Stock exchange symbol: (NESNE:SW)
Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?
Yes, Principle 4: "Human rights in our business activities" of the Nestlé Corporate Business
Principles ([link]) explicitly recognizes the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as defined in the UN Framework on Business and Human Rights.
Since 2010 we have reviewed (created or amended) 15 policies to incorporate relevant human rights elements and make our human rights commitment operational. These include:
- Policy on Marketing Communication to Children (2015)
- Commitment on Land and Land Rights in Agricultural Supply Chains (2014)
- Commitment on Water Stewardship (2014)
- Supplier Code (2013)
- Responsible Sourcing Guideline (2013)
- Commitment on Rural Development (2013)
- Commitment on Child Labour in Agricultural Supply Chains (2013)
- Human Resources Policy (2012)
- Policy on Condition of Work and Employment (2011)
- Consumers Communication Policy (2011)
- Nestlé Group Security Standard (2011)
- Employee Relations Policy (2010)
- Flexible Work Environment at Nestlé (2010)
- Policy on Transparent Interaction with Authorities (2010)
How are human rights governed in your company?
The Nestlé Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) aims to strengthen the effectiveness and improve the coordination of human rights-related activities and initiatives across the entire company.
The HRWG meets on a bi-monthly basis in order to:
- Supervise and coordinate the progress made on the implementation of human rights at the corporate and markets levels against Nestlé commitments;
- Provide strategic orientation on areas that need to be prioritized to further mainstream human rights within Nestlé structure and operations;
- Contribute technical expertise to ongoing and future human rights initiatives and activities;
- Preempt and discuss specific Nestlé-related human rights issues and any action to be taken.
The heads of the following departments or their direct reports are represented on the HRWG: Human Resources; Public Affairs; Legal; Security; Compliance; Procurement; Safety, Health and Environment; and Risk Management. The HRWG reports to the Corporate Compliance Committee and to the Issue Roundtable (both chaired by Executive Board Members) on a periodical basis. Inputs are provided directly to the Executive Board Members as needed.
In addition, specific human rights issues are addressed by the Child Labour Action Group and the Operations Water Task Force, both chaired by Executive Board Members. In December 2014, our CEO Paul Bulcke delivered a keynote speech at the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights presenting our approach to human rights and his role as Nestlé’s CEO in this area. ([link])
How are human rights managed within your company?
We deliver on our responsibility to respect human rights at the corporate level and across country operations through the implementation of our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme. The Programme is made of 8 pillars that are described below. For more information on the progress we have made against each of these pillars, see section 9 of this survey or visit our website: [link]
Pillar #1 – Policy commitments: We integrate human rights into new and existing Nestlé policies and procedures. Since 2010 we have reviewed (created or amended) 15 policies and policy commitments to include relevant human rights elements [more information is provided as part of section 1 “Policy commitment” of this survey]
Pillar #2 – Stakeholder engagement: We engage with a range of international and local stakeholders, including government agencies, international organisations, trade unions, business associations, civil society organisations and academia to discuss specific issues and improve our practices. Human rights issues are systematically integrated into our global stakeholder consultations. In addition engagement with local stakeholders and rights-holders is a core dimension of our Human Rights Impact Assessments (see also below Pillar #5 for more information).
Pillar #3 – Training: We train our employees on human rights in order to raise their awareness and make them understand how human rights apply in their daily activities. We also provide targeted training to specific departments and functions such as the Nestlé Group Audit, Human Resources, Legal, Security, etc.
Pillar #4 – Risk evaluation: We evaluate human rights risks across our business activities to assess the likelihood and severity of human rights risks to our business. High human rights risks are integrated into our Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) system. High risks are reported to the Executive Board Members.
Pillar #5 – Impact assessments: Together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights, we conduct specific Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) in high-risk countries. In 2013 we released a joint white paper called “Talking the Human Rights Walk” ([link]) presenting the key outcomes of our first seven HRIAs. HRIAs are a unique opportunity for us to engage in-depth discussions with Nestlé employees, suppliers, local communities and stakeholders in different regions. These assessments also inform us about the challenges we face on the ground, and help us implement effective action plans to address gaps between international human rights standards and current practices, both at the corporate and country levels.
