Respecting human rights is key in sound business governance and promoting socially sustainable growth. Clariant is committed to respecting and supporting human rights, both in our own operations, as well as in our business relationships and supply chains. This commitment is enshrined in our Human Rights Policy Statement. We expect our suppliers and business partners to maintain the same high standards with regard to human rights. Our Code of Conduct and Code of Conduct for Suppliers make it clear that we will not tolerate the use of child labor or forced labor anywhere in our business and supply chains and protect our employees’ and supply chain workers’ rights in key human rights areas, including non-discrimination, working conditions and freedom of association.
To implement these commitments, we assess, monitor and manage our human rights impacts, both in our own operations and in our supply chains, and work to make sure that we do not contribute, knowingly or unknowingly, to any adverse human rights impacts. In doing so, we rely upon our strong management and monitoring systems that enable us to detect and effectively mitigate potential human rights risks. We have established our Integrity Line to enable people to bring to our attention any concerns they may have. In addition, we strongly support collaborative initiatives aimed at promoting respect for human rights across the industry and are signatories to the UN Global Compact and the chemical industry’s Responsible Care® initiative, a member of Together for Sustainability, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The figure below illustrates key elements of our human rights due diligence process:
In 2016, we carried out a comprehensive human rights impact and due diligence assessment with the help of external human rights experts to optimize our approach to managing our human rights impacts. This involved extensive interviews with internal stakeholders, document and policy reviews as well as a detailed assessment of potential human rights impacts (such as right to health, fair working conditions, freedom of association, land rights, liberty and security), vulnerable groups (such as children, women, indigenous people, contracted labor forces, migrants and temporary workers), country-level human rights risks and existing due diligence processes.
The process enabled us to identify the human rights issues that are most relevant to our business and which we will focus our attention on to effectively prevent and mitigate human rights impacts. These include:
- Ensuring that working conditions, wages, working hours and training on workplace safety meet our standards in situations where workers are employed through third-party labor providers, especially in geographies where the national legal framework in this regard is weak.
- Monitoring and developing our approach in relation to the potential human rights impacts associated with conflicts or volatile security situations in some countries.
- In relation to our supply chain, particularly in relation to raw materials, we have identified that there may be issues with regard to workers’ human rights. Clariant procures more than 14,000 different raw materials from more than 20,000 suppliers worldwide and we expect our suppliers to maintain high standards both with regard to environmental and social sustainability. We are committed to ensuring respect for human rights in our supply chain, both generally and in relation to specific human rights issues that we become aware of.
- Clariant also complies with national requirements and emerging regulations such as the UK modern slavery act. Clariant can provide upon request the relevant policy statement detailing all the steps that have been taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of our organisation and our supply chain.
Findings of the assessment in these areas will be instrumental in further strengthening our human rights due diligence and remediation activities. As an example of follow-up activities, a dedicated Human Rights Task-Force – led by Corporate Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs and comprised of key functions such as Group Human Resources, Group Procurement Services and Group Legal, has been established. Under its supervision a number of initiatives in high-risk areas have been launched in order to verify – and eventually strengthen – how control measures are implemented at site level, with a particular focus on the main potential impacts such as contract labor and daily workers.
In addition, under the steering of Group Procurement Services, remediation plans have been initiated or strengthened for specific high-risk supply chains, such as for mica (India) and palm oil (main producing countries).
In the context of our human rights due diligence, we also closely monitor reports received through our Integrity Line, which is operated by an independent third party, available worldwide, in 32 languages and can be accessed by any internal or external stakeholder to bring to our attention any issues or concerns they may have, including in relation to human rights. We take these reports very seriously and make sure they are being followed up on and resolved, including appropriate remediation action where necessary. Information on the number of reports received through the Integrity Line, including those relating to human rights, is available in our annual Sustainability Report.
Business respect for human rights is an evolving area and we are constantly reviewing, refining and developing our approach. In the coming years Clariant will reassess on a regular basis the scope of our impacts and the effectiveness of our responses.