Nestlé’s way of doing business, which it calls ‘Creating Shared Value’, aims to provide opportunities and improve livelihoods for the communities in which it operates, while developing its own activities.
The company can only achieve this through strict compliance with international standards and national laws that respect stakeholder rights, and its own corporate values and principles that have been established over 150 years.
Human rights and compliance is one of the key areas in which Nestlé has set 38 commitments that it aims to meet by 2020 or earlier. Other areas include nutrition, rural development, water, and environmental sustainability, as part of the Nestlé in society report ‘Creating Shared Value and meeting our commitments 2014’.
Setting and maintaining the highest business standards and codes in its worldwide activities along its value chain, like making it easier to report and address possible compliance violations, aim to make Nestlé more effective in its approach to compliance. It also looks to ensure that human rights are respected.
“Compliance is non-negotiable in every aspect of our business,” said Kais Marzouki, Market Head for Nestlé in the Central and West Africa Region (CWAR).
Our strong principles and policies, together with a culture which is open to feedback and honest discussions, nourishes continuous improvement and empowers us. It helps us do the “right” thing in all situations,” he added.
Nestlé’s approach to human rights aims to balance the needs of confidentiality and transparency while respecting local legislations and practices.
One way Nestlé is doing this is by encouraging its employees, suppliers, distributors and stakeholders to report any potential non-compliance through its reporting systems.
The company is offering them the opportunity to voice their concerns on the dedicated external global communication channel ‘Tell us’ and internal Integrity Reporting System, as part of its commitment to ensure that all employees and stakeholders can easily report possible compliance violations.
They can report potential instances of non-compliance with its Corporate Business Principles or laws, both internal and external. The principles, available in over 50 different languages, not only require strict compliance with the law, they also guide Nestlé’s actions across the whole company and provide clear guidance to all its employees.
‘Tell us’ is a Nestlé-led global initiative that is being rolled out in CWAR as a pilot in 2015, allowing stakeholders to report non-compliance occurrences in confidence or ask for information on its practices. Suppliers and distributors in the region are being informed about the system, with details highlighted in all new contracts and training materials.
By 2016, Nestlé aims to highlight the existence of confidential reporting lines and continue to scale up communication about ‘Tell us’ to its suppliers and business partners.
Internally, Nestlé employees in the region and worldwide can also file an anonymous report through the ‘Nestlé Integrity Reporting System’, via phone or online. They can report any non-compliant behaviour they observe, as well as seek advice or information on its practices.
It was introduced to Nestlé sites in Central and West Africa in 2012 and awareness of its existence is continuing to be reinforced across the business.
Addressing human rights
Nestlé is also committed to assess and address human rights impacts in its operations and supply chain by continuing to review and address what effect its business activities have on human rights.
Its CARE (Compliance Assessment of Human Resources, Safety, Health and Environment and Business Integrity) audit programme verifies that all its employees and sites comply with local legislations, the Nestlé Corporate Business Principles and the Nestlé Code of Business Conduct.
The audits, carried out every three years, are performed by three international and independent companies: SGS, Bureau Veritas and Intertek.
CARE audits aim to provide employees with efficient, safe and improved work sites and help to identify any workplace gaps.
Human Rights Day
The company’s efforts to ensure that its employees to stakeholders report inappropriate or illegal practices or actions highlight the importance of the annual United Nations’ Human Rights Day on December 10.
Nestlé investigates all complaints with impartiality and prohibits retaliation for reports made. When a breach is uncovered, it acts to put an end to it and takes appropriate action and measures.