Shosha's Corporate Code of Conduct

Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc.

1st version established: May 10, 1973
2nd version revised: July 8, 1999
3rd version revised: June 16, 2005
4th version revised: March 22, 2018


Since the establishment of the original “Sogo-Shosha’s Code of Conduct” in 1973 we have consistently taken heed of the various opinions voiced regarding the activities of Shosha and, in order to clarify our social responsibilities and principles of conduct as corporations, have developed this Code of Conduct over time by implementing revisions in response to changes in the global situation and social expectations.

The business operations of Shosha encompass all the industrial sectors of the world. We act upon the firm belief that the realization of a sustainable society is both our responsibility and the essential foundation upon which our corporate activities must rest. Today, the international expansion of initiatives designed to realize a sustainable society in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals adds even further importance to the social mission of Shosha while at the same time opening up new and potentially significant opportunities for business development.

As Shosha, we must maintain a constant awareness of these social changes and proactively transform our own management practices. By fulfilling our social responsibilities through the implementation of information disclosure and compliance with relevant laws and international standards, we must fully apply our capabilities as Shosha by combining mid to long term perspectives with a clear understanding of evolving social and economic demands in order to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society.

We have produced this Code of Conduct in order to encourage JFTC member firms to live up to their social responsibilities, evaluate their own behavior as responsible corporations, and assist them in pursuing their own initiatives.

Section 1: Management Philosophy

As Shosha, we must constantly be aware of our role and responsibilities towards society and, while balancing environmental, social and economic considerations, manage our business activities from a long-term perspective in order to contribute to the realization of sustainable economic growth through business.

  1. We must actively engage in communication with our shareholders, business partners, consumers, employees, local communities and other stakeholders and manage our businesses in such a way that responds to both their expectations and consistently achieves the creation of new value.
  2. Executive management must lead by example in their efforts to create responsible businesses as defined by the evolving demands of the day.
  3. We must engage in business in such a manner that the human rights of all people are respected.
  4. We must conduct our businesses with due consideration to the preservation of a sound global environment and social sustainability, and actively engage in the resolution of global, environmental and social issues.

Section 2: Functions and Areas of Activity

As Shosha, while giving due consideration to the attainment of the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we must strive to accurately perceive evolving environmental, social and economic trends, and be responsive to the attendant social demands in a comprehensive manner.

  1. By collecting and disseminating information on a global scale and meeting the diversifying needs of our clients and markets, we must provide resources, goods, and services to enrich society by implementing innovation.
  2. By discovering new opportunities for business throughout the world, and by developing these opportunities into sources of value for society, we must strive to contribute to the resolution of social problems and the realization of sustainable economic growth.
  3. In the course of our global operations we must contribute to the achievement of balanced global development and regional prosperity by the promotion of free trade and investment and constructive partnership with national governments, international bodies, and other relevant organizations and corporations.

Section 3: Governance and Crisis Management

As Shosha, in recognition of our responsibilities to society, we must conduct our business in accordance with all relevant laws and regulations, show due respect for international standards and social conventions, and stress information disclosure in our efforts to maintain transparent management practices. In addition, we must also implement and maintain crisis management systems designed to meet the various threats facing both civil society and corporate activity.

  1. In addition to legal compliance in our respective regional areas of operation, we must abide by both the letter and the spirit of international rules and regulations and conduct ourselves in a socially conscientious manner. Furthermore, we must manage our business activities in accordance with the understanding that free and fair competition is fundamental for the functioning of market economies, engage in proper transactions, responsible procurement and other appropriate business practices, and maintain open and fair relations with political parties and governments.
  2. We must build systems to promote effective corporate decision-making, strengthen our internal audit functions, and constantly monitor the legality of decisions made within our organizations.
  3. We must strive to achieve transparency through the appropriate and timely disclosure of corporate information.
  4. We must promote crisis management and information security in preparedness for the eventuality of acts of terror, cyber-attacks, natural disasters and other crises.

Section 4: Social Participation and the Promotion of Trust

As Shosha, we must strive to create relationships of mutual trust both domestically and internationally and to actively participate in and contribute to society as good corporate citizens.

  1. We must show respect for the cultures, customs and languages of other countries and regions, and strive to actively participate in activities aimed at regional development through a process of private-sector diplomacy.
  2. We must strive to promote relationships of mutual trust with all our stakeholders including shareholders, business partners, consumers, employees, and local communities by actively disclosing information regarding our corporate operations and by cooperating in regional activities which contribute to the achievement of secure and enriched standards of living.
  3. We will not deal with any organizations influenced by or comprised of organized crime that may operate in the communities in which we do business.

Section 5: Reform of Work Practices and Creation of Rewarding Work Environments

As Shosha, we will strive to provide our employees with a rich and rewarding work environment, to respect the diversity, character and individuality of our employees, and to promote corporate cultures in which each individual's talents and creativity may be fully developed.

  1. We must create and maintain work environments for our employees with due consideration for health and safety.
  2. We must respect the human rights of our employees, promote equal opportunities among them, and oppose any discriminatory employment practices or treatment.
  3. We must respect the diversity and individuality of our employees and actively support their skill and career development.

Section 6: Role of Executive Management in the Implementation of this Code of Conduct

As Shosha, we recognize that it is the role of executive management to realize the spirit of this Code of Conduct, to lead by example in enhancing awareness of it within their respective corporate organizations including subsidiaries and affiliates, and to promote the understanding of the spirit of this Code of Conduct and its application throughout their supply chains.

In addition, in the event of a violation of the spirit of this Code of Conduct, executive management should discharge their responsibilities by taking the initiative in resolving the problem, investigating its causes and implementing measures to prevent its recurrence.

Note: The original Japanese language version of this document is the official version used by the JFTC and its members. This document is an English language translation of the Japanese language original and has been prepared as a public service.