As a corporate group that is actively growing on the global stage, NTT Group recognizes that respecting human rights is an important social responsibility of companies. Under this recognition, we believe that we must strengthen respect for human rights, and our human rights management, toward all people involved in the NTT Group's value chain. We established the NTT Group's Human Rights Charter in 2014 to express this principle. This charter clearly defines the human rights to be respected as internationally recognized human rights, and we take the rights stipulated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Bill of Human Rights, and under the eight core principles of the ILO Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, to be the minimum standards that require compliance. As a method of managing respect for human rights, we have adopted the approaches of the United Nations' Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and ISO 26000. Furthermore, we have separately laid out Basic Policies on Human Rights based on the charter in the effort to solve various human rights issues.
We believe it is important for the entire NTT Group to instill the understanding of respect for human rights and undertake business activities with a full awareness of human rights. Accordingly, we established the Human Rights Education Committee, headed by the board member responsible for the issue. Under this framework, we are working to heighten human rights awareness across NTT Group and reinforce human rights management, including conducting human rights due diligence, training on human rights issues, and establishing and operating contact points for human rights.
We recognize that the respect for human rights is a corporate responsibility and aim to create a safe, secure and rich social environment by fulfilling its responsibility.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, hereunder NTT, believes that human rights is an important issue, and recognizes the fact that making efforts towards promotion of and respect towards human rights is a social responsibility that all companies should discharge. NTT aims to build up corporate culture that respects human rights in order to build a safe secure and enriched society.
The NTT Group established its Human Rights Charter in 2014 as a policy for defining its commitment to respecting human rights. In accordance with this policy, we examine human rights due diligence processes as well as introduce and implement them in stages.
In fiscal 2016, we conducted a human rights risk assessment covering the business areas pursued by Group companies overseas by focusing on BPO and data centers and on China and India as countries where we operate in order to understand the social conditions directly facing the NTT Group's businesses and to determine what type of human rights issue are actually present.
In fiscal 2017, based on these results, we launched the human rights management survey based on the philosophy of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as part of our efforts to create a mechanism for preventing human rights violations. This survey helped us to identify priority human rights issues that should be addressed by the Group companies covered in the survey. It also shed light on which Group companies have a human rights policy and human rights management system in place. The results identified priority human rights issues for 250 of the 258 companies surveyed, and indicated that 248 companies are now working on specific initiatives to raise awareness about these human rights issues.
In fiscal 2018, an external expert survey (potential human rights risk assessment) was conducted to verify results obtained from in-house surveys. We identified the degree of negative impact of the NTT Group's businesses on the human rights of stakeholders from the perspective of "the likelihood of future human rights risks in the country" and "severity of human rights risks arising in the business," and recognized that appropriate working conditions for workers in the Asia area (India, Thailand, Singapore, Japan), the privacy of consumers, the freedom of expression, and the rights of minorities in the community are major human rights issues. Going forward, we will look into priority issues and remedies through engagement with stakeholders and experts in human rights.