Our commitment to respect human rights is made explicit in our standalone Human Rights Position Statement (launched in 2017), our Code of Conduct and our Business Partner Code of Conduct.
As part of our core principles and in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), we are committed in our operations and across our value chain to respecting all internationally recognized human rights as set out in the International Bill of Human Rights (consisting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
We support the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. We expect all our business partners to respect human rights and apply equivalent principles, and we seek to actively support them in their implementation where needed.
Our commitment is led from the top. Our Executive Committee is responsible for ensuring that our company operates in line with our core principles of Integrity, Safety and Sustainability, including our commitment to respect human rights. In 2016, the Executive Committee installed a Human Rights Committee – reporting to our Executive Committee – with responsibility for creating, implementing and maintaining the company’s human rights framework, based on the United Nations Guiding Principles.
The committee is cross-functional and includes the directors of compliance; internal audit; health, safety, environment and security; procurement; operations; people development and occupational health; the legal counsel for human rights; and the manager of sustainability reporting. The committee meets quarterly and discusses the effectiveness and progress of the human rights framework. The day-to-day responsibility for the company’s human rights performance lies within the Compliance function, which works intensively together with our businesses and other functions.
Sustainable performance and respect for human rights is incentivized through the targets set in AkzoNobel’s short term incentive for all executives and middle managers. This includes the company’s efforts with regard to respect for human rights.
All employees have sustainability as part of their objectives and short term incentives, where applicable. All employees must have completed our Code of Conduct training and confirm that they have understood and acted in accordance with the Code of Conduct in their annual performance evaluation form. Human rights are one of the focus areas in our Code of Conduct. Various internal policies and rules are in place and include topics such as child labor, discrimination and harassment.
In addition, at the end of the year, managers must confirm through the Non-Financial Letter of Representation process that their business was operated in accordance with the Code of Conduct, including principles on respect for human rights. If deficiencies are noted, they must set and execute actions to remedy them.