Human rights are fundamental and universal rights to all human beings regardless of their origin, background, or any other status. Guided by the Rakuten Group Code of Ethics, we respect the human rights of all our stakeholders throughout our operations. This includes group employees regardless of employment status, customers and business partners, including joint-ventures, contractors, suppliers of goods and services, investees and any third party that engages in a business relationship with the Rakuten Group.
As we provide a wide range of online and offline services all over the world, Rakuten is fully aware that ensuring and respecting the human rights of all stakeholders involved and those impacted by our business activities is challenging yet crucial.
Human Rights Due Diligence
Rakuten’s businesses are made possible by a great number of people: Our partners and employees involved in the development, supply and administration of products and services, but also customers, investors and local communities. Ensuring the human rights of all our stakeholders is a priority for our sustainable growth, and for the achievement of our corporate mission of contributing to society.
In line with this belief, the Rakuten Group Human Rights Policy, which is part of the Rakuten Group Sustainability Policy, was adopted in 2019, listing important principles and rules to follow across operations. As part of the Policy implementation, Rakuten conducts human rights due diligence in accordance with the procedures outlined in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). Human rights due diligence is an ongoing risk management process to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for the ways in which companies address impacts on human rights. It includes four key steps: Identifying and assessing adverse impacts on human rights; taking measures to prevent and mitigate adverse impacts; tracking and verifying the effectiveness of those measures; and disclosing and communicating information.
Identify: Human Rights Impact Assessment
Following the adoption of the Rakuten Group Human Rights Policy, a new human rights impact assessment was launched in 2020, as part of our due diligence process. This impact assessment, led in collaboration with external experts with cross-industry experience, is a preliminary study aimed at understanding the overall human rights risks relevant to Rakuten’s operations, business activities, products and services, and identifying human rights issues to be addressed as priority. As a result, eight issues have been identified as Rakuten Group’s salient human rights issues. While this result will continue to be refined through regular reviews, these findings provide important insight and help to clarify which areas require further investigation. They also identify short-term risk mitigation measures to be taken — such as employee training and governance improvements.
Foster fair, healthy working conditions for all Rakuten’s employees. This includes fair wages and benefits that are in accordance with the living standards in the countries where Rakuten employees work, reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, adequate rest time, anti-harassment within the workplace and protection of employees’ privacy.
Foster fair, healthy working conditions for the employees of all Rakuten’s suppliers. This includes workers’ rights to time off, reasonable working hours, fair wages, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and protection of privacy. This applies to all employees of suppliers and contractors that do business with Rakuten.
Forced or compulsory labor is defined by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as all work or service that is extracted under menace of any penalty and for which the person has not voluntarily offered themselves. In addition to being forced to work against their will, they may be subjected to physical and psychological violence and intimidation. They may also be associated with human trafficking and child labor.
Practices that are considered as forced or compulsory labor include confinement of workers to the workplace or a limited area, debt bondage, withholding of wages or excessive wage reduction that violates previously made agreements, retention of passports and identity documents, and forced overtime.
Child labor is work performed at too early an age which deprives a child of the chance to obtain an education or damages a child’s development. ILO standards prohibit hazardous work for all persons under 18 years of age, and labor for those under 15, with limited exceptions for developing countries.
This refers to human rights violations caused by the intentional or unintentional misuse of products or services.
The right to privacy is guaranteed by Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation.”
The design and use of technologies, including the use of artificial intelligence (AI) such as algorithmic decision-making and facial recognition, cloud and network services, and big data analytics, can affect individuals’ rights to non-discrimination in several ways.
Everyone has the right to remedy when their rights have been violated. Where companies identify that they have caused or contributed to adverse human rights impacts, they should provide for or cooperate in their remediation through legitimate processes, whether through the company’s own operational level grievance mechanisms or through cooperation with independent non-judicial grievance mechanisms.
※The above salient human rights issues are the result of preliminary assessment and will continue to be regularly reviewed.