Pillar #6 – Coordination: Our human rights activities are carefully coordinated across our business activities though the Nestlé Human Rights Working Group (HRWG). It gathers eight departments heads or their representatives (Human Resources; Public Affairs; Legal; Security; Compliance; Procurement; Safety, Health and Environment; and Risk Management) that meet on a bi-monthly basis to review progress against the Human Rights Due Diligence Programme, and to discuss and address specific human rights issues.
Pillar #7 – Partnerships: We partner with expert organisations to implement our human rights commitments and activities on the ground. In 2014, we renewed our two-year partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR). We are also an official affiliate company of the Fair Labor Association (FLA), which helps us address labour standards, and child labour in particular, in our supply chain. Our work with both of these organisations is key to the success of our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme (see also section 8 of this survey “External and collaborative human rights initiatives” for more information).
Pillar #8 – Monitoring & Reporting: Human rights have been incorporated into our internal and external audit and monitoring procedures, both at the operations (CARE and Nestlé Group Audits) and supply chain (Responsible Sourcing Audits and Traceability Assessments) levels. This helps us verify how effectively human rights have been integrated into way of doing business on an ongoing basis. Our Integrity Reporting System enables our employees to report any illegal or non-compliant behaviour they observe – anonymously if they wish. Tell Us allows our suppliers and external stakeholders to report any suspected violations of regulations, laws and our own policies through the internet or by phone. Every year we report on human rights performance against these 8 pillars and the GRI G4 indicators as part of our Nestlé in Society Report. We also report our progress against the UN Global Compact Principles at an advanced/LEAD level.
What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?
We engage with stakeholders and rights-holders at different levels and through different channels.
Every year we conduct two global stakeholder consultations (one in London and the other in a country operation) where human rights issues, among other topics such as nutrition, water and rural development, are discussed with representatives from governments, international organisations, civil society organisation and academia. Engaging with local stakeholder and rights-holders is a core dimension of the Human Rights Impact Assessment we conduct in high-risk countries. During a HRIA various people, groups and organizations are interviewed and consulted, with a particular focus on impacted rightsholders. The assessment team (Nestlé and the Danish Institute for Human Rights) further distinguishes between rights-holders who are internal to the company (e.g. workers) and rightsholders who are external to the company (e.g. local community members, consumers, contracted workers in the supply chain, farmers, etc.). The various stakeholders are selected for inclusion in the impact assessment through stakeholder mapping and analysis undertaken by the assessment team prior to the assessment. For more information, please see “Talking the Human Rights Walk” ([link], p.22-25).
In April 2014, we organised a stakeholder consultation on our approach to human rights and rural development, including the nexus between these two topics in the context of Nestlé’sbusiness activities. The roundtable gathered twenty human rights and rural development experts from NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, think tanks, consultancies and trade associations. The Danish Institute for Human Rights facilitated the panel discussion on Human Rights Impact Assessments. SustainAbility acted as rapporteur. A summary of the stakeholder views expressed during this event has been made public on our website ([link]).
In October 2013, Nestlé and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations, (IUF) signed up to Joint Operating Principles for how we will work together in the future. We have committed to bi-annual meetings to be attended by an IUF leadership team, trade union representatives from around the world and a Nestlé leadership team, with agenda items proposed by both parties. Additionally, two working groups have also been established with representatives from either organisation, with a focus on gender equality for non-managerial positions and working conditions. More than 50% of our 340,000 employees are covered by collective agreements that are negotiated at the local level between Nestlé management and employees’ representatives.
Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?
Health (including workplace health & safety, prevention of pollution)
- Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
- Forced labour and human trafficking (including in supply chains)Freedom of association and trade union rightsHousing
- Access to water
- Freedom of expression and/or right to privacy / digital rights
- Children (including child labour)
- Migrant workers
- Land acquisition/tenure
- Living wage
- Working hours
- Corruption and bribery
Actions on 'other' issues
For each of the priorities identified above, specific action plans has been elaborated and implemented.
