Nestlé opens access to human rights training

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

Nestlé has made its human rights training open to the public. Pic: ©GettyImages/hadynya
Nestlé has made its human rights training open to the public. Pic: ©GettyImages/hadynya

Related tags: Australia, Slavery, legislation

The breakfast cereal and confectionery conglomerate has made its human rights training freely available to Australian companies facing new legislation on slavery.

Last year, Australia and NSW followed the UK’s lead by introducing regulations targeting modern slavery.

Similar to UK legislation, the NSW Act requires commercial organizations to prepare annual modern slavery statements.

However, the Aussie Act goes further by introducing financial penalties, which opens a quagmire for companies and individual involved in the reporting.

Inspiring others

According to Nestlé, more than 100,000 of its employees across 72 countries have already been trained in human rights since 2011.

The company has committed to ensure all its employees complete the training – which was developed in association with the Danish Institute for Human Rights – by next year.

It has now made the training available – for free –​ to businesses wanting to follow its lead.

“Businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights. By making our module publicly available we hope to inspire and help others, especially smaller organizations, who are facing similar challenges,”​ said Christian Frutiger, global head public affairs Nestlé S.A.

“What strengthens one strengthens us all.”​ - Margaret Stuart, Nestlé head of corporate and external relations

The training is an e-learning tool that helps businesses understand the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and help them to apply them.

It enables employees to identify, analyze and resolve corporate human rights challenges across the company’s value chain, presented in simple language, without using legal and technical jargons.

However, Nestlé says the course aims to provide more than just a general understanding of the topic. It has been designed to allow employees appreciate how the issue of human rights abuses relate to the company as a whole and also to their own areas of responsibility.

Due diligence

“When the UNGP came out in 2011, Nestlé, like many other companies, had to understand what this meant for our own business, and had to set up due diligence programs to translate the UNGP into simple, tangible action,”​ said Margaret Stuart, Nestlé head of corporate and external relations.

“In sharing this training, we hope to help Australian companies looking to respond to the new legislative requirements – but more than that, we also recognize that many Australian companies are involved in our own value chain, as direct or indirect suppliers, or as customers. What strengthens one strengthens us all.

“We have a long way to go, as does the entire private sector, but we hope this training makes a contribution both in our own business, and more widely.”

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