Procurement (Supply Chain Management)
The UBE Group has published a basic procurement policy which strives to establish fair and equitable trade relations. The policy outlines the Group’s compliance activities in the areas of fair and equitable transactions, objective assessment in the selection of business partners, legal compliance and confidentiality, green procurement, and socially responsible procurement. Learn more by visiting Procurement Information.
Sustainable Procurement Activities
The UBE Group has established a Socially Responsible Procurement Policy and the UBE Group Sustainable Procurement Guidelines. These encompass respect for human rights, compliance with laws and social norms such as the exclusion of organized criminal groups and other anti-social forces, and commitment to the environment. Under the policy and guidelines, the Group aims to enhance sustainable practices throughout its supply chain. The guidelines, revised to include specific details, were published on the UBE Group website in March 2021. The Group informs new business partners of its basic purchasing policy and the UBE Group Sustainable Procurement Guidelines and refers them to the Group’s website.
The Group conducted its third regular survey of business partners on CSR in fiscal 2019, receiving responses from 276 major customers and business partners who collectively account for 90% of the purchase value of materials, construction, packaging materials, and fuel oils. The survey responses were aggregated and analyzed to provide feedback for all Group companies. The UBE Group also met with business partners with lower ratings to help them improve their efforts in this regard.
Using ratings from 1 to 5, the survey asked business partners to self-evaluate their CSR initiatives in six thematic areas (27 questions in total): (1) internal structure for practicing sustainability ; (2) ensuring stable supply and quality; (3) corporate ethics, compliance with the law and social norms, and fair transactions; (4) consideration for the environment; (5) respect for human rights, safety, and health; and (6) social contribution, communication with society, and information management and disclosure. The survey found an overall average rate of 3.8, indicating that business partners are engaging in a decent level of effort on their initiatives. A breakdown by topic reveals a high level of effort, at 4.4, on “respect for human rights, safety, and health,” while “consideration for the environment” was relatively low, at 3.4.
More than 80% of respondents are engaging in a decent level of effort on measures and initiatives with regard to three aspects of human rights: (1) prohibiting harassment; (2) prohibiting forced labor, slave labor, child labor, and unfair low-wage labor; and (3) prohibiting discrimination based on gender, race, nationality, age, religion, and disability.
Learn more by visiting Results of Third Survey of Business Partners on CSR.
To ensure the safe transport of chemical substances, the UBE Group provides transport companies and drivers with safety information to use in case of an accident during transport. This is only part of the Group’s commitment to preventing logistics accidents and enhancing logistics quality.
Ube Industries endorses the Sustainable Logistics Movement and implements voluntary measures to realize the aims of the initiative.
1. Sustainable Logistics Movement
Sustainable Logistics Movement, which was started with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), is an initiative aimed at ensuring stable logistics function necessary for the people’s lives and for industrial activities while also contributing to economic growth in response to the worsening shortage of truck drivers. It aims to improve the productivity of truck transportation and raise logistical efficiency, while looking to realize a labor environment that makes it easier for women and drivers over the age of 60 to work.
2. Ube Industries Declaration to Take Voluntary Action
|Use of Pallets||Increase pallet use with the acknowledgement of customers and business partners, reduce the burden of loading and unloading tasks on logistics companies, and reduce the time spent on loading and unloading.|
|Joint Collection and Delivery Destinations||In order to reduce the working hours of drivers, Ube Industries will cooperate with Group companies to implement joint collection and joint delivery of cargo. We will give serious consideration to any suggestions from logistics companies to modify the cargo collection and delivery methods.|
|Improvement of Shipping Facilities||Expand and modify the layout of logistics facilities including warehouses, and reduce long distance transport.|
|Safety Measures for On-Site Transport, Loading, and Unloading||Identify the risk factors for on-site transport, loading, and unloading work, prepare work procedure manuals, and conduct safety education for business partners in order to enhance safety.|
|Cancellation or Suspension of Operations in Case of Weather Irregularity||Do not make unreasonable transport requests if a weather irregularity such as a typhoon, torrential rain or heavy snowfall is observed and/or forecast. Additionally, respect the decisions of transport companies if they deem it necessary to cancel or suspend operations for reasons of driver safety.|
3. Actions Already Taken by UBE Group
The UBE Group launched a Logistics Re-Engineering Project in 2007 aimed at improving logistics efficiency, and has implemented a number of enhancements including implementing joint transport of freight and modal shifts to more efficient means of transport. For rubber product transportation, Ube Industries and logistics company Kankokisen Co., Ltd. were accredited as leading companies in the Fiscal 2011 Eco-Ship Modal Shift project of the Maritime Bureau of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. The UBE Group established a Group Logistics Efficiency Liaison Group in 2016, which is working to increase the level of cooperation with customers and business partners, and improve transportation efficiency.
The Group considers the logistics crisis in Japan to be an issue affecting all of Japanese industry, and is working with customers and business partners to further streamline its logistics as part of the Group’s efforts to reduce environmental impacts through supply chains.
Respect for Intellectual Property
The UBE Group respects newly created value (property) and engages in just and fair intellectual property activities.
Each business division develops an intellectual property (IP) strategy, which is implemented by intellectual property departments that secure patents and trademarks, maintain the confidentiality of proprietary expertise, and maintain and manage held intellectual property rights. In accordance with revisions to the Unfair Competition Prevention Act instituted in 2016 and a major overhaul of Management Guidelines for Trade Secrets from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Group adopted a new information security network for protecting trade secrets and also revised its manuals. Additionally, the Intellectual Property Department operates under the Information Security Committee to monitor IP education and trade secret management at Group companies in and outside of Japan, and assists the companies to implement improvements.
UBE Group’s Intellectual Property
Intellectual property rights, including patents, utility models, designs, trademarks, copyrights and know-how (trade secrets), are valuable assets that legally reinforce the market exclusivity of the UBE Group’s products and services. Patents are created on a regular basis out of the Group’s R&D, production technology development and other activities, and the Group applies for hundreds of patents in and outside Japan every year.
Protection and Use of Intellectual Property and Infringement Countermeasures
Due to revisions to business policy or R&D themes, some of the UBE Group’s patents occasionally become unnecessary. Therefore, an evaluation of the necessity of maintaining each of the Group’s patents is done every year to confirm that it is maintaining necessary rights groupwide.
Patent infringement has serious consequences and can lead to an injunction to stop manufacturing or trigger expensive lawsuits. Infringing on the legitimate rights of other companies is certainly not socially acceptable. To prevent such infringements, Group companies investigate the patents of other companies and the scope of their patent rights. If necessary, Group companies may negotiate a license for business implementation within the scope of the other company’s patent or even attempt to have the patent rights legally invalidated. However, pursuing licensing or attempting to invalidate a patent can be time-consuming and expensive with no guarantee of success. This makes it necessary to find ways to conduct business without infringing on the patents of other companies, and keep the Group’s business fully protected through patents.
To encourage new inventions and facilitate the smooth usage of intellectual property rights, Ube Industries has established internal rules compliant with the Act on the Partial Revision of the Patent Act and Other Acts regarding employee inventions and pays multiple types of monetary rewards to inventors. Of these, rewards based on actual business results serve as a barometer indicating the extent that a patent is being put to effective use in business. The ongoing creation of numerous incentivized patents is essential to the strong growth and development of the UBE Group’s business.