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Case study: How P&G protects and promotes human rights

As a leading global consumer goods company serving nearly five billion people around the world, with operations in nearly 70 countries, P&G is committed to doing the right thing by respecting human rights consistently across its global operations  Tweet This!, expecting this same commitment to be shared by its business partners.

This case study is based on the 2018 Citizenship Report by P&G 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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In 2014, P&G published its Human Rights Policy Statement, communicating its support for the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In order to protect and promote human rights P&G took action to:

  • prevent child labour
  • combat forced labour
  • fight discrimination
  • respect the freedom of association and collective bargaining

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2018 Citizenship Report P&G identified a range of material issues, such as governance & ethical conduct, corporate transparency, product safety & ingredient transparency, climate, water, waste and packaging. Among these, protecting and promoting human rights stands out as a key material issue for P&G.

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 P&G engages with:

Stakeholder Group
Employees
Investors
Consumers
Communities
External Business Partners
Authorities: Local – Regional – Global
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs): Local – Regional – Global
Principal Industry and Business Associations

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics P&G consulted around 80 stakeholders – including investors, civil society groups, retailers, suppliers, industry organisations, experts and P&G employees – through a combination of on-line surveys and interviews.

What actions were taken by P&G to protect and promote human rights?

In its 2018 Citizenship Report P&G reports that it took the following actions for protecting and promoting human rights:

  • Preventing child labour
  • P&G does not permit the exploitation of children and does not use child labour in any of its global facilities. In 2014, P&G learned that children were picking postconsumer waste from landfills, which ultimately made its way to P&G’s upstream corrugate supply chain. Since then, P&G has stayed engaged with its corrugate supply chain and used its leverage to enable suppliers to address the issue and provide remedy to the children and their families. Remedy included, for example, establishing schools, enrolling and supporting affected children in the schools, launching mobile health clinics, developing skilled workshops and compensating parents for loss of income.
  • Combatting forced labour
  • P&G supports the Consumer Goods Forum Priority Industry Principles, which state that forced labour is an unacceptable human rights violation that can take multiple forms and must be addressed. Accordingly, P&G takes active measures to apply these Principles across its global value chains and operations, and seeks to apply them to all workers, regardless of their employment status, location, contractual arrangements or role.
  • Fighting discrimination
  • P&G is deeply committed to an inclusive culture and does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, colour, gender, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, HIV/AIDS status or any other legally protected factor. In June 2017, P&G joined the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace and committed to continue to cultivate workplaces that support open dialogue on complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion, implement and expand unconscious bias education and share best known – as well as unsuccessful – actions.
  • Respecting the freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • P&G respects its employees’ right to choose to join or not to join a trade union or to have recognised employee representation in accordance with local law. Where employees are represented by a legally recognised union or employee representative, P&G is committed to establishing a constructive dialogue regarding the interests of both the employees and the business. P&G will bargain in good faith with such representatives in accordance with local law and, regardless of whether a facility is union or non-union, P&G always seeks to create a high-performing work force, where employees are highly engaged, multi-skilled and process owners.

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

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken

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

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

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

 

Disclosure 406-1 Incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken corresponds to:

  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Business theme: Non-discrimination
  • 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: Non-discrimination 

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

 

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.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



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References:

1) This case study is based on published information by P&G, 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 P&G: 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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