Conduct, and the CSR Procurement Standards were held in China and Vietnam, attended by a total of 282 people from 143 companies, with the aim of informing suppliers of the Brother Group's CSR procurement initiatives. In particular, the training sessions in Vietnam utilized online platforms to enable a greater number of suppliers to participate.
At the training session, the RBA Code of Conduct and the Brother Group's CSR Procurement Standards were explained, and group discussions were held on topics such as human rights and labor, where participants shared their insights on multiple topics and supplier cases.
During the group discussion, the suppliers shared the activities that are implemented at each company such as, "We have a policy on forced labor, which is posted on a bulletin board in the company." "Employees are given a booklet on human rights." and "We have an internal anonymous reporting system, which includes an opinion box and a hotline. The opinion box is checked once a week." Also, we received comments by the suppliers who participated in the training session such as, "Through the training session, I was able to better understand the RBA Code of Conduct, and I would like to share the information about the RBA with my employees," "The group discussion was informative as I learned about good practices from other companies." and "Brother's staff explained about RBA to us enthusiastically."
We will continue to promote the Brother Group's CSR Procurement Standards and RBA Code of Conduct to as many suppliers as possible through training sessions such as this and other efforts.
STEP2: Confirmation of compliance and assessment; Conduct of CSR questionnaire and risk assessment of suppliers
The Brother Group implements CSR questionnaire activities on a two-year cycle for suppliers in China, Vietnam and the Philippines, where the manufacturing facilities of the P&S are located. In FY2020, we revised our CSR questionnaire to confirm the state of compliance with the CSR Procurement Standards and RBA Code of Conduct at our suppliers. The revised CSR questionnaire comprises questions in the five areas of labor, safety and health, the environment, ethics, and management systems, and the state of efforts at suppliers is confirmed through self-checks. For example, in the area of labor, the items being checked include the absence of forced labor and child labor and compliance with local labor laws and regulations.
In FY2021, we conducted a revised CSR questionnaire with 100 major suppliers in China and the Philippines to conduct a risk assessment. As a result, we identified nine high-risk suppliers.
Together with the CSR questionnaire, we also send questions about global environmental conservation to confirm the state of efforts at our suppliers regarding their activities to reduce greenhouse gases. We ask suppliers to provide numerical values, such as the greenhouse gas emissions produced by their company (in terms of CO2-equivalent emissions) and the amount of water withdrawal. Some suppliers also set their reduction targets in these categories and report on the degree of achievement of the targets.
Evaluation criteria for CSR questionnaire
|Low risk||85 pts. or higher||Meets the "CSR Procurement Standards" requested by Brother|
|Moderate risk||65 to 84 pts.||Some areas require improvement,
but voluntary improvements can be made.
|High risk||64 pts. or lower||Has areas that require improvement,
and needs immediate improvement and monitoring.
STEP3: Improvement activities and audits; Conduct of CSR procurement audits
Improvement activities at suppliers
We request improvement and review the results of improvement activities from suppliers that are found to have risks in the CSR questionnaire. In FY2021, we provided feedback on the evaluation results to all suppliers that completed the CSR questionnaire, and conducted individual interviews with suppliers according to the evaluation results, requesting improvement and reviewing the results of improvement activities from suppliers that were found to have risks. For those suppliers that were found to be at risk, we requested them to make improvements and confirmed the results.
CSR Procurement audit activities
Besides requesting improvements from suppliers with risks discovered through the CSR questionnaire, we have also built a system where the Brother Group auditors conduct CSR procurement audits on suppliers' manufacturing facilities and get them to rectify any nonconformities that are discovered. In FY2021, we conducted online audits of three of our nine suppliers identified as high risk based on the assessment results of the CSR questionnaire. One supplier in Vietnam and two suppliers in the Philippines were audited in the areas of labor, ethics, and health and safety, and were asked to take corrective action for areas of nonconformity.
Through these activities, the Brother Group seeks compliance with the Procurement Policy and CSR Procurement Standards together with our suppliers.
Data Related to CSR Procurement
|Procurement Policy and CSR Procurement Standards||Established in 2008|
|Green Procurement||Started in 2001|
|Supplier meeting||Participated in by 372 companies and approximately 670 individuals in total||Participated in by 460 companies and approximately 900 individuals in total||Conducted online
Participated in by 217 people from 129 companies
Participated in by 680 people from 380 companies
|Conducted every three years since 2012 until 2018|
|Conducted every two years since 2020|
Promoting CSR Activities at Suppliers in Part Through Workplace Visits and the Selection of Outstanding CSR Activities
Implementing questionnaires on supplier CSR activities and visits to supplier companies at each manufacturing facility; Selected six Outstanding CSR Suppliers in China from submitted entries
Aiming to further promote the CSR activities of its suppliers, the Brother Group has been conducting questionnaire surveys about their CSR efforts and, selecting and honoring excellent ones since 2015 at its two manufacturing factories of the Machinery business, including Kariya Factory and Brother Machinery Xian Co., Ltd.
In FY2020, questionnaire surveys were implemented from August to September 2020 in Japan and responses were received from a total of 63 supplier companies. In the questionnaire survey, emphasis was placed on confirming suppliers' degree of understanding about the SDGs and current conditions with the goal of further improving and reinforcing activities at suppliers going forward.
In China, questionnaire surveys on CSR activities were similarly implemented from September to October 2020. We received responses from 51 companies. Furthermore, we asked suppliers to submit examples of their CSR activities. Of the submissions we received from 32 companies, we selected and awarded six outstanding CSR companies. The award-winning suppliers actively conduct various activities—such as passionate development of employees and development of working environments as well as the promotion of business activities with consideration for the environment and social contribution activities for the local communities—and we shared them as outstanding examples.
The local audits on selected suppliers, which was conducted in FY2019, were not conducted to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Brother Group continually strives to develop relations of mutual trust with its business partners and grow together with them to quickly deliver superior value to customers.
FY2020 award-winning company
BROTHER MACHINERY XIAN CO., LTD., Outstanding CSR award
- ZHEJIANG FOUNDER MOTOR CO., LTD.
- ZHUHAI KWUNHING MACHINERY & ELECTRONIC CO., LTD.
- NINGBO WU FENG JI XIE MACHINERY CO., LTD.
- CHONGQING ZERO-ONE PRECISION MACHINERY CO., LTD, CHINA
- FRIEND SEWING SPARES FACTORY OF DONGYANG
- XIANYANG HAILONG SEALED COMPOSITE MATERIALS CO., LTD.