Novozymes seeks to take appropriate measures to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and to make sure that we are not complicit in human rights abuses both from an internal and an external perspective. Our dedication to addressing and advancing human rights is embedded in our Vision, values, and company idea, Touch the World.
In support of international human rights standards such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles of the UN Global Compact, relevant principles are integrated systematically in Novozymes’ management practices and aligned with our minimum standards of human and labor rights to ensure that global and local initiatives are mutually supportive. Our minimum standards comprise: freedom of association, nondiscrimination, working hours, disciplinary measures, child labor, and forced labor. Subsequently, we have developed specific policies addressing people, social responsibility, and purchasing as well as positions on diversity and equal opportunities, human rights, REACH, and responsible purchasing.
Based on the above practices, standards, policies, and positions, the relevant boards and departments systematically monitor, report, and follow up on human rights at Novozymes on an ongoing basis.
In support of human rights management, development, and transparency, Novozymes reports on the following GRI indicators: HR 1, HR 2, HR 3, HR 4, HR 5, HR 6, HR 7, HR 9, EC 5, LA 6, LA 7, LA 8, LA 13, SO 5, and PR 1,providing a quantitative counterpart to human rights reporting.
Pioneering business approach saves lives and reduces poverty in Mozambique
Every day, hundreds of millions of women in the developing world are forced to cook for their families using charcoal-burning cookstoves. The noxious smoke in poorly ventilated rooms is equivalent to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, creating a health threat worse than malaria. In 2011, Novozymes announced the coestablishment of a project that creates food, fuel, and rural jobs, protects the environment, and saves lives. The project contributes to the creation of jobs and incomes for a farming community in Mozambique and to a wide range of the UN Millennium Development Goals, including poverty eradication, health, and education.
Novozymes’ implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights
In June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie as the culmination of 5 years’ development work. The principles are seen as the beginning of a new era with a clearer division of responsibilities and requirements that aim to eliminate human rights abuses involving business. Novozymes welcomes clarity in this area, which has always been very complex.
Inspired by the guiding principles, Novozymes adjusted our annual self-assessments of the minimum social standards of labor and human rights in 2011. Our social minimum standards are now aligned with the two human rights principles and four labor standards principles of the UN Global Compact. At the same time, organizational responsibility for human and labor rights at Novozymes was assigned to our regional directors for People & Organization. The outcome of the 2011 process did not lead to any corrective actions, but most regions have defined focus areas to be addressed in regional or corporate strategies and plans.
One of the best practices referred to by John Ruggie is to involve a variety of stakeholders when developing corporate governance for human rights. For the past 2 years, Novozymes has been a member of the Danish Business Network for Human Rights, moderated by John Morrison, Executive Director of the Institute of Business and Human Rights in London. Together with our fellow members, we invite stakeholders, mainly NGOs and politicians, for sparring and knowledge sharing.
Novozymes welcomes the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights. While a new UN Working Group is aiming to build capacity for implementation of the Guiding Principles, Novozymes has for several years been following the progress made by John Ruggie, and we believe that we are well prepared to meet the requirements.
As a strategic project for 2012 anchored in the Sustainability Development Board, Novozymes has allocated resources to identify how to further integrate the new guidelines in our own activities and in our collaboration with suppliers going forward.
Together with four other companies in the Danish Business Network on Human Rights network, Novozymes is currently testing a practical tool developed by a German UN Global Compact group to identify areas for improvement and focus in the coming years.
The main component of Novozymes’ due diligence process is the annual self-assessments of minimum standards that document the main issues in different regional contexts, to what extent we comply with our minimum standards internally, and any shortfalls, including potential adverse impacts. Perspectives for including human rights and labor practices in our due diligence process will be explored in further detail during 2012.
In continuation of efforts to optimize and expand the scope of Novozymes’ Responsible Purchasing program in 2011
, we plan to further improve specification of supplier requirements by developing enhanced assessment guidance information for implementation in 2012.
To involve suppliers more openly in innovation and in identifying joint sustainable solutions, we have planned a Supplier Innovation Day in March 2012.
Furthermore, supplier performance management will remain on the agenda of the SDB as a strategic project for 2012, with allocated resources for the development and implementation of the project. We will also continue further training of purchasers and auditors.
For more information, please refer to our policy
on Responsible Purchasing.