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Jul 06, 2015

Unilever releases first Human Rights Report as part of regular reporting

Report highlights top goals for next three years in labor, environment, equality and other issues

Unilever has published its first Human Rights Report, covering the company’s work related to women’s rights, human trafficking, workplace safety, the environment and a range of other issues, as part of a new annual voluntary reporting process.

The 63-page report, based on the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, also outlines Unilever’s human rights-related goals for the next three years, including improving collection of data related to human rights, intensifying its focus on the social and environmental impact of commodities such as tea, soy, palm oil and non-renewables, and the development of quantitative metrics for better human rights reporting.

‘We have 172,000 employees, 76,000 suppliers and sales in more than 190 countries across the globe, with varying cultural norms and socio-economic challenges,’ says Marcela Manubens, Unilever’s global vice president of social impact, in a news release.

‘We will know that we have been successful when all 172,000 of these people around the world understand what this agenda means in their job, and are empowered into action. We have a long way to go and we cannot do this alone – but being honest about the challenge we face is crucial to making progress.’

The report outlines a three-part strategy, starting with assessing the company’s current situation related to human rights, which Unilever says is basically complete. The second part entails a focus on building awareness within the company and its suppliers, and improving its capacity for human rights reporting. The third step, which it calls ‘moving from doing no harm to doing good’, commits the company to promote best practices across industries with poor human rights records.

The report also states Unilever’s five key areas of focus: transparency, stakeholder consultation, the creation of models to promote collective responsibility among suppliers and other partners, partnerships with government and development agencies, and the creation of new business models to sustain human rights.