Human rights

While we are not exposed to the same level of human rights risk as industries such as extractives, retail or textile, we see it as our duty to protect and promote the human rights of those involved in, or affected by, our business.

We have a strong commitment to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core standards of the International Labour Organization. This is explicitly incorporated in many of our internal policies, such as our Human Rights Policy, our Code of Conduct, and our Diversity & Non-discrimination Statement.

Most potential risks we face are in our indirect business relationships and investments, which is why human rights are core to our Responsible Investment and Sustainable Procurement Policies.

When companies do not meet the standards outlined in our Responsible Investment Policy, we engage with them. For example, we've been part of the PRI collaborative engagement on Human rights and the Extractives Industry.

Human rights and supplier contracts

Our Sustainable Procurement Policy specifies what human rights we want our suppliers to uphold, and our updated Outsourcing & Supplier Risk Policy now requires our procurement functions to accommodate the human rights specified in the Sustainable Procurement Policy in our supplier contracts.

In our own operations, we have due diligence mechanisms and have incorporated human rights considerations in our business development activities. There have been instances over the year where we decided to not partner with certain parties because of concerns regarding their integrity.

Risk assessment

We carry out an annual risk assessment to assure ourselves that we are not directly or indirectly complicit in human rights violations, and we discuss the results with our local risk and compliance officers and senior management.

Our 2016 Human Rights Risk Assessment covered not only geographic risk, but also the management proficiency within our units to effectively respond to these risks. One of the conclusions was that in potential high-risk areas such as China, India and Brazil, our management proficiency is adequate. We continue to engage with our units on improving our policies, practices and risk assessment tools and will carry out our next Human Rights Risk Assessment in 2018.