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Respect human rights Taking a stand

Human rights are universal and unchanging. But the world changes fast – and some of those changes put human rights in jeopardy.

This issue relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals

  • Good health and well-being
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Reduced inequalities

Average read time: 2 minutes

If we ever needed reminding, recent events have shown us again and again why equity and human rights matter so much.

Fundamental rights in a world of change

One of the many consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic has been a threat to livelihoods and the rights of workers – rights that were already under the shadow of wider changes to the world of work, driven by digitalisation, automation and the gig economy. At the same time, social movements such as Black Lives Matter have shone an overdue spotlight on the divisions and injustices in our societies.

Woman with long hair shouting a campaign message during a march

We believe the world can build back better – but only if we put the right foundations in place. Respect for human rights – within business and society – must be at the heart of rebuilding.

Reaching millions, respecting individual rights

A worker in a factory or office. A smallholder farmer growing one of our ingredients. A small-scale retailer selling our products.

Millions of individuals contribute to our business – and their rights must be respected at every stage of our relationship with them.

Discrimination, harassment, excessive working hours, unsafe workplaces, poverty wages – we know that these and other human rights abuses occur in all value chains, including ours. Whenever we find them we take action to address them – but we know there’s much more to do to change whole systems and industries for the better.

We need to tackle the root causes of human rights issues. That means fixing the inequalities that put people's rights at risk.

A shared vision of a fairer, more inclusive world

We've made good progress in embedding respect for human rights across our business, focusing on our own operations and our supply and distribution chains. We’re continuing to harness the scale and reach of our business to make a difference – to individual lives, to industries and to societies.

To really accelerate and advance on the big issues, though, we need to work with others, including consumers, who rightly want to know that we source, make, transport and advertise our products responsibly.

That means sharing a vision of a world where human rights are respected. It means helping raise living standards through living wages and incomes, to ensure a fairer distribution of the value we create.

And it means working for justice and equity, every day.