Our long-term commitment to respect and support human rights is reflected in our corporate purpose ‘Do good for the people and the planet’.
Our human rights approach is aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In addition to people working in our own operations, our commitment extends to our suppliers, business partners, communities surrounding our operations and other stakeholders within our sphere of influence.
Embedding human rights in policy commitments
Our human rights statement, launched in 2012, expressly commits Stora Enso to observe the UN International Bill of Human Rights, which encompasses the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO’s core conventions, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, among other universally accepted international and regional human rights instruments.
We have embedded these elements in our updated Code of Conduct, which has an enhanced focus on human and labour rights. These issues have also been duly integrated into our social responsibility guidelines, supplier sustainability requirements and due diligence guidelines for new investments.
All these frameworks shape our approach to human and labour rights and serve as guiding standards when we work in regions where related local regulations are weak or non-existent.
Assessing human rights impacts
At Stora Enso we take human rights impacts into consideration throughout the life cycle of our operations, from investment decisions onwards. Related assessments are either conducted within the company or in co-operation with credible third parties. Examples include environmental and social impact assessments (ESIA) conducted in Brazil, southern China and Laos by UNDP, and pre-investment due diligence assessments in India and Pakistan.
We also assess our supplier relationships from environmental and human and labour rights perspectives.
In December 2013, Stora Enso’s Global Responsibility Council decided that by the end of 2014, Human rights assessments are performed to cover all our production units, wood supply operations, their supply chain management and relations with local communities. In line with this public commitment and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the assessments are being performed in the following manner.
Timeline of the human rights assessments
During the 1st half of 2014, the primary focus of was on developing a robust assessment tool and building up internal capacity to perform unit level assessments. Stora Enso and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) entered into a collaboration to develop a customized human rights assessment tool. The tool looks at 43 human rights issue areas (covering labor rights, community impacts and controls for suppliers and business partners) and takes into account our industry, types of operations (industrial and forestry operations) and countries of operation.
Simultaneously, assessment coordinators representing all our units were identified and more than 80 Stora Enso employees were trained on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, mapping local stakeholders and Human Rights assessment tool. These capacity building sessions were facilitated by external human rights experts and were organized in Helsinki, Shanghai and Dusseldorf.
During the 2nd half of 2014, our unit level coordinators began the assessment process in their units. Typically, unit level management teams, mill employees and other key personnel were actively engaged. In addition, local stakeholders were mapped and external stakeholders such as trade union representatives, government authorities, community representatives, local NGOs and other business partners were consulted as part of the assessment process. The level of stakeholder consultation depended on the stakeholders identified as part of the stakeholder mapping process. In 13 units in China, Russia, and certain countries in Eastern Europe – external site visits were performed by Fair Working Conditions (FWC) – a non-profit human rights audit and assessment organization. Further, for our trial plantation operations in Laos – Stora Enso has collaborated with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) to perform the assessment there.
The final phase of the human rights assessments involved an external quality check of unit level assessments and consolidation of assessment results together with the Danish Institute for Human Rights. During the quality check and consolidation process, DIHR and Stora Enso took into account inputs from the units as well as from FWC’s site visits. Results from the human rights assessments were communicated on February 5, 2015. The report is available here:
STORA ENSO HUMAN RIGHTS ASSESSMENT REVIEW AND CONSOLIDATION REPORT (1 MB)
As already announced, our focus for 2015 will be to develop action plans based on the results and start implementing them.
Respecting the rights of local communities
Intensive land use is a key feature of our tree plantations in Asia and South America. In these regions we consistently strive to ensure that the land use rights of local communities are fully respected.
In many areas the local communities surrounding our mills and plantations include indigenous peoples and other minority groups. We recognize the specific cultural and economic needs of such communities, including their traditional uses of forests, and their legitimate rights to their traditional lands. We strive to ensure that our operations do not violate their rights.
Our public human rights statement commits Stora Enso to remedy any situation where our activities adversely affect human rights in spite of all our efforts to avoid such cases.