Essity B 241.1 (-1.6 SEK) on 27-Feb-2024 13:34


Human rights

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. 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 principles

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. Following these standards is an important factor when selecting our business partners and potential acquisitions. For more details on how we work with human rights, see Essity Human Right Framework

Essity’s human rights due diligence process

Essity’s human rights due diligence process was developed in 2014.  The process is guided by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct, 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 late 2022 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 the Human Right Impact Assessment (HRIA) process.  In our Global Impact assessment report for 2022 we describe assessment methodology, outcome and our mitigation activities. In no specific order, Essity’s salient human rights issues are: 


Integrating findings into business processes 

Based on the outcome from our Human Right Impact Assessments, three internal processes have been reviewed and strengthened to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impact, see below.

1. Labor-related risks

Our operations

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 

2. Rights to land

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. Learn more about how we work with responsible fiber sourcing.

3. Access to health and hygiene

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.

  • Well-being is about how we care for people. For us at Essity, well-being means a healthy state of both mind and body. We enable more people every day to live a fuller life together with families, friends and colleagues and in society. 
  • More from less refers to our commitment to sustainable consumption. For us, this means being innovative in how we meet consumer and customer needs. We continuously reduce resources across the entire life-cycle of our products and services. 
  • Circularity is about our ambition to design products and services that fit into a circular society. It means that we commit to increasing the use of renewable or recycled materials as well as the re-use, recycling of all products and composting of tissue products

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 in place for all products to ensure that they are safe for their intended purpose. 

Children’s rights

We recognize children as stakeholders who require special protection. Guided by the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, 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.

Karin Henrikson

Vice President Compliance and Ethics

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