MC engages in responsible advertising and marketing in line with the Three Corporate Principles, MC’s core philosophy, as well as with the Corporate Standards of Conduct, the Social Charter and the Code of Conduct. Through its corporate communications activities, MC strives to raise its brand value by conveying accurate information to the public while at the same time receiving feedback from external stakeholders with humility and incorporating it into business activities.
In order to present a consistent corporate image to customers and conduct advertising and promotional activities with the appropriate messaging, content and media, MC has developed a set of internal rules, guidelines and manuals that include specific considerations and stipulate approval and reporting procedures and other important matters. In particular, we take adequate precaution with respect to slanderous or discriminatory expressions, religious and political creeds, the environment, third-party privacy, confidentiality, disclosure and intellectual property rights. We have also created manuals for MC Group companies to ensure consistency across the Group.
MC engages in responsible marketing in a manner that respects third parties and their reputation. We use information and language that is easy to understand and make sure to avoid any potential for misunderstandings with our customers. This is accomplished by complying with laws and regulations related to marketing (such as the Japanese Unfair Competition Prevention Act), formulating and complying with internal rules, and conducting training, etc.
While the MC Group conducts business in a variety of areas, the food products business is most directly connected to consumers. The products we handle also cover a broad range and include processed foods, fresh foods, and beverages. For this business, we have established value chains that cover activities ranging from raw material procurement and processing to product manufacturing, distribution and retail. MC aims to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse and sophisticated consumer group and to respond to mounting concerns over food safety and security. As we develop businesses closely connected to people’s daily lives, it is essential for the growth of the MC Group that we provide products and services that add value for our consumers and that we obtain feedback directly from consumers through our retail businesses including MC consolidated subsidiary Lawson, Inc. Consumer feedback is reflected back into our raw material procurement and processing, product manufacturing and distribution. Through this process, MC is optimizing and driving forward its businesses with a ‘consumer-first’ mindset. In promoting consumer-related businesses, MC recognizes the issues involved (see below) and will conduct initiatives to prevent the occurrence of incidents and to mitigate their impacts.
The MC Group conducts business activities globally which involve providing consumers with food products and medical services. From upstream raw material procurement to downstream retail, we provide a stable supply of products and services that meet consumer needs in order to help them lead rich and varied lives. With a mission of conducting business activities closely connected to food and medicine, MC strives to ensure safety and security for consumers, thereby providing value that meets social requirements while also contributing to improved access to better nutrition and medical care.
In emerging countries, nutrient imbalances caused by lifestyle changes, increasing obesity, other lifestyle-related diseases and lower nutrient intake due to eating difficulties caused by aging have all become broad social issues. In emerging countries, hunger and malnutrition brought on by poverty and other conditions are widespread. At the same time, people are becoming more health-conscious. Each of these trends has the potential to create new markets and generate business opportunities, especially in emerging countries. The MC Group recognizes these social issues, and by leveraging the strength of our value chains which range from raw materials to retail as well as our technical capacities in the food science business, we will work to improve, for example, nutrition for elderly people who are nutrient deficient etc., and to develop and provide nutritious products that meet consumer needs. Furthermore, we will strive to maintain a stable supply of products to prevent consumers from being negatively impacted by supply disruptions.
The MC Group is undertaking healthcare-related businesses through its Consumer Industry Group. In Japan, one pressing issue is that government finances are being strained by worsening business conditions faced by medical institutions and burgeoning social insurance costs, which in turn reflect the aging population and growing medical expenditures. Meanwhile, in emerging countries, many people lack access to high-quality medical services due to underdeveloped healthcare environments and systems. Leveraging the knowledge and networks developed through its healthcare-related businesses over many years, the MC Group is working to address various healthcare issues arising worldwide, with the aim of realizing a society with improved access to better healthcare.