This is an example of how we are addressing one of these priorities a specific sector and country, i.e. child labour in the cocoa supply chain in Côte d’Ivoire. In 2013, we started rolling out a Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) in Côte d’Ivoire to help us identify specific instances of child labour (monitoring) and enable us to take appropriate measures to address them (remediation).
The CLMRS is a key component of both our Action Plan on the Responsible Sourcing of Cocoa from Côte d’Ivoire (“FLA Action Plan”: [link] and our Cocoa Plan ([link]). Together with the International Cocoa Initiative, our implementing partner for this project, we are seeking to create an environment where child labour is recognised as a serious and complex issue that can only be addressed through a comprehensive stakeholder effort involving local communities, government cocoa farmer co-operatives, suppliers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs),government agencies and other relevant bodies. In order to ensure that it is effective, the CLMRS has been built into the structure of our cocoa supply chain, allowing us to leverage our relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders to deliver on our commitments in this area. It complements other aspects of the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, which are designed to increase farmer productivity and income, helping them out of poverty.
The main actors of the CLMRS:
- Community Liaison People. The first integral step of the CLMRS is active work together with the communities where the farmers live. By the end of 2014, Nestlé had recruited 332 Community Liaison People, whose role is to engage with local community households to gather all the data that is required to better understand the environment in which they live and to identify issues related to child labour risks. In 2014, Community Liaison People had interviewed 9,059 producers among the 12,537 registered cocoa farmers in the first 22 farmer cooperatives (co-ops); 23,426 children were included within the range of these assessments. This data is collected through specific templates thatthe Community Liaison People can access on cell phones provided by Nestlé and ICI. Once this data has been gathered, the information is consolidated by the Co-op Child Labour Agent (see below). The Community Liaison People report situations in which children are at risk, and organise awareness-raising activities in the communities to prevent child labour. By the end of 2014, 12,458 farmers and 35,736 community members had been sensitized to child labour as part of the CLMRS.
- Co-op Child Labour Agents. As part of the CLMRS, each farming co-op that works with Nestlé needs to have a dedicated Child Labour Agent (CLA). The agent consolidates all of the information provided by the communities and passes this information along the chain. Furthermore, the Child Labour Agent is responsible for proposing child labour prevention and remediation efforts based on the information and data collected in each community, and for ensuring that these activities are followed through. The CLMRS in the Cote d’Ivoire currently involves 18 Child Labour Agents and 699 co-op managers have been trained by ICI on child labour issues.
- Suppliers. The next part of the system is suppliers. Nestlé currently works with six main suppliers in the Cote d’Ivoire. Raising their awareness on child labour and building their capacities in this area is a key success factor of the CLMRS. 68 suppliers’ staff members, including agronomists, have been trained by ICI on child labour so far. Suppliers play a key role in the engagement process with the co-op managers to explain how the CLMRS works and what is expected from them as part of the system. In addition, each of these suppliers employs agronomists on the ground level that have been trained on child labour. 9,436 cocoa field visits had been performed by the end of 2014.
- Nestlé. The last link in the chain is Nestlé. In total, 64 Nestlé staff members have received a training on child labour provided by ICI. Nestlé Cote d’Ivoire has a dedicatedchild labour manager who coordinates the overall implementation and functioning of the CLMRS. In close collaboration with ICI, her tasks are to:
- Ensure that the CLMRS is rolled out to all the Nestlé Cocoa Plan co-ops by the end of 2016, and engage with individual co-ops to secure they buy-in along this journey.
- Participate in the recruitment process of the Community Liaison People and the Co-op Child Labour Agents
- Consolidate the data and information gathered through the CLMRS,
- Make sure that each child labour case identified is remediated in a timely manner and in the best interest of the child or children involved
- Develop of funding model for the CLMRS that is financially sustainable over the long term.
