Our People

Respecting Human Rights

Human Rights, Non-Discrimination, and Unjust Labor Initiatives

Epson respects human rights. We work actively to ensure that our business activities around the world are free of any discrimination and unfair labor practices that could potentially occur. This stance is reflected in our participation in the United Nations Global Compact since 2004. Moreover, the Epson Group's Policies regarding Human Rights and Labor Standards, established in 2005, stipulate that we shall respect human rights, prevent all forms of harassment and discrimination, respect local culture and customs, prohibit child and forced labor, and maintain positive labor-management relations. These attitudes are widely disseminated and practiced throughout the Group and disclosed to the public.
Policies regarding Human Rights and Labor Standards aligns with the following internationally recognized standards:

  • The United Nations Global Compact
  • The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
  • ISO 26000
  • ILO Core Labor Standards

Epson also follows the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011), and in April 2019 joined the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA), a coalition dedicated to corporate social responsibility (CSR) in global supply chains. We are actively using RBA practices to evaluate the state and make improvements in line with the RBA Code of Conduct.

Under the supervision of the director and executive officer in charge of human resources, Seiko Epson's human resources department, working in concert with the HR departments of our global affiliates, guides initiatives to prevent human rights abuses, discrimination, and unjust labor practices. Epson has identified human rights risks such as child labor, forced labor, other exploitative labor, workers' rights, labor conditions, discrimination, and harassment as business risks based on the Group's Policies regarding Human Rights and Labor Standards and the RBA Code of Conduct. As such, Seiko Epson and all Epson Group companies conduct an annual CSR assessment to evaluate and mitigate risks related to human rights, discrimination, unfair labor practices, and the like. We are working on these human rights risks throughout the Epson Group because we consider this to be a key CSR theme. We similarly conduct risk assessment and improvement initiatives in our supply chains through the department that supervises socially responsible procurement.

Results of the FY2020 CSR assessment showed that there were no major cases of human rights violations in the form of child labor, forced labor, discrimination, and the like, either at Epson or its Group companies.

Epson has set up the Epson Helpline and various other channels that can be used to report harassment, long working hours, and other concerns involving issues such as human rights, discrimination, and unfair labor. All personnel are regularly notified of disciplinary actions and other actions taken by the company in response to incidents of discrimination, unfair labor, harassment and other human rights abuses to prevent similar incidents in the future. Furthermore, Epson provides a whistleblowing system and support centers for stakeholders including customers, investors, and local communities and responds appropriately to any grievances.

Anti-harassment initiatives

Power Harassment Prevention Training

Epson maintains a harassment hotline to respond to employees' harassment concerns. We have also been actively fostering the development of an organizational culture with zero tolerance for harassment. To achieve a fair and pleasant working environment, we have been providing anti-power harassment training seminars to Epson Group companies since 2014 as a way to prevent and stamp out harassment.
In addition to echelon-based training tailored to executive management, middle management, leaders, and employees preparing to work overseas, respectively started in FY2015, we also provided an online anti-harassment course for all employees, including those in non-management roles, after FY2018.

Anger Management Training

Anger management training is said to be an effective way to prevent so-called power harassment (abuse of authority at work).
Seiko Epson has provided anger management training since 2016 to teach employees skills needed to control feelings of anger at work. Echelon- and department-based anger management training is offered about 70 times a year. An introductory course teaches people the skills they need to defuse their anger and improve their control long-term, while a course in constructive criticism teaches managers and others effective communication skills. More than 7,500 Epson Group employees in Japan have taken a course. By providing its people with the proper training and skills, Epson hopes to eliminate power harassment from the workplace.

Epson Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement

Based on the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018 and the U.S. California Transparency in Supply Chain ACT 2010 (SB 657), Epson discloses the policy for eradicating modern slavery and human trafficking from the supply chain and the situation of Epson as follows:

Human Rights Due Diligence

Epson continually practices human rights due diligence as based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Group companies as well as business partners fall within the scope of this process. Human rights due diligence concerns human rights risks like forced labor, child labor, harassment, and discrimination in value chains connected to the business activities of product development, manufacturing, and sales. The due diligence process seeks to identify and study potential and emerging human rights risks, isolate the problems, and correct, improve, and prevent them.

The human rights due diligence process in Epson's business is as follows.

  1. Establish policies
  2. Identify human rights risks and assess their impact
  3. Plan improvements and stop, prevent, and mitigate negative impacts
  4. Monitor results and progress
  5. Communicate and report
  6. Take remedial action

Specific aspects of human rights due diligence are as follows.

(1) Establishing policies and making commitments

  • The Policies regarding Human Rights and Labor Standards (established 2005)
  • RBA Code of Conduct
  • United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and other international norms and standards

(2) Method of identifying and assessing risks
When we assess human rights risks, we focus particularly on employees, workers, and migrant workers, because of all Epson stakeholders (customers, shareholders and investors, local communities, business partners, NGOs and non-profits, employees, etc.), it is they who should be given greatest priority in terms of human rights.

High-priority groups Impacts/risks of business activities Assessment method
Employees of Seiko Epson Corporation and Epson Group Freedom of employment (forced labor), young workers, working hours, wages and benefits, humane treatment (harassment, etc.), discrimination, freedom of association

RBA-compliant self-assessment

Dispatch workers Same as above Same as above
On-site vendor employees Same as above Same as above
Supplier employees Same as above Same as above
Migrant workers Same as above Same as above

Epson administers a CSR self-assessment questionnaire compliant with the RBA Code of Conduct and SAQ template. We started asking suppliers in turn to fill it out in FY2015 and began asking overseas manufacturing sites to do so in FY2017. Since then, we have continued taking similar annual CSR self-assessment questionnaire of business sites, Group companies in Japan and overseas, and suppliers.

