Unilever examines its treatment of workers in new human rights report

Unilever examines its treatment of workers in new human rights report

Unilever has today published its inaugural human rights report, making it the first major company to report on the well-being of its workers and the degree to which their rights are upheld.

The ‘Enhancing Livelihoods, Advancing Human Rights’ report, outlines Unilever’s goal not only to respect human rights but to actively advance them across all areas of its business. It documents areas where the company has taken significant steps forward, and assesses some of the challenges ahead. The report has attracted praise from international charities such as Oxfam.

Unilever employs a total of 172,000 workers in more than 190 countries. The report details Unilever’s work to empower women, its progress in the fight against sexual harassment, and addressing health and safety issues across the supply chain. It also describes key areas of focus for the future, which include addressing human rights issues beyond first-tier suppliers, working conditions for migrant labour, and continuing to collaborate with other organisations in order to influence systemic change.

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever said, “Business can only flourish in societies in which human rights are respected, upheld and advanced. People are our greatest asset, and empowering them across our supply chain is not only the right thing to do, but also ensures a sustainable future for the business.

“As we look ahead to the agreement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September and to the prospect of a global climate agreement in Paris at the end of the year, it is a fitting time to open an honest discussion about human rights.

“The effects of climate change threaten us all, with expected impacts hitting the poorest people and communities the hardest. They are often also those most at risk from negative human rights impacts. It is no longer enough for business to merely respect human rights. Our role must be far more active to ensure we succeed in our commitment.”