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, Essity’s Human Rights Policy and other company policies. All our business partners, suppliers and customers are expected to follow principles equivalent to those included in Essity’s Code of Conduct. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and our Business Partner Code of Conduct includes our expectations regarding human rights and employee relations as well as health and safety. Compliance with such standards is a prime factor when selecting our business partners.
Essity’s human rights due diligence process
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) and India 2020. As a result of the assessment in India, a three-year mitigation plan has been decided with the objectives to strengthen the human right activities for the local supply chain, increase our efforts to raise awareness on employee’s psychosocial well-being and gender inequality.
Defining salient issues
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 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.