Story | 05/21/2018 10:38:00

Focus on human rights

An ongoing process of human rights due diligence is a fundamental element of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As part of a continuous commitment to respecting human rights UPM has conducted a due diligence of all UPM operational sites during 2017.

The focus on UPM sites globally forms part of an ongoing process which also includes our supply chains, through which we assess risks to human rights and integrate findings into decision making and planned activity in order mitigate the risks, track the effectiveness of these actions, and communicates our efforts internally and externally.

As part of our human rights diligence process, self-assessment exercises were carried out at all 75 UPM operational sites globally with the guidance and assistance of Shift, the leading centre of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles. Shift provided input to the scope and coverage of the exercise, and interpretation of the results.

Topics and issues covered included management systems, workforce demographics, working conditions, discrimination, local sourcing, management of contractors and community engagement.

As well as acting as a health check of UPM sites, the due diligence process was also used to build internal capacity and understanding of the issues covered. In integral target of the process was to raise internal awareness of our responsibility to respect human rights and embed this into everyday operations. Orientation and awareness sessions were held for all Human Resources personnel and site managers across the businesses prior to assessments at the sites, building their understanding of the issues involved and ensuring a rigorous assessment.

The due diligence assessment revealed no major or critical issues at UPM sites but did identify areas common across a number of sites where practices should be strengthened. In particular, the management of contractors, local sourcing and coordination of community engagement would benefit from a clarified and more consistent approach. The findings of the due diligence assessment will form a programme of ongoing activity during 2018, and be integrated into site level annual review processes.

In addition, the insight gathered from the due diligence process forms a valuable bank of information which will be used to provide further focus to internal audits at UPM sites, and the main findings have been used as input into continuous review of our most salient human rights issues.


Saara Töyssy