(3) Assessment results, correction, and prevention
Based on the above assessment, we identify places where there may be human rights risks. We direct companies and sites to take action to correct, improve on, and mitigate the identified risks.

Examples of human rights risks we have identified, corrected, or improved on or are acting on:

  • Requiring migrant workers to pay broker and recruitment fees to recruitment agencies
  • Holding migrant workers' passports
  • Agreement process with workers regarding overtime work
  • Long working hours

(4) Monitoring
Epson continues to take CSR self-assessment questionnaire once a year and to confirm improvements being made by companies and sites that do not meet the RBA Code of Conduct. Moreover, major manufacturing sites voluntarily undergo the RBA's Validated Assessment Program (VAP) audit. These assessments help the subject company accurately grasp how well they are conforming to the RBA Code of Conduct and identify issues for correction and improvement.

(5) Communication and reporting
Each year, after the responsible executive officer has reviewed the results and progress of efforts to carry out improvement plans, the findings are disclosed on the web and released as a Sustainability Report. We also report on the Epson Group's global initiatives in our Epson Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement.

(6) Taking remedial action
Epson provides a whistleblowing system and support centers that are particularly geared toward Epson Group employees, dispatch workers, on-site vendor employees, and supplier employees, as well as stakeholders including customers, investors, and local communities. We respond appropriately to any grievances.

CSR Self-assessments by Epson Group Companies

Epson has its all Epson Group plants, offices, and companies around the world to complete a self-assessment questionnaire to evaluate their performance with respect to CSR requirements. The purpose of the SAQ is to identify and address risks and potential threats in areas such as human rights.
Epson joined the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) as a regular member in April 2019 and, in 2020, evaluated the situation in the Epson Group using the RBA self-assessment questionnaire. The questionnaire is based on the RBA Code of Conduct and consists of 400 questions concerning human rights, labor, safety and health, environmental issues, ethics, and management systems. The RBA mandates that manufacturing sites complete a self-assessment. However, Epson uses the same SAQ to also evaluate its sales sites and other plants, offices, and subsidiaries so that all are held to the same standard.

Questionnaire content

Major category
Minor category examples
A: Labor Freely chosen employment, young workers, working hours, wage and benefits, humane treatment, non-discrimination, freedom of association
B: Health and safety Occupational safety, occupational injury and illness, dormitory & canteen, etc.
C: Environmental Environmental permits & reporting, pollution prevention & resource reduction, hazardous materials, wastewater & solid waste, air pollution, energy consumption & greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
D: Ethics Business integrity, intellectual property, fair business, advertising & competition, responsible sourcing of minerals, privacy, etc.
E: Management system Company commitment, management accountability & responsibility, risk assessment & risk management, training, supplier responsibility, etc.

SAQ overview

Items Details
Survey period April - June, 2021
Surver coverage 12 Seiko Epson facilities
8 domestic affiliated companies (6 manufacturing companies and 2 sales companies)
49 overseas subsidiaries (16 manufacturing companies and 33 sales companies)
Questionnaire RBA Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ)
Analysis August  - September, 2021
Corrective action October, 2021 -   Companies will begin taking corrective action
Status check The status of corrective action will be checked by having companies complete another SAQ (planned in FY2022)

Rankings based on SAQ scores

Risk rank Assessed points Explanation
Low risk 86-100 pts. It basically meets the requirements of the RBA Code of Conduct.
Is able to independently correct weaknesses.
Medium risk 66-85 pts. It does not meet all the requirements of the RBA Code of Conduct but is able to independently correct weaknesses.
High risk 65 pts. or less It needs to be monitored based on an improvement plan to meet the requirements of the RBA Code of Conduct.

2021 SAQ results

Risk rank Total score Seiko Epson Japanese affiliated companies Overseas subsidiaries Grand total
Manufacturing Sales and others total Manufacturing Sales and others total
Number of
facilities
% Number of
companies
% Number of
companies
% Number of
companies
% Number of
companies
% Number of
companies
% Number of
companies
% Number of
sites
%
Low risk 86-100 pts. 12 100 5 83 1 50 6 75 12 75 15 45 27 55 45 65
Medium risk 66-85 pts. 0 0 1 17 1 50 2 25 4 25 18 55 22 45 24 35
High risk 65 pts. or less 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  0 0
Total 12 100 6 100 2 100 8 100 16 100 33 100 49 100 69 100

Summary

- All Epson plants, offices, and Group companies were found to be either middle risk or low risk as a result of the CSR self-assessment questionnaire. No serious human rights, compliance or ethics problems were found.
- In the 2020 fiscal year, the Head Office supervisory departments reviewed and revised regulations and standards based on the RBA Code of Conduct and reminded Epson Group business sites of Group policies and Group regulations, as well as of various other rules and guidelines. As a result, the number of sites rated medium risk decreased from 50% to 33%.
- Furthermore, where the 2020 results indicated potential priority non-conformances in the human rights and labor section, we checked the situation at our overseas affiliates and instructed them to take corrective action with respect to the following:
  - Requiring migrant workers to pay broker and recruitment fees to recruitment agencies
  - Agreement process with workers regarding overtime work
  - Long working hours
- In the 2021 fiscal year, we will build further awareness and understanding of Group policies, Group regulations, rules, guidelines and so forth at our business sites, and we will check the content of answers in detail to eliminate potential priority non-conformances and further reduce the number of medium-risk sites.

Security Personnel Trained in Human Rights

Seiko Epson outsources security operations to security companies and asks them to train those employees in human rights policies or procedures. In FY2020 we conducted a CSR self-assessment questionnaire to confirm that thoses suppliers, as well as other suppliers of indirect materials, provided human rights training to those people.