Rakuten's mission since its inception in 1997 has always been the empowerment of people. For nearly three decades, we have built our business with people's
trust and respect. It is thanks to our stakeholders that we are here today, continuing to evolve and empower society.
Our business wouldn't be here without our partners and employees who develop, supply, and operate our products and services - as well as our customers, investors, and local communities. That's why we value all of our stakeholders' rights and conduct our business with integrity. We are committed to ensuring fundamental human rights - for achieving sustainable growth and our corporate mission of contributing to society and empowering people.
At Rakuten, our Sustainability Department works with teams across the company to set, share and implement strategies, engage with stakeholders, and monitor progress for human rights protection. In addition, we founded the Human Rights Subcommittee, meeting bi-monthly to implement and promote our human rights strategies, which is supported at the management level by the Sustainability Committee on a group-wide basis.
The Subcommittee implements initiatives and serves as a forum for sharing internal human rights issues and tracking global trends. The progress and activities of the Human Rights Subcommittee are reported to the Board of Directors through the Sustainability Committee.
Our commitment to human rights, including human rights due diligence process and Rakuten's stance regarding our most salient issues, is formalized in our Group Human Rights Policy here.
Participating organizations in Human Rights Subcommittee:
- Sustainability Dept.
- HR Dept.
- Internal Audit Dept.
- Risk Dept.
- Compliance Dept.
- Internal Companies (Commerce, Ad & Marketing, Communications & Energy, Investment & Incubation, FinTech)
Human Rights Due Diligence
To implement Rakuten's Human Rights Policy, we conduct human rights due diligence as per the UN Guiding Principles. Due Diligence is an ongoing risk management process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for how companies address impacts on human rights. The process consists of four key steps:
Identification and Assessment
For a large-scale group company such as Rakuten that holds a diverse portfolio of businesses, due diligence starts with gauging the salient human rights issues.
To understand the relevant human rights risks, including those that have not yet materialized and to ascertain the current response to these risks, we conducted a human rights risk assessment, led in collaboration with external experts with cross-industry experience.
The following issues have been identified as Rakuten Group's salient human rights issues as a result of our latest risk assessment.
While this result will continue to be refined through regular reviews, these findings provide critical insight and help define which areas require further investigation. They also identify short-term risk mitigation measures, such as employee training and governance improvements.
Rakuten’s Salient Human Rights Issues
Human Rights and Technology Assessment
Acting on the findings of the human rights risk assessment, in 2022 we conducted an assessment focusing on technologies: big data, AI and machine
learning and data science and analysis, to capture the actions Rakuten should take into consideration.
With the support of external experts, we identified risks for the services concerned, reviewed existing internal policies and established a list of risk scenarios on technology. Among them, the following scenarios pertinent to the Group at large were integrated into our Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Rakuten's group risk management framework.
- Targeted ads may lead to discrimination
- Discriminatory algorithms built into products and services (other than targeted ads, such as e-KYC and credit scoring) may lead to discrimination
- Harmful content containing racial and/or gender stereotypes may lead to discrimination
- Use data, including subscription or communication data, shared with 3rd-party organizations may affect users' freedom of expression and/or rights to survival and security
Several measures are currently being considered to prevent and mitigate these risks, including developing formal policies relating to AI Ethics with technology implications and conducting employee training.
Prevention, Mitigation, and Remedial Measures
Rakuten works to prevent, mitigate and - where necessary, remediate - human rights issues and impacts across our operations and businesses.
Working conditions in direct operations, including child and forced labor
Wages, working hours and benefits
We comply with all applicable laws and regulations and provide unique and comprehensive benefits and competitive compensation.
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Safety, health and wellness
Providing a safe and healthy workplace where our employees can demonstrate their full potential is one of our top priorities.
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Discrimination and harassment
We do not tolerate any form of harassment and strive to provide a respectful work environment. To achieve this commitment, we have implemented the following measures:
Harassment Consultation Desk
A confidential Harassment Consultation Desk is available to all employees to respond to reports of harassment and related complaints.
Annual training on raising awareness concerning anti-harassment measures is conducted for all employees. In addition, training on handling reports of harassment is held for managers.
Rakuten Group Customer Harassment Policy
To respect the human rights of employees and shield them from harassment by customers, Rakuten Group established the Customer Harassment Policy.
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- Harassment Consultation Desk
Child and forced labor
We confirm the age of each employee when forming an employment contract. In addition, we do not take or hold any travel documents or identity cards of our employees, unless required for visa issuance or renewal for foreign employees, or for any other HR-related administration purpose.
Supplier labor standards, including child and forced labor
Rakuten products and services are made possible by numerous workers around the world. From development to the supply and operation of products and
services, we apply the highest standards to ensure that every person in our supply chain is respected and safe, and that our supply chain is free
from child and forced labor.
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Products on e-commerce platform
To provide a safe and secure e-commerce platform, Rakuten has set rules for merchants on Rakuten Ichiba, which cover the prohibition of the sale of certain products, such as dangerous products, products potentially infringing on others' rights and interests and products not favorable for children or young adults.
Examples include explosives and high-pressure gas, weapons, counterfeit brand products, products infringing on copyrights, identification cards, child pornography, etc.
Rakuten assesses merchants when contracting for opening a shop on Rakuten Ichiba. Penalty measures are in place in case of violations of the rules by merchants
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Privacy and data protection are the foundation of a sustainable digital economy and a trustworthy service ecosystem. In 2016, the European Union
data protection authorities approved the Rakuten Group's Binding Corporate Rules, signifying that our internal standards hold us accountable to a
robust privacy framework.
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Responsible use and development of technology
To offer a unique and personalized experience, Rakuten collects various information from our customers - such as purchase behavior and search views
- and creates customer profiles with the assistance of machine learning. In principle, we do not intentionally collect or use information that may
be considered sensitive, such as information relating to ethnicity, religion, social status and medical or criminal history. In the event that our
customers voluntarily share sensitive information with us, we handle it carefully and exclude it from any customer profiling.
In addition, internal rules are in place to ensure that appropriate risk management measures are taken, such as impact assessments prior to a product or service launch when implementing new technologies.
Access to remedy
Rakuten provides several contact points for affected stakeholders to raise concerns and seek justice. See "Grievance Mechanism" on this page for details.
To achieve respect for the human rights of our stakeholders, each and every employee must have a deep understanding and awareness of fundamental human rights. With this in mind, Rakuten provides training that explicitly covers human rights to promote values and attitudes that encourage all individuals to uphold their rights and those of others.
Rakuten has established various contact points to ensure that human rights issues or concerns related to our business activities raised by our stakeholders are known and appropriately addressed. In the event that the company is causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts, we will work to remedy the affected parties and prevent a recurrence of similar cases.
Harassment Consultation Desk
Group Supplier Hotline
Mobile Supplier Hotline
Inquiry Form: Privacy
Users can also raise concerns through platforms provided by each service. For example, Rakuten Ichiba users can report prohibited products,
such as illegal products that may threaten public order and morals, infringe on rights, inappropriate advertisement and marketing campaigns
and labeling, etc.