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Home / case studies / Case study: How BMW Brilliance respects human rights across its operations and supply chain

Case study: How BMW Brilliance respects human rights across its operations and supply chain

As the leading provider of premium vehicles and services in China, BMW Brilliance is committed to respecting the human rights of all individuals impacted by its operations  Tweet This! and has established policies and procedures to avoid human rights infringements and address adverse human rights impacts that might involve the company, as core foundations of its business.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by BMW Brilliance published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

BMW Brilliance expects all employees and business partners to respect human rights in their daily actions, and takes special care to monitor human rights issues in both its own operations and along its supply chain. In order to respect human rights across its operations and supply chain, BMW Brilliance took action to:

  • protect the health and safety of employees
  • eliminate forced, compulsory or child labour
  • respect freedom of association
  • fight discrimination and harassment
  • provide fair compensation and respect legal working hours
  • minimise the impact on local communities
  • address human rights risks in the value chain
  • prevent human rights violations

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report BMW Brilliance identified a range of material issues, such as product safety, occupational health and safety, air pollution, emissions and climate change, talent attraction and retention. Among these, respecting human rights across its operations and supply chain stands out as a key material issue for BMW Brilliance.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups BMW Brilliance engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Academic institutions
Chinese students
Dealers
Political decision-makers
Regulatory authorities
Communist Party of China
Customers
Employees
Local communities
Shareholders
Suppliers

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics BMW Brilliance invited 16 representatives of stakeholder groups to share their ideas and concerns in individual, detailed interviews.

What actions were taken by BMW Brilliance to respect human rights across its operations and supply chain?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report BMW Brilliance reports that it took the following actions for respecting human rights across its operations and supply chain:

  • Protecting the health and safety of employees
  • To protect the health and safety of its employees BMW Brilliance conducts health and safety training, promotes health checks, and implements needs-based health initiatives. In addition, in its Associate Handbook, BMW Brilliance informs its employees of their rights and responsibilities regarding occupational health and safety. The handbook also includes information about where to access its environment, health and safety policies.
  • Eliminating forced, compulsory or child labour
  • The complexity of the automotive supply chain requires special care regarding the risk of forced, compulsory or child labour and BMW Brilliance expects full compliance with Chinese Labour Law and relevant regulations in these matters, applying e a zero-tolerance policy. With a ban on forced, compulsory and child labour in all supplier contracts, BMW Brilliance makes sure that its suppliers uphold the same standards it has set for itself.
  • Respecting freedom of association
  • BMW Brilliance recognises the right of all workers to engage in collective bargaining to agree upon working conditions by joining a legally recognised trade union, or any other body that represents their collective interest. Accordingly, the BMW Brilliance Labour Union was established in 2007, representing all local employees and working to protect their rights and interests and to mediate disputes between employees and the company.
  • Fighting discrimination and harassment
  • BMW Brilliance is committed to providing a work environment free from any discriminatory behaviour and harassment, as stated in its Associate Handbook. All employment decisions are taken regardless of ethnic origin, skin colour, gender, religion, nationality, marital status, age, sexual orientation or political beliefs. Additionally, migrant workers are treated equally to any other employee, with full coverage of social welfare and protection.
  • Providing fair compensation and respecting legal working hours
  • BMW Brilliance is committed to providing fair compensation and to respecting legal working hours, for its employees to live in dignity and conserve their long-term health and productivity. The Human Resources department and line managers review employee leave and working hours on a monthly basis, ensuring employees take their full entitlement of annual leave during the year. In addition, BMW Brilliance applies three different work time models to keep the worked hours and monthly salaries stable despite market fluctuations, and rewards employees with total remuneration above average and aligned with the upper-third of the respective labour market in China.
  • Minimising the impact on local communities
  • In order to minimise its impact on local communities, BMW Brilliance considers potential social and environmental consequences in the earliest stage of product development and infrastructure planning. All BMW Brilliance infrastructure construction activities are pre-examined, and go through a national Environmental Impact Assessment. BMW Brilliance also seeks to minimise the environmental impacts of its business activities by constantly reducing its resource consumption, emissions and waste for disposal, and takes all necessary measures to fight corruption, in order to prevent personal gain or preferential treatment.
  • Addressing human rights risks in the value chain
  • BMW Brilliance requires its direct suppliers to meet the same social and environmental standards applied by the company. Compliance with internationally recognised human rights and with labour and social standards is part of BMW Brilliance’s General Terms and Conditions for all purchases and included in all supplier contracts. Additionally, BMW Brilliance constantly reviews its corporate policies and initiatives regarding their effectiveness in avoiding human rights infringements in its supply chain. The supplier risk management process applied throughout the BMW Group network, enables BMW Brilliance to identify and analyse potential sustainability and human rights risks along its supply chain. In its regular supplier review BMW Brilliance considers issues such as operational health and safety, child labour risks and environmental impacts.
  • Preventing human rights violations
  • BMW Brilliance’s employees can submit information about possible human rights violations within the company through the BMW Brilliance SpeakUP Line, anonymously and confidentially. To prevent human rights violations, BMW Brilliance also provides employee information and training, particularly on the SpeakUP programme, and carries out risk analyses and human rights impact assessments, maintaining internal monitoring and reporting structures.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 407-1 Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk

2) Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor

3) Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

4) Disclosure 412-3 Significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening

5) Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs

 

Disclosure 407-1 Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Freedom of association and collective bargaining

Disclosure 408-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of child labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Business theme: Abolition of child labor

Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Elimination of forced or compulsory labor

Disclosure 412-3 Significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening does not correspond to any SDG.

Disclosure 413-1 Operations with local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs does not correspond to any SDG.

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by BMW Brilliance, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to BMW Brilliance: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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