Prohibition and elimination of child labor and forced labor 

  • Materiality

Prohibition and elimination of child labor and forced labor

According to the International Labour Organization report on child labor (Global Estimates of Child Labor, Results and Trends, 2012-2016). there are 152 million child laborers in the world. The breakdown by industry is as follows: 70.9% for agriculture, 11.9% for manufacturing, and 17.2% for services. By region, Africa has the largest share (47.6%), followed by the Asia-Pacific region (40.9%). Production of sports goods, such as apparel and shoes, is considered to be labor-intensive and sports goods are commonly produced in the Asia Pacific region where relatively lower wages are paid to workers. Therefore, greater attention needs to be paid to child labor because many of Mizuno's manufacturing factories are located in the Asia-Pacific region.

Because Mizuno recognizes the possibility of involvement in child labor through our business activities, we have clearly stated in The Mizuno Corporation Ethical Standards that we will not engage in child labor. In addition, the Mizuno Code of Conduct for Suppliers requires suppliers to respect the "Minimum Age for Employment Convention" (No. 138) and the "Convention on Immediate Action for the Prohibition and Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour" (No. 182) among the eight core ILO Conventions on Labor Standards. If child labor is discovered during a CSR audit, we will immediately review the corrective measures and take action. The background to the occurrence of child labor is thought to be closely related to the social background such as poverty. Therefore, we will investigate the root cause of child labor and consider solutions with our factories.

Note: No child labor has been found in our audits.

Modern slavery (or forced labor)

From the report on modern slavery by the ILO, “Global estimates of modern slavery: forced labor and forced marriage 2017,” there are 400 million people in modern slavery worldwide, and 249 million people in forced labor. By region, Africa has the largest share at 7.6 persons per 1,000 people, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 6.1 persons per 1,000 people. Attention needs to be paid to modern slavery and forced labor in the Asia-Pacific region as well as child labor. NGOs and other organizations have expressed concerns that the technical intern system for foreign workers in Japan and the handling of migrant workers overseas pose human rights and labor condition problems. Mizuno excludes factories located in Japan from the scope of its CSR audits. However, in a labor-intensive industry such as apparel sewing and manufacturing, many factories in Japan employ foreigners through the Technical Internship Program for Foreign Workers. The CSR auditor of Mizuno Corporation visits these factories directly and undertakes audits of them. In the past, no audited factory had non-conformities involving the possession of personal IDs or passports, or problems with payment. On the other hand, because there were non-conformities in some factories in the past, such as the dormitory being located in the same building as the facility, and the evacuation route only being on the second floor of the dormitory, we worked to correct them with the factories. As a result, all of these serious non-conformities have been corrected.

Thailand is a region where there are concerns about forced labor and cross-border workers from neighboring countries, and the issue of minimum wages for migrant workers. In December 2018, Mizuno conducted a special audit on the human rights of Burmese workers at a garment factory near the border of Myanmar in Thailand, based on information provided by NGOs. As a result, we confirmed the living environment and fire prevention measures as problems in the dormitories, labor management as problems in working hour management and cases below the minimum wage. We worked together with this factory to correct these problems. In June 2019, we witnessed a CSR audit to confirm the status of correction. Representatives from signatories to the Global Framework Agreement, such as IndustriALL, UA Zensen and Mizuno Union, also attended the CSR audit and discussed improvements with factory management.

Conflict Minerals Initiatives

What are conflict minerals?

Conflict minerals are mineral resources mined in conflict regions such as countries in Africa. They are regarded as source of income for armed groups, and there is a big issue that people from neighboring countries are forced to mine minerals through acts of violence.
Since FY2018, Mizuno has been investigating the use of substances defined as conflict minerals due to human rights concerns, and identifying products that use these substances. Specifically, it was found that tungsten was used in the heads of golf clubs, weights to balance for soft tennis rackets, and the tips of baseball carbide spikes. Mizuno has confirmed that the relevant minerals used for these parts are conflict mineral free, that is not procured from conflict areas.

Future issues to be addressed

  • The Asia-Pacific region, where Mizuno products are manufactured, needs to be aware of child labor and forced labor. We will ensure appropriate CSR procurement by continuously monitoring factories and promoting the correction of identified issues.
  • The California Transparency Act (2012), the U.K. Modern Slave Act (2015) and the Australian Modern Slave Act (2019) require companies to disclose their efforts to eliminate trafficking and slavery labor. We will actively disclose information in response to the introduction of legislation that respects human rights.