Human rights and labor standards

Novozymes believes that a basic part of a company's social responsibility is adherence to basic human rights principles.

Novozymes therefore has a long-established commitment to support the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), and the company is a signatory to the UN Global Compact.
We have for many years supported the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), and the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and since 2001 we have been a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact.
Novozymes welcomes the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights presented by John Ruggie in 2011. To demonstrate our respect for human rights, we are integrating the UN guiding principles into our operations through both knowing (e.g. awareness and internal procedures for monitoring) and showing (e.g. reporting).
As a global company with significant production activities all over the world, Novozymes has implemented an internal set of Minimum Standards, based on the UN Global Compact’s principles for human rights and labor standards, to which every employee and business unit must adhere.
Novozymes six minimum standards are as follows;
  • UNGC Principle 1: we support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights (UNGC, UNDHR, ILO)
  • UNGC Principle 2: we work against human rights abuses
  • UNGC Principle 3: we support freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
  • UNGC Principle 4: we support the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labor
  • UNGC Principle 5: we uphold the effective abolition of child labor
  • UNGC Principle 6: we uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
Although human rights and labor standards are universal, there are differences as to the relevance of the various issues in different settings such as geographical location or business activity. Our regional directors for People & Organization are responsible for ensuring that all business units and employees are covered by an annual self-assessment and list relevant issues. Based on this process, initiatives can be planned at different levels: In functional strategies or in corporate strategies for People & Organization or Sustainability, regionally or at a local site. In practice, regional management at site level is responsible for the implementation of such initiatives in collaboration with relevant functions.
Human rights and labor standards are also part of our supplier performance management system, where Novozymes’ purchasers evaluate suppliers on these basic criteria. See also Novozymes’ position on responsible purchasing.

Activities to support Novozymes' position on human rights and labor standards

  • Inspired by the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, Novozymes has in 2012 initiated a process of mapping potential human rights impacts of our business activities
  • Grievance mechanism in place for both internal (employees) as well as external stakeholders. Novozymes has a global ombudsperson as well as regional ombudspersons in each region. We also have a global whistleblower hotline, Novozymes' Whistleblower Hotline, which is managed by an independent third party
  • Annual self-assessment covering all personnel areas against Minimum Standards and the possibility to conduct social audits to follow up on performance when relevant
  • Core labor and human rights issues as a part of supplier assessment programs
  • Incorporation of the Minimum Standards into our quality management systems
  • Inclusion of the Minimum Standards in global training programs, including introduction of new employees and introduction of new managers
  • Supportive training/briefing of managers
  • Ongoing internal communication on human rights and labor standards via our Intranet, reporting, and local channels
As a UN Global Compact signatory and UN Global Compact LEAD company too, Novozymes is committed to continuously improve our sustainability performance and integration of sustainability in our business. Accordingly, we report on our performance within human rights and labor standards annually in our Communication on Progress (COP) for the UN Global Compact, which is also an integral part of our Annual Report.