Prevent: Implemented Actions
Rakuten is continuously working to avoid, prevent and mitigate the abovementioned salient human rights issues.
Communication of Labor Standards
Rakuten communicates its labor standards to all employees by distributing to them the Rules of Employment upon joining the company. Rakuten also provides training on labor practice.
Rakuten does not tolerate any form of harassment and strives to provide a respectful work environment that is free of harassment. To achieve this commitment, the following measures have been implemented:
- Harassment Consultation Desk
- Rakuten provides a confidential Harassment Consultation Desk to respond to reports of harassment and related complaints.
- Periodic training on raising awareness concerning anti-harassment measures and on handling reports of harassment is held for managers.
Preventing 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, etc., and our personnel procedures ensure free access to relevant documents for our employees.
> For more information, please click here.
Rakuten Group Sustainable Procurement Instruction
Having a shared understanding with our suppliers of what sustainability represents is essential in advancing sustainability across our supply chains. Rakuten therefore formulated the “Rakuten Group Sustainable Procurement Instruction” as part of the Rakuten Group Regulations.
This instruction sets expectations for suppliers and is designed to ensure that suppliers conduct business ethically in compliance with laws and regulations, to conserve the environment and to protect the health, safety and fair treatment of workers, including the prohibition of child labor and any forms of forced labor. Rakuten is currently working closely with suppliers to implement the items outlined in the instruction.
Modern Slavery Act
As a part of the Rakuten Group’s commitment to respecting the human rights of all our stakeholders, we are taking steps to prevent all forms of modern slavery in our operations and supply chains. We have issued the Modern Slavery Statement in accordance with Section 54 of the UK's Modern Slavery Act 2015.
In order 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, or not favorable for children and young adults. Examples include explosives and high-pressure gas, weapons, counterfeit brand products, products infringing on copyrights, identification cards, child pornography, etc.
In order to maintain a healthy commerce platform, Rakuten assesses merchants at the time of signing the contract for opening a store on Rakuten Ichiba. Penalty measures are in place in case of violations of the rules by merchants.
> For more information, please see here (page in Japanese).
Protecting the privacy and personal data of Rakuten’s users and employees is a responsibility shared by all Rakuten Group companies and is key to the sustainability of the digital economy.
The binding corporate rules adopted by the Rakuten Group set the rules for appropriate privacy protection.
Our priority is not only to be compliant with new privacy-related laws formulated around the world, but also to build robust management systems for providing safe and secure services that our customers can trust.
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, medical or criminal history for instance.
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.
Rakuten has established various contact points to appropriately respond to feedback, inquiries and concerns raised by our stakeholders.
|For Employees||For Suppliers||For Customers|
A whistleblowing system called the Rakuten Hotline is available for all Group executives and employees, including not only full-time employees, but also contract employees and temporary staff, etc., to report on actions that violate laws, corporate ethics, Rakuten Group Regulations and other internal regulations to inside and outside contacts. This hotline is operated in compliance with the Whistleblower Protection Act, and anonymous reporting is possible.
Please see here for details.
Harassment Consultation Desk
Rakuten provides a confidential Harassment Consultation Desk to respond to reports of harassment and related complaints, and to ensure that behaviors constituting harassment are dealt with appropriately. We prohibit any disadvantageous treatment directed at those who report harassment.
Rakuten has established a contact point to receive reports from Rakuten Group suppliers. Please see here (page in Japanese) for details.
In addition, Rakuten Mobile’s suppliers have a Supplier Hotline at their disposal for violations of the Code of Ethics on Purchasing and Procurement by Rakuten executives, employees, or related parties.
The users of the services offered by the Rakuten Group can send inquiries about privacy-related issues through an online Inquiry Form.
Users can also raise concerns through platforms provided by each service. For example, Rakuten Ichiba users can report prohibited products such as illegal products, products which may pose a threat to public order and morals, products infringing on rights, inappropriate marketing and labelling, etc. Please see here (page in Japanese) for details.