"When we look at what has worked best for us over the past 125 years, it has not been about a single big-bang product innovation, a new marketing breakthrough or a bullet-proof business model. The secret to our secret formula has always been the power of the relationships and partnerships our people have forged all around the world."
-- Muhtar Kent
We believe that dialogue with a wide-range of external stakeholders is critical to respecting human and workplace rights within our system. Continuous dialogue enables us to identify and address potential issues proactively and collaboratively. By combining our experience with the expertise, passion and knowledge of our stakeholders and partners we develop robust approaches to respect human and workplace rights. Furthermore, by working with other relevant parties from various sectors including private, public and non-profit and labor, we believe we can have a greater and more sustainable impact than by working alone. Here are some examples of our ongoing engagement.
International Union of Foodworkers (IUF)
Since 2005 we have met twice annually with the IUF and several of its affiliates. The International Union of Foodworkers is a world-wide federation of trade unions representing workers in sectors including agriculture and plantations, food and beverages, hotels among others. More than 30 percent of our business system’s employees are members of unions affiliated with the IUF. The semi-annual meetings, in addition to ongoing communications, provide a forum to discuss a variety of labor relations matters. Read our updated joint statement (PDF).
Human Rights Conferences
Agendas from the conferences hosted by TCCC to engage business on Human Rights issues
- Addressing the Hard Issues: Myanmar, Human Trafficking, Conflict Minerals, Supply Chain, Guiding Principles Best Practice (2013)
- Addressing Human Trafficking in Labor Sourcing (2012)
Implementing Respect for Human Rights (2011)
Addressing Respect for Human Rights (2010)
Addressing Child Labor (2009)
Addressing Forced Labor (2008)
In recent years we have hosted industry conferences on human rights topics at our facilities in Atlanta which have been sponsored by the United States Council for International Business, International Organization of Employers and the Chamber of Commerce and in collaboration with the International Labor Organization to tackle issues related to human rights. These conferences have engaged business in addressing forced labor, child labor, and other business and human rights issues. In February 2010 Professor John Ruggie, UN Special Representative for Business and Human Rights, was the keynote speaker and in 2011 we plan to host a follow-up conference with Professor Ruggie. These forums aim to raise awareness and to help businesses operationalize the “Protect, Respect, Remedy” framework developed by Professor Ruggie.
Addressing Child Labor
As the world’s largest purchaser of sugar we recognize that we have a role to play in addressing the issue of child labor in the sugar industry, in concert with other relevant parties from the private, public and non-profit sectors. We have hosted convenings of experts on the topic of child labor to seek advice on the most constructive role that we can play in addressing this complex issue. Input from these discussions has been incorporated into our action plan focused on raising awareness at the international level and taking concrete actions at the country level in collaboration with our suppliers, local government and industries to address child labor in sugarcane harvesting. Learn more about our work in El Salvador, beginning on page 53.
- El Salvador Child Labor Case Study
- Reducing Child Labor and Forced Labor: A Toolkit for Responsible Businesses (Developed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs)
International Labor Organization (ILO)
Our Director of Global Workplace Rights serves as the head of the U.S. Employer Delegation to the ILO Conference each year in Geneva, Switzerland. The annual meeting brings together nearly 2,000 representatives from labor unions, employer associations and governments to negotiate and adopt international labor standards, which are then implemented by member states (countries). In 2005, he became the overall business spokesman for the ILO’s Committee on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CACR), which holds countries accountable for implementing ratified international labor standards treaties. In June 2010 the CACR addressed 25 serious workplace rights violations in various industries around the world in cases ranging from the worst forms of child labor to freedom of association to forced labor. The CACR’s conclusions in each case place an international spotlight on serious human rights violations and bring the full force and effect of the ILO to bear on the situation. On an annual basis, for example, more than 500 illegally detained trade unionists regain their freedom as a result of intervention by the ILO. Our ongoing involvement with the ILO reaffirms the Company’s overarching commitment to human rights in the workplace. Learn more about the ILO.
Brand Collaboration: AIM Progress
One of the primary objectives of AIM-PROGRESS is to accelerate supply chain compliance while improving and streamlining the assessment process. Through the Mutual Recognition work member companies recognize supplier audits completed on behalf of another member company. Recognizing audits conducted on behalf of another company reduces audit fatigue, reduces time and costs on the part of suppliers and shifts the focus from auditing to performance. Learn more about Mutual Recognition.
Through the joint training initiative AIM-PROGRESS members conduct in-person and virtual supplier sessions around the world. The one day training covers the four major pillars of responsible sourcing: labor standards, health and safety, environmental compliance and business integrity. Key business leaders from participating companies provide perspectives on why responsible sourcing is important to customers, stakeholders and to the sustainability of our respective businesses. Forums have been held around the world including in South Africa, Kenya, Brazil, Mexico, China, Russia and India. Virtual webinars have reached suppliers in the United States, Europe and Dubai. The