Nokian Tyres has conducted a human rights assessment that covered 32 internationally recognized human rights, included in the Bill of Human Rights. The following document, ‘The relationship between Business and Human Rights’ , published by the UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework, was used as support and normative through the assessment. The right to health, right to privacy and right to family life were defined as being exposed to the most salient risks.
Promoting and ensuring decent working conditions is an essential aspect of sustainable and responsible development. Decent working conditions involve, for example, opportunities for work that is productive and delivers fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, and better prospects for personal development.
Nokian Tyres is committed to conducting its business operations in a manner that respects all internationally recognized human rights, understood as, at a minimum, those expressed in the International Bill of Human Rights and the principles concerning fundamental rights set out in the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and expects the same of its suppliers.
Nokian Tyres expects its suppliers to share the strive towards a more socially sustainable supply chain, where decent working conditions are promoted. Nokian Tyres is committed and further expects its suppliers, for example, to:
• Actively prevent child labor.
• Provide its employees at least with the minimum wage as required by local laws.
• Provide its employees with a safe working environment.
• Respect the rights of migrant and foreign workers and promote ethical recruitment practice and take reasonable steps to ensure that recruitment fees and other associated costs are not born by employees.
• Provide decent living conditions (e.g. adequate housing, access to drinking water and the right to food and food security) for employees working and living on site, and to support the same for local communities.
• Ensure that labor rights related safeguards apply to all employees, with no distinction being made on discriminatory grounds or employment status.
Audits help identify the topics to be improved
Nokian Tyres started a partnership with an external auditor already in 2016 to improve sustainability in its natural rubber value chain. The natural rubber sustainability auditing process has been developed together with a consulting company, and it is based on Nokian Tyres’ Supplier Code of Conduct and principles that comply with the UN Global Compact goals. In 2022 the audit model was updated to also evaluate the suppliers’ alignment with the Nokian Tyres Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy.
Nokian Tyres exclusively purchases rubber processed in the plants our company has approved. In 2022, Nokian Tyres conducted 3 new sustainability audits of natural rubber processing plants that are our suppliers. The most common problem remains the same in most of the places: the recruitment of foreign workers. Foreign workers are recruited through a recruitment agency network, and the amount of recruitment costs to the employee can be significant: up to a year’s salary. As the agencies are often approved by local governments, it is difficult to improve the process. However, we require our suppliers to improve also on this issue. The suppliers have requested support from the local officials, but the progress is slow.
Another common problem is the language and contents of the employment contracts. The contract is not necessarily available in the employees’ mother tongue, or the translated content differs from the original. In several cases the records of working hours, rest times and holidays are missing or only partial. In some audits it has also been identified that the rest times and holidays are not always granted in accordance with local law.
After the audit results from Nokian Tyres, most suppliers have introduced several different language versions of employment contracts. This shows that many things can be improved once an external party reviews the processes and indicates improvements.