Sale of Alcohol
Lawson Ltd., an MC consolidated subsidiary, maintains non-alcohol sales areas and develops and sells products aimed at eliminating the consumption of high-alcohol beverages in order to reduce the health risks of non-communicable diseases caused by drinking and other lifestyle-related factors. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's (MHLW) guidelines define "alcohol consumption that increases the risk of lifestyle-related diseases" as a daily net alcohol intake of 40g or more for men and 20g or more for women. To keep alcohol intake to 20g or less, the alcohol content of 350ml cans, which is the standard size for canned “chuhai”, must be below 7%, and the alcohol content of 500ml cans of beer, often purchased at convenience stores, must be below 5%.
Lawson develops and sells “chuhai” and beer with alcohol content in accordance with the MHLW guidelines as Lawson original products.
Advertising, Marketing and Labeling Guidelines
MC consolidated subsidiary Lawson, Inc. is characterized by its great variety of products and services it offers, which at the same time means that it must adhere to laws as well as both anticipate and respond to risks. Lawson’s “Basic Policy for Improvement of Internal Control Systems” has been established to strive for healthy, continuous growth with these business characteristics. Japanese consumer laws (such as the Food Labeling Act, the Food Sanitation Act and the Health Promotion Act) are held as important laws that need especially to be followed as common knowledge in order to reliably improve systems to ensure Lawson’s indispensable product safety and security, as well as to maintain consumer trust. Thus, Lawson attaches labels to its original lunchboxes and prepared foods indicating the product name, expiration date, ingredients, etc.
Moreover, The Intellectual Property Act is also appended with the important laws in order to further strengthen Lawson’s label-checking system so as not to violate the intellectual property rights (trademark rights, copyrights, etc.) of others when creating promotional materials.
Furthermore, Lawson publishes information about these in its Integrated Reports.
Employee Training and Inspections for Compliance
MC consolidated subsidiary Lawson, Inc. conducts compliance and risk management training for all employees every year and aims for further improvement of ethical awareness and crisis-response capability. Compliance is also included in the training when employees join MC or are promoted to managerial positions, training by job category, as well as management training. Moreover, by revising the content of this training in accordance with changes in the status of risks, Lawson is working to improve operations by having employees in all positions and job categories share their problems.
Furthermore, Lawson publishes information about the aforementioned in its Integrated Reports.
Sale of Alcohol
MC consolidated subsidiary Mitsubishi Shokuhin Co., Ltd. engages proactively in the sale of non-alcoholic beverages in its wholesale operations in order to reduce the harmful effects of excessive alcohol consumption. Mitsubishi Shokuhin is making efforts to develop more original non-alcoholic beverages and sells products with lower-alcohol content, such as the part-sake-part-broth Dashiwari Cup.
Reference:the Dashiwari Cup：https://www.mitsubishi-shokuhin.com/201124ReleaseHP.pdf (in Japanese)
Advertising, Marketing and Labeling Guidelines for Processed Foods; Employee Compliance Training
In addition to upholding advertising guidelines, Mitsubishi Shokuhin conducts employee training on the relevant Food Labeling Act and Act Against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations every year.
MC is a member of the Japan Food Safety Management Association and collects information on Quality Management System (QMS) and the Food Safety Management System (FSMS) to use when providing guidance to manufacturers collaborating in production.
MC’s goal in the life sciences field is to become the world’s leading company in the field. We will achieve this by sustaining growth and establishing a robust presence in the food and health sector by further developing the Japanese domestic market through strategic investment and innovative R&D based on our technical capacities, as well as through the provision of safe and reliable products.
Given the global presence of the MC Group, MC discloses information through its corporate websites in seven languages＊ (Japanese, English, Chinese, Portuguese, French, Russian and Korean), and annually releases its corporate brochure in six languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish). The goal is to ensure accurate information disclosure to audiences around the world.
＊ Including websites of overseas subsidiaries
MC has created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page on its corporate website, and strives to respond to inquiries as quickly as possible. In addition, the relevant divisions promptly address customer inquiries via the Head Office’s main telephone line.
