Assess and address human rights impacts across our business activities
Assess and address human rights impacts
Why it matters
Our values embed respect for the human rights of everyone who works for or with us, throughout our business activities. We believe that upholding the human rights of everyone who works for or with us is essential to making our business activities and supply chains more resilient, stable, and sustainable.
What we are doing
In 2019, we continued to review our 11 salient human rights issues in order to determine how we can focus our activities for the biggest positive impact. We also continued to train employees on human rights and worked with partners to implement supply chain action plans. Read more about it in our 2019 progress report.
* Our partner the Fair Labor Association has an ongoing program of assessments in our upstream supply chain, which will inform our human rights work. Because of this, we have extended this objective to 2020
How we manage our human rights issues
Our human rights work has been driven by our Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) program. Through the HRDD program, we regularly review our salient issues, identify where and how we can make a positive impact, and select the appropriate actions and interventions to make.
The HRDD program is now eight years old, however, and in 2019 we began the process of reviewing and re-evaluating it in the light of evolving regulations and expectations. We are working with key stakeholders as part of this review and aim to launch the revised HRDD in early 2020.
The HRDD program currently comprises the following eight components.
Respect for human rights is woven into the fabric of our daily operations through some of our 36 commitments. These commitments are based on our Corporate Business Principles and are continually reviewed as goals are achieved or the challenges we face change.
Collaboration is at the heart of our approach to human rights, as we believe only by working with a wide range of stakeholders can we gain access to the expertise and insights we need to make the biggest impact. Through initiatives and sessions, we work with NGOs, rights holders and others to further develop our policies and procedures and improve our performance on the ground.
Since 2011, we have engaged with thousands of stakeholders through our stakeholder convenings, active participation in different forums and conferences, and one-on-one interactions with global and local community support officers.
We have partnered with some of the most expert organizations, starting with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) back in 2010 and then with the Fair Labor Association (cocoa and hazelnuts) and Verité (seafood, palm oil and coffee).
Employee training is fundamental to promoting human rights, and we aim to train all of our employees on this topic. Our training programs raise awareness of human rights issues among employees and develop their skills in dealing with them.
Since 2011, we have trained 125 321 Nestlé employees.
The risks of human rights abuses arising in our business activities are continually assessed, monitored and reviewed. This gives us a clear understanding of the landscape and allows us to proactively manage risk and address impacts.
We have integrated human rights risks within our Enterprise Risk Management Framework and within our Market Compliance Committees.
In addition, we have previously conducted 13 human rights impact assessments in high-risk countries together with the DIHR (these were completed before 2018 and are not new activity).
Salient human rights issues are those human rights issues that stand out because they are at risk of the most severe negative impact through the company’s activities or business relationships. This concept of salience uses the lens of risk to people, not the business, as the starting point, while recognizing that where risks to people’s human rights are greatest, there is strong convergence with risk to the business.
Since 2011, based on the many risk and impact assessments we have carried out at the corporate level and on the ground, we have identified 11 human rights issues that are the most salient and developed dedicated action plans to address them.
Our business is built on strong principles and sound governance. Within Nestlé, we have set out clear roles and responsibilities to ensure respect for human rights is reflected at every level of our business. Our system of boards and committees is key to this, continually assessing our progress and leading the strategic implementation of human rights work.
A key part of addressing human rights issues is ensuring grievance mechanisms are available to rights holders. Our HDD program helps us to identify and enable effective remediation. How this works varies across countries and industries, and we seek to do what we can to ensure remediation is always available.
We’re transparent about our commitments, as well as achievements and the challenges we still face on the ground, and we continually report on our progress and performance. This holds us publicly accountable for our promises and enables us to regularly review our priorities.
Human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
People are at the heart of our work to support the UN SDGs. In an effort to gain a better understanding of the links between our 11 salient human rights issues and specific SDGs and targets, our partner, the DIHR, has carried out initial research using their Human Rights Guide to the SDGs database and qualitative assessment, ranking the linkage from strong to medium. The DIHR also provided high-level recommendations on how we can ensure coherence and synergies between our HRDD program and our sustainable development strategy.
This graphic shows the link between Nestlé’s 11 salient issues and the UN SDGs, reflecting our commitment to respect and promote human rights in our business activities.
Sustainable Development Goals
The color blocks show the corresponding goal as indicated below: