Human rights

In line with its Code of Conduct, Valio is committed to respecting human rights and ethical business operations. We have identified Valio’s own human rights impacts and we manage them through a human rights due diligence process.

Management of human rights work

Our human rights work is headed by Valio’s Senior Vice President of Group Sustainability, who reports about its work to management. The implementation of Valio’s human rights due diligence process is directed by Valio’s Sustainability Manager through social responsibility team activities.

Valio’s internal policies and the mutual interaction among Valio employees have a direct impact on our employees. The outer perimeter of the graphic shows the people who are indirectly impacted by Valio’s own operations or its supply chain. Included in communities are the people who may be impacted by Valio’s operations (product marketing, transportation, neighbourhoods around the plants, etc).

Human rights impact assessment

Valio’s human rights impacts assessment is based on the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR) compliance assessment tool as well as on several external and internal sources, such as observation and reporting channels, audits, employee surveys, and country- and sector-specific human rights reports.

In conjunction with identifying the impacts, we look at whether the impact already exists, whether the impact is possible or not possible, and what the current management mechanisms are. The calculation of the magnitude of the human rights risk is based on the assessment of the overall severity (volume, gravity, remediability) and probability of the impact.

Based on the assessment, the most significant risks are identified that, if materialised, would be serious, although their probability is low. These are:

  • Shortcomings related to employment and working conditions
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Negative impacts on people health and safety
  • Use of child labour and young workers
  • Forced labour
  • Restricting freedom of association
  • Restricting freedom of expression
  • Large-scale use of water in producing agricultural raw materials
If the most significant risks materialise, Valio can impact on the following human rights:
DIRECTLY IN OUR OWN OPERATIONS Human right to health, safe working conditions, as well as non-discrimination and non-harassment.
INDIRECTLY, E.G. IN OUR PROCUREMENT AND SUPPLY CHAIN Rights related to working conditions, the freedom of assembly and association, the freedom of opinion and expression, children’s rights and the ban on forced labour. Additionally, we identified risks that may have a wide-ranging impact on a number of human rights. These include, e.g., unfair competition, bribery, corruption, and the environmental impacts of milk production.

Among Valio’s most significant human rights impacts, we regularly prioritise those which we will take measures on. We monitor the selected measures as part of function-specific operating plans and within the scope of the social responsibility operating plan.

Stakeholder engagement, human rights impact monitoring, and remediation

When possible, we use the relevant parties to assist in identifying the human rights impacts; such parties include the stakeholders targeted by the assessment as well as subject-matter experts (e.g. industry organisations, trade unions, etc.), whose opinions we consult as part of the assessment process.

We monitor the realisation of human rights continuously through internal and external reporting channels. Valio is committed, taking into account its own influence (caused, contributed, linked), to remedy and compensate/redress any human rights violation that may have occurred.

Assessing human rights impacts is not a one-time task

The timeliness of human rights impacts and the effectiveness of measures taken are assessed at least every three years by reviewing the existing assessments and the measures implemented. We systematically broaden the assessment of human rights impacts to a more detailed level as the function-level work advances.

A review of a human rights impacts assessment is initiated also in connection with the following events:

  • New functions/new business
  • Significant changes in the external operating environment
  • Significant changes in internal operations
  • A new impact, risk, or perspective relevant to Valio’s operations that is reported through some channel and which must be taken into consideration

Human rights impacts communications

We communicate Valio’s human rights impacts and work externally as part of Valio’s Sustainability Report, through stakeholder collaboration, and on Valio’s website.

We communicate internally about human rights as part of social responsibility communications and training.

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