The CLMRS would not be functioning properly without the support provided by ICI and the FLA, which play complementary roles as part of the system. ICI is involved in work at a ground level, and has increased staff members in order to extend the roll-out of the CLMR by:
- Recruiting Community Liaison People and Child Labour Agents
- Collating and coordinating the child labour database
- Training all the different actors of the CLMRS on child labour but also on their role as part of the system
- Conducting awareness raising sessions on child labour to farmers and local communities
- Collecting KPIs for the purpose of reporting on the overall performance of the CLMRS
The FLA, on the other hand, plays a different role, by ensuring that Nestlé as a company becomes progressively compliant with their own code of conduct. The FLA organises its own external audits and sends auditors to the co-ops to ensure that we meet the FLA code of conduct as well as the Nestlé action plan. Their role tends towards auditing rather than implementation. Audits are published together with our responses on the FLA website ([link]).
The CLMRS has helped us identify 2,965 children (around 13% of children surveyed) who were involved in hazardous tasks, classified as child labour. We have ensured a systematic follow-up with 1,677 children so far and 616 of them have already benefited from remediation work, including providing school kits, securing birth certificates, and developing income-generating activities for 312 families of identified children, with the remaining cases being investigated further. The successful application of any remediation activity requires its adaption to the particularity of each situation and each individual. However, many of the communities in which the CLMRS is being implemented suffer from severe local impediments, the most key of which occur in the field of education: through a lack of schools, and the personal difficulties faced by families in sending children to school, such as income deficiencies or lack of birth certificates. Of the 23,426 children of farmers who are members of the 22 CLMRS co-ops, only 13,839 (59%) attend school. So far, Nestlé has built 40 schools in communities most at need benefitting over 11,000 children. But to be successful dedicated efforts are required from all the relevant stakeholders, including the government, NGOs, international organisations, suppliers and the farmer communities themselves. Industry-wide collaboration through CocoaAction. CocoaAction, a strategy launched in May 2014, brings the world’s leading cocoa and chocolate companies together to accelerate sustainability and improve the livelihoods of cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.
As part of its community development pillar, CocoaAction stresses the importance of a proper monitoring and remediation system at the community level to address the issue of child labour.
CocoaAction will help scale up and replicate the child labour monitoring and remediation model much beyond Nestlé’s supply chain to potentially bring about a real change in this area.
How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?
Internal communication and awareness-raising
“Human rights in our business activities” is one of our 10 Corporate Business Principles. These Principles haven been distributed to each of our 340,000 employees and regular training on each of these Principles is provided to them. In addition, as part of Pillar #3 of our Human Rights Due Diligence we train our employees on human rights in order to raise their awareness and make them understand how human rights apply in their daily activities. Priority has been given to employees working in high-risk countries.
By the end of 2014, we had trained around 50,000 employees. In 2014, we publicly committed to training all employees working in FTSE4Good countries of concern by the end of 2015.
In 2014, we made public specific corporate commitments in the areas of nutrition; rural development and responsible sourcing; water; environmental sustainability; and human rights
and compliance to be met by the end of 2015. Human rights commitments are as follows:
- Assess and address human rights impacts in our operations and supply chains:
By 2015: All FTSE4Good countries of concern where we have significant involvement are covered and employees trained; Include human rights across all 12 commodities covered by the Nestlé Responsible Sourcing Guideline
- Eliminate child labour in key commodities (cocoa, hazelnuts, vanilla).
By 2015: Completed action plans for cocoa, hazelnuts and vanilla, with 60,000 farmers trained on child work/labour practices; 60 schools built or renovated; and 80% of coops covered by a child labour monitoring and remediation system (100% by 2016).
As part of Pillar #8 of our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme, we report every year on the progress we make against these commitments and the eight pillars of our Programme. We also
report on our human rights performance against the GRI G4 indicators and the 10 Global Compact Principles at an advanced/LEAD level. “Human rights and compliance” is a dedicated chapter of our Nestlé in Society report ([link]). In December 2013, together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights we released a white paper called “Talking the Human Rights Walk” ([link]) presenting the key outcomes of our HRIAs. HRIAs are a unique opportunity for us to engage indepth discussions with Nestlé employees, suppliers, local communities and stakeholders in different regions. These assessments also inform us about the challenges we face on the ground, and help us implement effective action plans to address gaps between international human rights standards and current practices, both at the corporate and country levels. In December 2014, our CEO delivered a keynote speech at the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights presenting our approach to human rights and some of the challenges we face in this area ([link])
What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?
