Rakuten’s Materiality

In order to situate our sustainability action plan in line with the expectations of our stakeholders and of society as a whole, in 2017 we reviewed our materiality. That is, the key issues that Rakuten has a responsibility to address in order to realize long-term business growth that contributes to the realization of a sustainable society.

Identification Process

Step 1

Using international benchmarks, such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we established a list of 33 potential Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns related to the business activities and culture of the Rakuten Group.

Step 2

For each concern, employees, business partners, such as Rakuten merchants, and users of our services evaluated Rakuten’s degree of responsibility for addressing each concern (i.e., the importance to stakeholders). At the same time, our upper management evaluated the relevance and importance of these concerns to Rakuten.


The survey results identified 16 issues of high priority to both our stakeholders and upper management.

  • Safety and quality
    1. Data security and customer privacy
    2. Service accessibility and affordability
    3. Service safety and quality
  • Responsible practices
    1. Anti-competitive practice prevention 
    2. Responsible information usage
      (labeling, marketing) 
    3. Sustainable consumption behaviors
    4. Responsible supply chain
  • Talent attraction and development
    1. Diversity and equality
    2. Skill development and benefits
    3. Workplace safety
  • Environment protection
    1. Packaging
    2. Climate change
    3. Biological diversity
  • Local communities
    1. Entrepreneurship and innovation
    2. Disaster relief
    3. Future generations

Four most important concerns

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    Data security and customer privacy

    The Rakuten Group collects and uses customers’ personal data in its various services, and protecting our data and customers' privacy is of utmost importance to us.

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    Responsible marketing and information usage

    As the Rakuten Group is providing a wide range of services from EC to financial services over the Internet, providing information responsibly is essential.

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    Anti-competitive practice prevention

    The Rakuten Group is committed to fair and ethical business practices. We strive at all times to establish and maintain high ethical standards together with our business partners.

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    Service Safety and Quality

    At the Rakuten Group we strive to improve the quality, safety, reliability, legality, usefulness and convenience of our products and services in order to maximize customer satisfaction.

In addition to ensuring high ethical and quality standards in all our business practices, attracting and developing a talented workforce is a key aspect of our long-term success.
Protection of the natural environment is another concern that the Rakuten Group should reflect in all its actions and reporting. In addition, our social contribution activities, especially support for future generations and for disaster-hit areas, are important aspects of local community empowerment initiatives.

2018 progress

Material issues Objectives Progress as of end 2018

Data security and customer privacy

  • Maintain high ethical standards and ensure thorough compliance with all applicable laws and regulations all time.
  • Maintain appropriate information security management system.
  • Raise awareness of information security and privacy among group employees.
  • Set standards and regulations based on ISO/IEC 27001 which covers 12,000 employees at 15 group companies globally.
  • Information security & privacy related training conducted twice, with approximately 14,000 employees participating.

Service safety and quality

  • Monitor customers' satisfaction.
  • Address causes of dissatisfaction.
  • NPS and VoC regularly analyzed and monitored from various customer touchpoints.
  • Wide variety of both online and classroom-based e-commerce courses provided to Rakuten Ichiba merchants.

Anti-competitive practice prevention

  • Maintain high ethical standards and ensure thorough compliance with all applicable laws and regulations all time, including Competition Act.
  • Compliance trainings conducted to ensure that our businesses are complying with laws and regulations.

Responsible information usage

  • Ensure thorough compliance with all applicable laws and regulations all time, including Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations.
  • Introduce programs to prevent false advertising and misleading product / service labels.
  • Introduced system to impose penalty for inappropriate labelling and marketing.
  • Periodical investigations conducted to ensure that shops on "Rakuten Ichiba" are complying with rules related to labelling and marketing.
  • Reporting channel to notify inappropriate labelling and pricing publicly available.

Sustainable consumption behaviors

  • Open platform promoting sustainable consumption with large scale.
  • Increase awareness of sustainable consumption among consumers.
  • Launch of "EARTH MALL with Rakuten" inside "Rakuten Ichiba" where sustainable products with international certifications are introduced.
  • No. of products on EARTH MALL with Rakuten: 11,746 as of March 2019.

Responsible supply chain

  • Conduct risk assessment for suppliers, develop capacity building program for those suppliers identified as not meeting expectations.
  • Drafting of supplier policy (under development) for introduction of due diligence and risk assessment as a next step.

Diversity and equality

  • Increase % of female managers.
  • Maintain employment rate for people with disabilities higher than the legal requirement.
  • Manager gender ratio: Male 79%, Female 21%.
  • Ratio of employees with disabilities in 2018: 2.01%.
  • Selected as a constituent of MSCI Japan Empowering Women Index (WIN).
  • Gold Level in PRIDE Index of “Work with Pride”, organization promoting LGBT diversity-management initiatives in Japan.

Skill development and benefits

  • Shift from e-learning training to classroom programs.
  • Introduce 1on1 meeting for competency development and fostering mutual trust between managers and their members.
  • Average hours of classroom training provided per employee: +10h.
  • % of staff holding 1on1: 81.1%.
  • 1on1 meeting satisfaction rate in 2018: 80.4%.

Workplace safety

  • Main work environment safety.
  • Improve employees' wellbeing.
  • Employee fatalities has been 0 since 2016.
  • Chief Health Officer position created to supervise health and safety related matters across Group.

Climate change

  • Better understand environmental impact.
  • Introduce impact mitigation plans.
  • Publication of CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2) in annual report for first time.
  • Answered CDP survey.
  • Improvement of one-time delivery rate by 3.36% since 2017 in test population.

Biological diversity

  • Better understand environmental impact.
  • Introduce impact mitigation plans.
  • Promotion of production certifications protecting biodviersity inside "EARTH MALL with Rakuten"

Entrepreneurship and innovation

  • Support entrepreneurship and innovation leveraging Rakuten's assets.
  • Launch of Rakuten Social Accelerator, with 6 organizations supported.

Disaster relief

  • Respond to disaster incidents quickly.
  • Clutch Special Charity Fund launched 4 times, total amount: JPY158,099,415.
  • Establishment of volunteer leave system for disaster relief.

Future generations

  • Empower future generation leveraging Rakuten's assets.
  • Develop leadership and taste for IT of future generation.
  • "Rakuten IT School" transformed to "Rakuten IT School NEXT", aiming to solve issues encountered by local communities. 137 high school students at 10 schools.
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