Human rights are basic rights and freedoms to which all people are entitled. As a company, we have an impact on millions of people every day, from employees and consumers to suppliers and communities. Essity supports and respects human rights wherever we operate and we follow the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as well as the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.
With our hygiene solutions, Essity helps people live healthier and more sustainable lives. By spreading knowledge and breaking taboos around topics such as menstruation and incontinence, we support women’s freedom to participate fully in society and allow the elderly to grow old with dignity. And when conflicts or natural disasters strike, our hygiene products play an essential role in fulfilling people’s basic needs.
We also have a responsibility to manage the negative impacts that may be caused or contributed to by our activities. We therefore work proactively to continuously assess and address our impact in the area of human rights.
Identifying the most salient human rights issues
Essity, together with the non-profit organization BSR, has mapped out and identified its human rights risks through a Group-wide human rights impact assessment process. The risks are graded not by their impact on the business, but by their impact on the individual. The assessment revealed three main risk areas:
- Labor-related risks, including occupational health and safety, discrimination, and right to equal work for equal pay in our direct and indirect operations (supply chain).
- Land rights risks associated with the sourcing of timber, fiber, and pulp – especially where indigenous communities are present.
- Risks related to water use by Essity’s operations located in water-scarce regions which may infringe on local communities’ rights to water and sanitation.
Essity treats its employees with fairness, dignity and respect. With a strong commitment expressed in our core values and our Code of Conduct, we work proactively to integrate these principles into our daily business.
Read more about the Code of Conduct.
We have a zero-accident vision for workplace accidents – no one should have to risk their health at work.
Read more about the company’s target and work related to health and safety.
The responsibility to uphold respect for human rights and labor standards does not stop at our premises. We choose responsible business partners that share our values and we work with our suppliers to make mutually beneficial improvements with respect to social and environmental performance.
Reporting violations and grievances
Potential violations of our Code of Conduct, including serious human rights infringements, can be reported via a number of channels such as through a line manager, HR Director, legal councel or union representative. A number of Code of Conduct hotlines, operated by third party are also available in the Nordic and Baltic countries, Russia, the UK, several countries in central and eastern Europe as well as Latin America. Substantiated violations and actions taken are reported in our annual sustainability report, in which we also publish the Code of Conduct audit findings from our production units.
Essity publically reports its challenges and progress in human rights areas in its annual sustainability report, adhering to Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, G4 Core and applying the reporting framework for the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights .