By Amy Senter, Chief Sustainability Officer
During the recent United Nations Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, two main themes emerged: COVID-19 and climate change.
But a third, sobering fact was also presented – the COVID-19 pandemic has undone many of the human rights gains that companies have made in recent years. And female workers and children are disproportionately at an even greater risk. Kellogg and companies like ours, governments, and civil society all have a major role to play in continuing to protect and advance human rights.
We have long been committed to protecting, respecting, and advancing the cause of human rights across our value chain, which continues to contribute to our Better Days global purpose platform. Doing so is central to maintaining a responsible, ethical and equitable business. We have made steady progress towards our commitment and are pleased to announce that we have evolved our Human Rights Strategy and updated our Human Rights Policy to enable greater action and impact.
We are actively supporting human rights across our value chain by:
- Protecting farmers and worker rights, combatting forced and child labor, and ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for all.
- Driving equity, diversity and inclusion across our business through enhanced leadership commitments for equitable representation, investing in continued training and development and strengthening external multicultural partnerships.
This accountability has been seen throughout our COVID response. Moreover, we’re working to ensure human rights are protected not just in our operations but across our supply chain. Our enhanced strategy and policy reflect an even more active approach for engaging with our suppliers and internal facilities to ensure we are positioned to drive the biggest impact across our business.
To inform our strategy, we consulted with external stakeholders, suppliers, trusted non-government organizations and industry experts to identify enhancement opportunities – and we’re taking several actions because of it, such as:
- Launching an external-facing Ethics Hotline digital app to improve reporting and tracking of human rights issues and making this available to our suppliers and employees.
- Enlisting an international consulting firm to conduct ongoing assessments of human rights risks across our supply chain and establishing verification of human rights protection in high-risk sites with Tier 1 suppliers and within our internal operations.
- Educating and engaging employees and suppliers on this issue through company-wide training and embedding human rights protections into day-to-day business.
- Investing in programs at ingredient origin that address root cause issues for human rights issues.
- Expanding annual reporting and communications of human rights progress to stakeholders, customers and consumers.
This work builds from positive milestones we’ve already achieved.
In 2020 we ranked 13th in the Know the Chain global human rights benchmark and 14th in the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark across industries. Both are reflective of our ongoing efforts to bolster our human rights programs and activities throughout our supply chain and internal operations.
This includes, for example, our work supporting cocoa farmers in Ecuador and Ghana, Malagasy vanilla farmers, wheat farmers in India and smallholder palm producers in Malaysia – areas and people that are typically at the highest risk for human rights violations.
Pandemic or not, we remain steadfast in our commitment to identifying human rights risks and eradicating violations across our supply chain now and in the future.