Assess and address human rights impacts

Human rights abuses have no place in our business activities, and we work hard to ensure every person in our value chain is treated with dignity and respect.

Our commitment

Assess and address human rights impacts across our business activities

Why it matters

Respecting the human rights of everyone in our business activities is rooted in our values. We have identified 11 salient issues that stand out because they are at risk of the most severe negative impact through the company’s activities or business relationships and where we can have the greatest impact. These are the risks that have the most severe potential impact on rights holders and the highest likelihood of occurrence. Severity is defined as the scope, scale and remediability of the impact.

Our approach

Human rights issues are complex and vary among the different countries where we operate. As a result, we have to take a multilayered approach to addressing them. Built on our Corporate Business Principles, our activities focus on the areas where we can have the greatest impact: our 11 salient human rights issues. To effectively address each of these, we pursue a broad range of activities and initiatives around the world, often with key partners.

What we are doing

This is a complex area, but we’re progressing on many of the measures we’ve set. We have reassessed how we measure the impact of our human rights work, focusing more on the upstream supply chain of our business activities, which has meant we won’t meet our target of completing six human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) by 2018. Nevertheless, we are committed to meeting this target by 2020, and since 2017 we have already completed four assessments.

By 2018

Carry out six human rights impact assessments in our upstream supply chain*.

Our result: Four human rights impact assessments have been carried out since 2017.

By 2019

Have a functioning governance structure in place in all markets that looks after human rights risks and opportunities.

Our result: In 2018, we deployed a toolkit for Market Compliance Officers to support the establishment of a governance structure to manage risks and opportunities associated with human rights at market level.

By 2020

Train all Nestlé employees on human rights.

Our result: 5014 employees trained in human rights.

* Our partners the Fair Labor Association have 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 Due Diligence (HRDD) program drives our human rights work. We use it to regularly review our salient issues, understand how we can have an impact and choose which actions to take. Our HRDD program is built on stakeholder engagement: we regularly work with people, including rights-holders, NGOs and other stakeholders, to develop our knowledge of the issues.

The HRDD program is comprised of 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 some goals are achieved or the challenges we face change.

    Since 2011, we have revised 17 different corporate policies, standards and commitments to incorporate the relevant human rights elements and language where they matter most for us, e.g. Nestlé’s Corporate Business Principles, Responsible Sourcing Standard, Employee Relations Policy, Consumers’ Communication Policy, Privacy Policy and CARE audit protocol.

    Nestle policy commitments (pdf, 0.1Mb)

  • 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 back in 2010 and then with the Fair Labor Association (cocoa and hazelnuts) and Verité (fish and seafood, and coffee).

  • Employee training is fundamental to promoting human rights, and we aim to train all of our employees on human rights. Our training programs raise awareness of human rights issues among employees and develop their skills in dealing with them.

    Since 2011, we have trained 96?599 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 HRIAs 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 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.

    Nestle policy commitments (pdf, 0.1Mb)

  • 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 work 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 HRDD 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 monitor our performance on human rights-related issues through specific procedures and mechanisms such as the CARE audit program, and the Responsible Sourcing program [Link to 2.4.4 Implement responsible sourcing].

    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 ( 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.


Infographic on SDGs mapped to salient issues

Sustainable Development Goals

The color blocks show the corresponding goal as indicated below:

Infographic on SDGs mapped to salient issues. SDG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17

Find out more

CSV - Linkbox - Global Youth Initiative
CSV - Linkbox - Global Youth Initiative

Global Youth Initiative

We’re supporting youth around the world to get educated and trained.

CSV - Linkbox - Improving livelihoods in communities
CSV - Linkbox - Improving livelihoods in communities

How we're improving livelihoods

Our 2030 ambition is to improve 30 million livelihoods in the communities where we operate.

CSV - Linkbox - Grievance mechanisms and remediation
CSV - Linkbox - Grievance mechanisms and remediation

Grievance mechanisms and remediation

Ensuring all people have the right to effective remediation and grievance mechanisms.

CSV - Linkbox - Human rights
CSV - Linkbox - Human rights

Respecting and promoting human rights

We aim to be exemplary in respecting human rights and labor practices throughout our business.

CSV - Linkbox - Promoting fair employment and diversity
CSV - Linkbox - Promoting fair employment and diversity

Promoting decent employment and diversity

Diversity strengthens our company, provides opportunities and makes Nestlé an employer of choice.


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