We are committed to respecting and promoting human rights in our operations, business activities, business relationships and in the communities where we work.
The tenth anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2021 also marks a decade of action by Holcim on embedding respect for human rights in our operations. Our human rights approach is fully aligned with the UNGPs and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Human rights are universal and inalienable rights that all people should benefit from, and that allows them to live in dignity, freedom, equality, justice and peace. Human rights are essential to the full development of individuals and communities.
Respect for human rights is fundamental to our ability to do business. By respecting human rights we strengthen our social license to operate: we empower people and communities to build better futures for themselves, we avoid harming people, we live up to our own and society’s expectations, and create positive social impact linked to our business. Systematically addressing business-related human rights is sound risk management and key to our ability to implement our group strategy.
We clearly and actively communicate our human rights expectations of employees and business partners through our Human Rights and Social Policy, our Human Rights Directive, the Code of Business Conduct and the Code of Business Conduct for Suppliers.
Our commitment to respect human rights
Holcim respects and promotes human rights in our own operations, supply chain and the communities where we operate. Our commitment to human rights is aligned with the principles and values contained in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and with the internationally recognized rights in the International Bill of Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child as well as relevant laws.
Ongoing human rights due diligence, human rights impact assessments and stakeholder engagement are core elements of our human rights approach.
- As of today, all of our countries have a human rights assessment process in place and have defined action plans to address risks based on our methodology.
- 90% of our cement plants and grinding units already have regular and institutionalized stakeholder engagement activities such as community panels in place.
- As part of our work to identify risks and potential issues at site level, 100% of cement plants and grinding units in all countries will have human rights assessments, formal stakeholder engagement and action plans in place by the end of 2023.
- Through our sustainable procurement program, 95% of the procurement spend with high ESG risk suppliers is done with qualified suppliers. We target to reach 100% by the end of 2022.
- We conduct regular individual training for all country CEOs and relevant teams around the world. Our commitment is to train 10,000 people on human rights in online and in-person training programs every year. In 2022, we trained more than 12,000 people on human rights topics.
How we reach our commitments
Our Human Rights Approach outlines how we implement our commitment to human rights. The aim of this approach is to ensure systematic identification, prevention, mitigation, monitoring and remediation of potential or actual risks and impacts to people. Such risks and impacts may occur as a result of our business activities and operations, or the activities of our business partners and suppliers. This methodology also helps countries to set priorities and plan effective follow-up actions.
Beyond our own operations, we require our business partners to respect human rights. With our Sustainable Procurement program, we verify compliance with our Code of Business Conduct for Suppliers, identifying environmental, social and governance issues in our supply chain, and measures to prevent risks or address identified breaches.
We address complaints and grievances received through our global Integrity Line, as well as a number of site- and community-level grievance mechanisms.
As part of our efforts to create a regulatory level playing field, we support the implementation of regulatory frameworks that require mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence.
To make a bigger difference, Holcim is an active member of key a number of international organizations dedicated to strengthening human rights in business: Holcim is a signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2003 with Human Rights at the core of its agenda. As a board member of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), our CEO Jan Jenisch joined its Call to Action for Business Leadership on Human Rights. Holcim is committed to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, the WASH pledge, and the 2021 Eliminate Child Labour Action Pledge.
Salient human rights risks
We seek proactively to identify, prevent and mitigate potential or actual risks to people. We have identified seven salient risks: health and safety; working conditions in our operations and particularly our supply chain; discrimination and harassment; security-related abuses and violations; child labor in high-risk supply chains; dust and other emissions; and climate change and its impacts.
Being a leader in the building materials industry means setting new health, safety and environmental standards. Our aspiration is to conduct a business with zero harm to people and to create a healthy and safe environment for our employees, contractors, communities and customers, while minimizing our environmental footprint.
We respect workers’ rights and this applies to direct employees as well as contractors’ employees. We strive to contribute to the social and economic development of the communities in which we operate and engage proactively and constructively with them. Find resources such as the Human Resources Policy, our position on engaging with unions, our Sustainable Procurement approach and our Human Rights Directive on our ESG page.
We promote an inclusive and fair workplace, which fosters respect for all. Holcim is an equal opportunities employer, actively promotes diversity and makes no distinctions on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race or religion. This is further outlined on our Careers page, in our Business Code of Conduct and in the Code of Business Conduct for Suppliers.
We are committed to the protection of our people, assets and reputation. To do so, we engage security services on an “as needed” basis, following a strict risk-based methodology and stringent rules of professionalism and integrity. Holcim has published its Security and Resilience Policy, which makes clear the adherence to Human Rights principles. Holcim is holding its Private Security Service Providers accountable for meeting the highest standards of compliance with International best practices for Security and Human Rights, building on detailed audit protocol. When interacting with private security providers and public forces, we will align with the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Service Providers and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights or any other recognized international best practices on Security and Human Rights.
Building on long-term efforts to respect and promote the rights of people and children in our operations and supply chain, we accelerated action during 2021 by further integrating child rights into Holcim’s human rights approach and sustainable procurement systems. The 2021 End Child Labour Action Pledge on eliminating child labour and strengthening children’s rights builds on our existing commitment to respect human rights.
We require all our cement sites to measure and manage air and other emissions. The vast majority of our plants operate within best practice emission ranges and some are among the best in the sector, and we continue to make improvements across all sites. To address other sources of dust, such as surrounding roads, we have a program in place to consistently reduce fugitive emissions in all our plants, to preserve the local environment and minimize the impacts on the neighboring communities.
Holcim is reinventing how the world builds for people and the planet. We are accelerating green construction by signing the business ambition for 1.5° C with science based targets.