Our salient human rights issues

We are determined to address our salient human rights issues wherever they arise.

Defined in 2014 and 2015, our 11 salient human rights issues are those issues that stand out because of their significant potential negative impact (or ‘salience’) through our activities or business relationships.

This concept of salience begins from the perspective of risk to people, not the business, while recognizing that where risks to people’s human rights are greatest, there is strong convergence with risk to the business.

Our 11 salient human rights issues

Access to grievance mechanisms

We have robust systems in place to ensure we can address compliance breaches and give people who work for us, as well as external stakeholders, the ability to report grievances. The challenge remains in setting up effective grievance mechanisms in remote areas, where access to technology is limited and the culture of reporting noncompliances absent.

Access to water and sanitation

Clean water for food, sanitation and hygiene is a basic human right, and we’re dedicated to ensuring people have access to it. Three in 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and six in 10 lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities.

Child labor

Leveraging our supply chain partners and collaborating with other key stakeholders, we’re dedicated to addressing child labor in our supply chains. Approximately 152 million children are victims of child labor worldwide, and half of those are engaged in hazardous work.

Data protection and privacy

Upholding ethical principles in our business and throughout our value chain is fundamental to how we operate and underpins consumer trust and our license to operate. The right to privacy is embedded in the , and this applies to personal data too.

Forced labor

Labor rights are at the core of many of our salient issues, and we’re implementing wide-ranging programs to ensure good conditions for workers in our supply chain. In 2016, 24.9 million people were trapped in forced labor around the world (). Women and girls are disproportionately affected by forced labor.

Freedom of association and collective bargaining

The freedom to join trade unions and bargain collectively is at the core of workers’ rights. We aim to support all our employees in being members of unions, while promoting freedom of association in our supply chain.

Land acquisition

Because we work with farming communities around the world, land rights is an ever-present issue. We’re dedicated to remaining vigilant against any invasion of rights and upholding people’s rights to land and resources. Read about an example of our work in this area within our palm oil supply chain.

Living wage

Everyone is entitled to fair work, and a living wage is an essential component of this. A living wage is what an individual needs to earn to live a decent life and to participate fully in society.

Safety and health

Our approach toward employees’ health is holistic, including physical and mental health dimensions and addressing both work- and non-work-related aspects of health. There are 2.78 million work-related deaths per year, and poor health and safety costs about 3.94% of global GDP ().

Workers’ accommodation and access to basic services

We are dedicated to securing good conditions for workers throughout our supply chain. Many of those around the world who are in work are forced to deal with poor accommodation and a lack of basic services. Read about an example of our work within our sugar supply chain.

Working time

We’re dedicated to guaranteeing labor rights for all people who work with or for us, directly or indirectly. Working time is a key element of this. Excessive working hours can be detrimental to the health of individuals and families.


Our approach

We have developed an action plan for each of these issues – except for Land Acquisition, in which we work on individual cases, such as in palm oil – which allows us to systematically identify, resolve and eliminate human rights abuses where we find them. Reflecting the unique challenges of each issue, these action plans allow us to focus our work and achieve results in steady, measurable ways.

Within Nestlé, our salient issues are always monitored and under regular discussion. We also work with our partners – organizations like the , the and – to continually review the situation in our supply chains. This enables us to review our action plans and ensure that they are as effective as they can be.

We are also vigilant to new or emerging issues, and these are captured through the boards and committees that are dedicated to monitoring our human rights work.

Human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) and CARE audits allow us to gain a deeper knowledge of the issues, and how we can address them. We are also aware of the limitations of audits and are determined to strengthen the action plans that we have in place.

Human rights in our supply chains

Most of our salient issues occur in our agricultural supply chains. We have developed a range of tools to address these issues, with traceability, transparency and action plans going hand in hand. In May 2017, we published our Labor Rights Roadmap (pdf, 606Kb), based on the HRIAs and CARE audits that we conducted. This showed that each of our raw material supply chains faces its own challenges, with some human rights issues being prominent in particular countries.

Below we have mapped which salient issues are most relevant to each of our raw materials. This enables us to be transparent about the challenges we face, and prioritize how and where we act.


Find out more

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