As part of Pillar #8 of our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme (monitoring), we have developed an Integrity Reporting System that enables our employees to report any illegal or non-compliant behaviour they observe on an anonymously basis. Tell Us allows our suppliers and external stakeholders to report any suspected violations of regulations, laws and Nestlé’s policies through the internet or by phone.
As part of Pillar #5 (human rights impact assessments) of our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme, we engage with external stakeholder and right-holders, including workers and local
communities. This engagement is a great opportunity to hear their concerns. Their inputs form the basis of the HRIA Action Plans that seek to address individual and collectives concerns and issues raised during these interviews. The Talking the Human Rights Walk ([link], p.26-33) provides a summary of the findings from the first seven HRIAs we conducted as well as how they were addressed at the local and corporate level.
Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?
Below is a selection of the organizations we work with on human rights related issues. For a full
list of our partnerships, please see our Nestlé in Society Report ([link]):
- Danish Institute for Human Rights: Partner
- Fair Labor Association: Affiliate company
- Fairtrade: Partner
- ILO Child Labour Platform: Member
- International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent: Partner
- Roundtables on Sustainable Palm Oil, Responsible Soy and Better Sugar (Bonsucro): Members
- Rainforest Alliance: Partner
- Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform (SAI): Founding member
- UN Global Compact: LEAD company; We currently participate in the following LEAD Task Forces and UNGC working groups: LEAD Post-2015 Development Agenda; LEAD Task Force on UN–Business Partnerships; CEO Water Mandate; Food and Agriculture Business Principles; Human Rights and Labour Working Group; Advisory Group on Supply Chain Sustainability; LEAD Task Force on Realizing Long Term Value for Companies and Investors
- UTZ: Partner
- World Business Council for Sustainable Development: Member
- Water Footprint Network: Member
Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.
“Human rights in our business activities” is one of our 10 Corporate Business Principles that were revised in 2010. In 2011, we started implementing our our 8-Pillar Human Rights Due
Diligence Programme that is fully aligned with the UN Guiding Principles. Since then we have:
Pillar #1 – Policy commitments: Reviewed 15 Nestlé policies and procedures to include relevant human rights standards, such as in the updated Supplier Code.
Pillar #2 – Stakeholder engagement: Engaged with 100s of stakeholders, including NGOs, to discuss global and local human rights issues and dilemmas in order to improve existing practices.
Pillar #3 – Training: Trained around 50,000 Nestlé employees in 64 countries to raise their awareness on this topic.
Pillar #4 – Risk evaluation: Identified and acted upon 43 global human rights risks, such as child labour in our supply chain).
Pillar #5 – Impact assessments: Assessed the potential impacts of our business activities on human rights in nine countries: Colombia, Nigeria, Angola, Sri Lanka, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and Pakistan.
Pillar #6 – Coordination: Set up a corporate Human Rights Working Group to supervise and coordinate our human rights approach at the corporate and market levels.
Pillar #7 – Partnerships: Signed two major partnerships with the Danish Institute for Human Rights and the Fair Labor Association in order to help us deliver on our corporate commitments in this area.
Pillar #8 – Monitoring & Reporting: Every year we report on our human rights performance against the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) indicators as part of our Nestlé in Society Report.
What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?
Some of the main challenges we face in the implementation of our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme are:
- The lack of coordination among governments, international and civil society organisations and business to tackle systemic human rights issues such as child labour, food security, access to water and sanitation, etc.
- The low level of awareness and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights among government officials, business partners and civil society organisations in most countries where we operate.
- The roll out our Human Rights Due Diligence Programme to our +340,000 employees, +160,000 tier-1 suppliers and the +5 million upstream suppliers located all around the world, including in high-risk countries. In December 2014, our CEO delivered a keynote speech at the UN Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights presenting our approach to human rights and some of the challenges we face in this area ([link])