Mitsubishi Corporation Life Sciences Limited develops seasonings, food-quality-improvement ingredients and health food ingredients utilizing the power of microorganisms, primarily yeast. It uses yeast extracts to offer low-sodium seasoning alternatives and is also developing them as supplement ingredients for the health and beauty fields. Moreover, elderly people who have difficulty swallowing and individuals suffering from certain diseases are prone to aspiration pneumonia, which can result from the mis-swallowing of food. For this issue, MC is developing formulations that utilize polysaccharide thickener compounding technologies. In the field of medical and nursing care-related foods, formulations which make food softer and easier to swallow and thickening agents added to give food the right thickness for easier swallowing are contributing to the prevention of aspiration pneumonia. Furthermore, MC is also developing low-protein food formulations for kidney disease patients and conducting research on low-sugar concepts utilizing the sweeteners it possesses. In this way, the MC Group will continue to develop safe foods in the medical, nursing and healthcare fields, thereby contributing to the betterment of society.
In the food-related business, which are directly linked to consumers, the MC Group is working to address various related issues through its business.
Cermaq, an MC subsidiary, considers the provision of healthy and sustainable food to be its core mission. A salmon producer, Cermaq has the ambition to produce healthy and nutritious food to a growing world population and play a role in improving the global food system by engaging in multi-stakeholder partnerships. Farmed salmon is a part of the solution to challenges related to obesity and unbalanced diets, by being rich in healthy nutrients such as marine omega-3, proteins, vitamins and minerals. It is also a sustainable food product, with a low carbon footprint and an efficient feed conversion ratio compared to other animal proteins. Cermaq considers salmon farming as a part of the solution to solving the world’s food needs and engages actively in partnerships to build best practice and share knowledge across the food industry.
Lawson, Inc., an MC consolidated subsidiary, manages and operates convenience stores. Lawson is most closely connected to consumers within the food products value chain, and conducts the following initiatives to help minimize negative product impact on socially vulnerable groups.
When people with food allergies consume an allergen it can trigger anaphylaxis. Similarly, consuming large quantities of certain substances can potentially damage one’s health. To prevent such problems, the MC Group strives to label its food products in a way that is easy to understand in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. To ensure that consumers understand product characteristics and are in a position to make appropriate purchasing decisions based on health and other factors, Mitsubishi Shokuhin Co., Ltd., Lawson, Inc. and other MC Group companies make it a top priority to comply with laws and regulations such as Japan’s Food Labeling Act. These companies provide information which is easy to understand from the consumer standpoint such as quality labeling, warnings related to alcoholism, acute alcohol poisoning, and underage drinking, as well as clear allergen warnings.
Offering low-carbohydrate/low-calorie/fiber-rich bakery products and nutritionally-balanced Natural Lawson brand products
Lawson, an MC subsidiary, offers health-conscious products such as Bran Bread, which is low in sugar and calories, and bakery products made using pearl barley, which contains a lot of nutritional components such as dietary fiber.
In addition, the Natural Lawson brand, which focuses on raw materials with the theme of beauty and health, not only allows customers to enjoy the original taste of the ingredients, but also develops unique products such as chilled beverages, confectionery and lunch boxes to support their healthy lifestyles.
In addition to striving for nutrition information labels that are easy for consumers to understand, Mitsubishi Shokuhin is also working to develop health-conscious Karada Shift products.
Reference: About Karada Shift: https://karadashift.jp/ (in Japanese)
As a company engaged in the healthcare sector, MC is involved in the following initiatives with its Group Companies to help provide people in Japan and around the world with better access to healthcare.
MC Healthcare, Inc., a MC consolidated subsidiary in Japan, is contributing to the improvement of hospital operations as well as the enhancement and stability of domestic medical systems through procurement and inventory control of medical supplies and equipment, group purchasing and system installation support. MC is also applying its experience and expertise in the rapidly growing Chinese market. Nippon Care Supply Co., Ltd. is a pioneering provider of rental welfare equipment and in-home nursing care services. In order to raise the quality of life of the elderly and enable them to continue living independently in their accustomed area, MC conducts its core business of renting welfare equipment as well as other businesses including providing meals to day service facilities and other institutions. In doing so, MC is contributing towards a healthy longevity society where all senior citizens can live comfortably and with peace of mind.
