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As a global company, Essity impacts millions of people’s lives every day, from employees and consumers to suppliers and our communities. With our hygiene and health solutions, we support people around the world to improve their well-being in a sustainable way. Caring for people’s well-being and supporting human dignity is a fundamental part of our identity. To retain the trust of our stakeholders we must uphold these values wherever in the world we operate.
The responsibility to implement our human rights commitments follows our line management structure, with the support of functions such as Human resources, Legal Affairs, Communications and Global Brand, Innovation and Sustainability.
To safeguard compliance and efforts, the Essity human rights commitments are overseen and followed up by Essity Compliance department, reporting findings on these matters into Essity’s Compliance Council, which includes members of the Executive Management Team.
Our approach to human rights is based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact, we actively support human rights and conduct our business in a manner that is consistent with the principles of the Global Compact, the International Bill of Human Rights, the ILO Core Conventions and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Human rights due diligence is integrated into our key processes, and whenever we identify a potential or actual negative impact we will take steps to mitigate or remediate any harmful activities.
We support and respect internationally recognized human rights wherever we operate. When national laws conflict with international human rights standards, we will adhere to national law, while seeking ways to honor and respect the principles of international human rights.
Our human right´s commitment is reflected throughout our Code of Conduct and other company policies. Our suppliers and other business partners are expected to adhere to similar standards to those reflected in our Code. Compliance with such standards is a prime factor when selecting our business partners.
Essity’s human rights due diligence process was developed in 2014 with the support of BSR, a non-profit organization who supports businesses in adopting sustainable practices. The process is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which ensures that we proactively detect and respond to any adverse human rights impact including the business actions to respect and support children’s rights.
The Essity Human Right Impact Assessment (HRIA) process include group level HRIAs every third year and in the years between, local impact assessments in different countries with focus on the risks highlighted in the group HRIA. The latest group level HRIA was performed in early 2019 and the next country impact assessments are in plan for the next three-year period. Recent local impact assessments have been carried out in Mexico, Chile and Brazil (2016-2018).
Essity’s salient human rights issues are defined through a group-wide risk mapping process made by a multi-disciplinary team across the group. The Universal Declaration of Human rights https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ is used in the exercise, where risks are rated based on impact on rights-holders rather than impact on business. Our commitment to mitigate human right risk are demonstrated in our Code of Conduct.
Based on the group-wide risk mapping, three internal processes have been reviewed and strengthened to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impact.
All our main production sites are required to report into Sedex, a global platform for sharing ethical data. The areas to be disclosed are labor conditions, health and safety, business ethics and environmental management. An annual review takes place to evaluate the sites with respect to reported areas. The sites at risk are either required to submit a corrective action plan based on the findings, and/or be subject to a Code of Conduct audit to verify compliance.
For high-risk regions where the above-mentioned procedure is not deemed enough, a regional impact assessment is conducted with the regional management team. The assessment mirrors Essity’s global process when defining its salient issues and results in mitigation/corrective action plans for all sites in the high-risk region.
Our supply chain
Essity continuously perform risk assessment of our suppliers, including an evaluation from a human rights perspective. Essity also request our suppliers to share their human rights status via Sedex, as we do for our own production sites.
Essity’s sourcing personnel related to strategic purchasing are also trained to assess and identify human rights risks in their activities and interactions with suppliers.
All suppliers are requested to sign Essity’s Global Supplier Standard, including demands related to respect for human rights, and may be subject to a social audit followed by a corrective action plan. Decision on additional risk mitigation are taken case by case, based on risk assessments
We have identified elevated labor related risks in parts of our supply chain, for example where migrant workers are at increased risk of exploitation. For more information about our work with supply chain management see our Annual and Sustainability Reports non-financial note H11.
Essity’s fiber purchase is centralized on a global level. All fresh fiber must originate from responsibly managed forests – forests that are managed under good labor conditions and with respect for indigenous people’s rights. By requiring that all wood fiber must be certified according to FSC® or PEFC™ standards, we aim to ensure that the materials in our products are delivered with respect to people and nature. https://www.essity.com/sustainability/how-we-do-it/responsible-sourcing/sustainability-target-fibre-sourcing/
Access to hygiene and health products and solutions is vital when it comes to ensuring people’s well-being, good health and livelihood, and the development of society. As a company offering these products, Essity aims to assume responsibility for the entire life cycle of its products, even after they have been used. Essity and our brands work across three platforms: Well-being, More from less and Circularity.
Essity follows strict requirements and procedures to ensure that all materials in the company’s products are safe for consumers, employees and the environment. There are global product safety guidelines https://www.essity.com/sustainability/reporting-and-data/product-safety/ in place for all products to ensure that they are safe for their intended purpose.
We recognize children as stakeholders who require special protection. Guided by the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, http://childrenandbusiness.org/ we respect and support children’s rights in our business and society. We do not accept child labor or other forms of exploitation of children in our operation or value chain and will always strictly follow applicable national laws and international standards regarding minimum working age. When our activities impact children, we will have their best interests in mind.
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