Respect for Human Rights

Fundamental Approach

In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council announced its "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights" aimed at improving relevant standards and practices. Among the stated principles is "the responsibility of companies to respect human rights." As an initiative in line with this principle, the AGC Group created a definition of "respect for people" in the AGC Group Charter of Corporate Behavior. In the unlikely event that a human rights or labor relations issue does arise, it is dealt with jointly by the human resources department and the workplace in question. Furthermore, the Group takes claims made through the company website, etc. by persons internal or external to the Group seriously, and responds appropriately.

In order to ascertain the state of human rights and labor practices within the AGC Group, voluntary human rights and labor practice inspections are periodically implemented at Group companies in and outside Japan. Most recently, in 2013, these inspections were performed at a total of 189 companies, and necessary actions were promptly taken based on the results. In the future, the AGC Group will update checklist content based on social trends and implement the inspections every three years (with the next scheduled to take place in 2016), working as a whole towards the observance of human rights and appropriate labor practices.

In addition, it is important to promote initiatives regarding the resolution of social issues, including human rights, in cooperation with the supply chain as a whole, including business partners. The AGC Group implements a supplier CSR survey in order to gauge the implementation status of business partners’ CSR activities, including human rights initiatives.

Initiatives Regarding Human Rights Due Diligence

Since 2014, in order to examine ways of promoting human rights due diligence, the AGC Group has participated in the Human Rights Due Diligence Workshop (Stakeholder Engagement ProgramOpen New Window) hosted by Caux Round Table Japan (CRT), a nonprofit organization.

In this program, practical discussions are conducted with a focus on identifying material issues related to human rights by industry. Using multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation, participants learn how to identify and manage the human rights issues relevant to their own companies. Progress on these initiatives is announced at forums such as the international conference hosted by OHCHR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.)

In 2015, the Group discussed important human rights issues in the chemical and construction material industries with other companies in these sectors, while receiving guidance from NGO/NPO representatives and academics. Moreover, the Group determined issues meriting particular consideration among the human rights challenges established by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

Important Human Rights Issues in the Chemical and Construction Material Industries

Core operation/
Supply chain
Workplace conditions Working hours
Health and safety
Disciplinary measures
Discrimination During work
Redundancy and dismissal
Forced or compulsory labour Deposits and papers
Forced overtime
Trafficking in human
Freedom of association Freedom of association and collective bargaining
Conflict with local law
Community Resources Use of natural resources
Society and government Relations with governments Bribery and corruption
Gov’ts with poor human rights records
Relations with consumers Health and safety

Measures to Deal with Human Rights Issues and Harassment (AGC Asahi Glass)

At AGC Asahi Glass, the Human Rights Office and the General Affairs Division Compliance Group work together to provide employees with a work environment that is free from discrimination or harassment, providing compliance training programs and preventing harassment. For early detection of problems, AGC Asahi Glass has set up both internal and external contacts such as a help line for employees to seek advice with ease of mind. In the event a problem occurs at the workplace, we will address it not only as an individual issue, counseling the person violated, but also as an organization issue for the workplace where the problem arose.

In regard to issues of harassment, we hold preventative stratified seminars and workplace dialogue meetings. We also encourage employees to seek advice as early as possible if they encounter any form of harassment.

AGC Flat Glass Czech A.S.

AGC Flat Glass Czech Recognized for Social Responsibility Initiatives

SA 8000 certification form

SA 8000 certification form

In May 2011, AGC Flat Glass Czech A.S. (AFCZ) newly acquired SA 8000, a global social accountability standard for decent working conditions. The Certification was performed for all of AFCZ’s operations, including five manufacturing plants and a company service center, which collectively employ nearly 1,000 employees. SA 8000 certification indicates that AFCZ gives appropriate attention to worker health and safety and ensures suitable work-life balance and conditions for employee development. By acquiring SA 8000, AFCZ vows to oppose human rights violations, child labor and forced labor.

Recognizing the value of having its social responsibility activities assessed by third parties, AFCZ renewed its SA 8000 certification in 2014. Moreover, by voluntarily following the principles of good management under SA 8000, AFCZ believes that it gains a competitive advantage in today’s business environment and inspires confidence in its stakeholders, including customers, investors and local communities. With this in mind, AFCZ made the necessary preparations for certification, including training staff and modifying contracts with suppliers.

In 2015, AFCZ was selected for the Social Responsibility Award, given to companies that take care of their employees beyond legal requirements and contribute to regional development by evaluating their corporate transparency and environmental responsibility. The company has previously been awarded Best Employer of the Ústí Region and has also been designated the third best employer in the Czech Republic. Looking ahead, AFCZ will continue their social responsibility initiatives, and explore the feasibility of extending the SA 8000 certification to other group companies in Central Europe.

AFCZ Believes it is a Competitive Advantage as a Company to Show Improvements in the Working Environment

Libor Sehnal, HR Manager AGC Flat Glass Czech A.S.

Libor Sehnal
HR Manager
AGC Flat Glass Czech A.S.

There were a number of tough steps leading up to our SA 8000 certification. First there was staff training, including an internal auditor, then the final adaptations of documents, including modifications of contractual relationships with suppliers. Although we voluntarily adhere to principles of good management, certification according to SA 8000 may represent a competitive advantage in the eyes of the society. In the future, we’re considering extending the certification to other Group companies in Central Europe.

Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining

The AGC Group complies with each country and region’s laws and regulations and respects international norms of behavior regarding freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.

For example, the employees’ union organized at AGC Asahi Glass, the Asahi Glass Labor Union, and AGC Asahi Glass works to maintain and strengthen healthy labor-management relations. In labor-management negotiations, both the labor and management sides take a logical and reasonable attitude to solve problems through discussion. The labor union negotiates with the management on working and other conditions for its members.

In addition to open communication on a daily basis, the union management and directors of AGC Asahi Glass have a meeting on the entire business management at least twice a year.

Data about the Labor Union (AGC Asahi Glass)

FY Number of members (Note 1) Average age Average length of service
2011 4,215 38.1 15 years and 6 months
2012 4,245 37.4 14 years and 6 months
2013 4,121 37.8 14 years and 8 months
2014 3,955 38.9 15 years and 11 months
2015 3,815 39.6 16 years and 10 months
  • (Note 1) AGC Asahi Glass adopts a union shop system under its labor agreement.

AGC Automotive (Thailand)

Thailand's Best Practice Workplace on Labor Relations and Labor Welfare Award Won for 12th Consecutive Year

In 2015, AGC Automotive (Thailand) (AATH) won a Best Practice Workplace on Labor Relations and Labor Welfare Award from the Thai Ministry of Labor. The government annually chooses award winners by sending officials from the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare. This is AATH’s 12th consecutive win since 2004.

Following assessment by government officers and professionals from the private sector—including interviews of both management and employees—the award is given to companies with exemplary labor relations and welfare frameworks. Five companies in Chonburi, Thailand received the highest award, and AATH was one of them.

At AATH, management and employee representatives strive for mutual understanding by staying in close communication. This relationship of trust and open collaboration—supported by sound leadership—is the key to the company’s continued success in receiving the award.

Looking ahead, AATH will continue to improve employee relations through two-way communication activities and has adopted the slogan “We Are One Team” to reflect its ongoing efforts to maintain positive labor relations. Through these initiatives, AATH aspires to win their 13th consecutive award in 2016.

Award ceremony (2015)

Award ceremony (2015)

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