As a convenience store closely connected to consumers, Lawson is developing its Healthcare Lawson convenience store model to provide daily living-related support with expanded sales of over-the-counter medicines to accommodate healthy lifestyles and an aging society. In addition, Lawson enters into health-related agreements with local governments in order to conduct health exams in the parking lots of Lawson convenience stores for nearby local residents. These exams are normally received at a city hall or a community center. Through initiatives such as these, Lawson provides access to medical care for people who live far from any hospital or pharmacy, and is working to develop its stores so that they can be used with peace of mind by a diverse range of customers.
Rainforest Allianceによる持続可能な農業の推進©Rainforest Alliance
MC has formulated its Corporate Standards of Conduct and Social Charter based on the Three Corporate Principles, MC’s core philosophy, and conducts corporate philanthropy initiatives to improve access to nutrition and medical care.
Mitsubishi Corporation Foundation for the Americas (MCFA) was established in 1991 by Mitsubishi International Corporation (MIC) and MC. The mission of MCFA is to support environmental initiatives throughout the Americas, encompassing environmental education, biodiversity conservation, environmental justice and sustainable development. Since its establishment, the foundation has contributed a total of approximately US$12.8 million (approximately JPY1.3 billion) to projects throughout the Americas. For example, the MCFA is supporting initiatives such as a Rainforest Alliance project in Peru to promote sustainable farming practices for high-value crops such as brazil nuts and cocoa.
The Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa (MCFEA) is a UK registered charitable foundation established in 1992 by Mitsubishi Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation (UK) Plc. (now Mitsubishi Corporation International (Europe) Plc.) Since its inception, the MCFEA has used various organizations to contribute more than GBP5.9 million in grants to environmental and developmental projects in Europe and Africa. The MCFEA is supporting partner organizations including Springboard, a social enterprise that works to solve the problems of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria and helps women and youth start sustainable organic farming.
MC has been providing support for small farming families in an environmentally protected region of the Southern Lowlands of Bahia State in Brazil. This is the first project to be executed based on an MOU signed between MC and the Inter-American Development Bank, the aim of which is to promote collaborative philanthropic activities in Latin America and the Caribbean. These activities are being conducted in partnership with the Odebrecht Foundation in Brazil. MC is also providing assistance to technical schools for agriculture, agribusiness and forestry. These schools teach young people the latest techniques in environmentally-friendly farming and farm management in order to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
Cermaq, an MC subsidiary, engages in external sustainability initiatives in line with its strategy, which emphasizes partnerships to find solutions related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, five goals have been identified as high priority for Cermaq, including Goal 2: Zero hunger and Goal 14: Life below water. Cermaq engages in industry and multi-stakeholder initiatives to find solutions, on different levels:
Examples of initiatives include:
Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business. Launched in June 2018 by the UN Global Compact and with Cermaq as the first Patron to join this initiative in February 2018, with the goal of developing holistic global solutions for the sustainable use of the ocean. The first business driven initiative of its kind in the United Nations, the initiative aims at developing roadmaps for the maritime industries in close dialogue with governments, academic institutions, NGOs and UN organizations.
Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship. Established in 2016 by eight of the world’s largest seafood companies (including Cermaq, Thai Union, Nissui, Maruha Nichiro, and Mowi), SeaBOS aims to promote sustainable seafood operations and ensure a healthy ocean.
GSI is a leadership initiative established by global farmed salmon producers. It seeks to provide a highly sustainable source of healthy protein to feed a growing global population, in tandem with minimizing the environmental footprint, and continuing to improve the industry’s contributions to society.
In addition, Cermaq is a member of the UN Global Compact. Member companies work to align their strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals.