Respecting human rights

Respecting human rights

In all operations, we follow the principles of acting with fairness and respecting human rights, whether we are dealing with our personnel or any other stakeholders. Our supplier self-assessments address sustainability topics important to Nokian Tyres, including human rights.

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 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 so that it also evaluates the suppliers’ alignment with Nokian Tyres’ Sustainable Natural Rubber Policy. 

Nokian Tyres exclusively purchases rubber processed in the plants that the company has approved. In 2023, Nokian Tyres conducted eight new sustainability audits of natural rubber processing plants that are its suppliers. 

After the audit, the full report is shared with the supplier to show their shortcomings and to highlight the positive findings. This gives valuable information for the supplier about how they can improve their operations. 

A common problem identified during the audits is the language and content 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 are only partial. In some audits it has also been identified that rest times and holidays are not always granted in accordance with the local law. 

In some countries, the recruitment of foreign workers is a problematic topic. Foreign workers are recruited through a recruitment agency network, and the amount of recruitment costs to the employee can be as much as a year’s salary. As the agencies are often approved by local governments, it is difficult to improve the process. However, Nokian Tyres requires its suppliers to improve also on this issue. The suppliers have requested support from the local officials, but the progress is slow. 

Nokian Tyres requires the suppliers to provide corrective action plans to improve on the shortcomings. Many suppliers have, for example, introduced several different language versions of employment contracts. This shows that matters can be improved once an external party reviews the processes and indicates need for improvement. 

Nokian Tyres aims to perform follow-up audits every three years on the high sustainability risk suppliers’ sites. Currently Nokian Tyres has mitigation plans from eight audited supplier sites and is monitoring the closing of the corrective actions until the next follow-up audits.

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