Human rights are everyone’s business

For Human Rights Day 2015, we’re exploring the eight fundamental issues that matter to our business.

A man and woman working in a factory

How’s your day been so far? Nothing out of the ordinary? Got out of bed? Had a shower? Eaten breakfast? Taken the kids to school? Had a meeting, made some points for and against a project? Got down to business as usual? Not much to do with human rights – right? Wrong. You’ve already exercised Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 16, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26 of the International Declaration of Human Rights.

“Our ambition,” says Marcela Manubens, Global Vice President, Social Impact, “is to embed the respect and promotion of human rights into every function, every role, and every corner of our organisation.”

To celebrate Human Rights Day, we’re highlighting eight human rights issues we identified as a priority (PDF | 5MB)* and are committed to addressing across Unilever. Human rights are also an integral part of the 17 UN Global Goals launched in September.

Three ways we’re making a difference

Providing childcare to keep mothers in the workforce in Ghana

  • Creating a childcare centre at Tema in Ghana has “built a great workforce that is focused, productive and committed for the long haul,” says Maidie Arkutu, MD of Unilever Ghana.

Tackling harassment to make workers feel less vulnerable in Malaysia

  • At one of our suppliers in Malaysia, staff were conducting pat down searches to prevent workers from bringing their mobile phones into production areas. We notified the supplier, the searches stopped, and we helped the supplier to hold training for managers to help them understand why this practice was unacceptable.

Helping to alleviate long working hours in Thailand

  • In one of our packaging supplier’s factories in Thailand we found workers were working eight consecutive days. We asked the supplier to put in place a remediation plan. Three months on we were able to confirm that workers had at least one day off every seven days.

The 8 Human Rights issues

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