Created in partnership with the Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights

Suntory Holdings

Improving Working Conditions and Fighting Forced Labour with SEDEX

The Japan-based global beverage producer Suntory Holdings joined SEDEX, the ethical trade membership organization, in June 2019 in order to strengthen its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) management. Since joining the platform, Suntory Holdings has been engaging tier 1 suppliers globally and encouraging them to join SEDEX and complete the SEDEX Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) as a first step in conducting a risk assessment.

Membership in SEDEX has enabled Suntory to level up its responsible sourcing programme quickly by using a common set of tools and standards to collaborate with suppliers while streamlining the sharing of data. Suntory’s responsible sourcing strategy aims to manage both potential and actual risk and resolve those risks at supplier sites in a timely manner, hence enabling the protection of workers in their global supply chain and fighting forced labour.

As of October 2021, more than 650 suppliers and 1,000 manufacturing sites globally were linked to Suntory on SEDEX, representing more than 70% of its direct category purchases. Suntory has obtained risk scores for over 900 sites and SMETA audit data for nearly 500 sites. By analyzing these data, Suntory is able to identify suppliers with high “potential risk” and those with “actual risk” respectively. Suntory will continue to leverage SEDEX as well as other initiatives (industry collaboration, etc.) in order to promote social compliance and tackle human rights risks.