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Taking action on children’s rights
As a global company, Neste’s operations and supply chains have an impact on thousands of people around the world. Respecting and supporting children’s rights is our priority wherever we operate. 20 November marks World Children’s Day – a great opportunity to reflect on Neste’s commitments to children’s rights.
At Neste, our purpose is to create a healthier planet for our children. Acknowledging that our business can impact the lives of children in multiple ways on a daily basis, we continuously strive to address children’s rights in Neste’s operations, supply chains, marketplace and communities.
The rights of children and young workers is one of the sustainability priority areas for Neste. As our operations and value chains continue to evolve, we are committed to embedding respect for children’s rights across our business as an ongoing process. Respect for children’s rights is demonstrated in our policy commitments, due diligence and remediation measures – not through a single activity but a set of actions integrated into our core business globally:
Neste’s Human Rights Principle sets the minimum human rights standards for our operations, strictly prohibiting child labor and hazardous work for young workers.
Supporting employees to work and be parents and caregivers, through promoting healthy work-life balance, flexible ways of working, fair wages and safe working conditions.
Participating in programmes to promote youth employment, career planning and skills development.
Requiring suppliers and business partners to comply with Neste Supplier Code of Conduct, with strict criteria on human and children’s rights.
Offering training, sharing best practices and assessing suppliers’ respect for young workers and children’s rights.
Collaborating to increase children’s access to education.
Tackling root causes e.g. by promoting living wages throughout supply chains.
Our long-term commitment and efforts to safeguard children’s rights in our entire value chain has been recognised also by third parties. Recently, Neste was recognized as a ‘Leader’ in Global Child Forum’s global children’s rights and business benchmark, The State of Children’s Rights and Business 2023. Neste was ranked among the top 15 companies out of the 795 benchmarked companies across eight sectors and six regions. This is a great accomplishment for our long-term commitments and motivates us to set our standards even higher.
Driving change in local communities
A core element driving Neste’s sustainability vision forward is our human rights ambition for 2030: it includes the commitment to generate positive impact with our stakeholders by increasing children’s access to education.
One example of such an activity is Neste’s collaboration with SOS Children’s Villages India: Initiated at the beginning of 2023, Neste’s support targets vulnerable children who are at a high risk of dropping out of school and families who need the most educational, nutritional and financial support to become self-reliant. The support program covers nearly 900 children, mainly in an age between 6 and 15 years across three communities in India (Nagapattinam, Bawana and Kolkata).
Another example of Neste’s local commitments is our long-term partnership with a number of major brands, Wilmar and the international non-profit BSR, in a program aimed at protecting the rights of children living on palm plantations in Indonesia and Malaysia. Since 2019, we have worked together to address best practices for child protection in the palm industry, including the publication of the Child Protection Policy Implementation Manual.
As is the case with all human rights issues, children’s rights are best advanced through collaboration. By working together with other companies and NGOs we can expand our footprint, address structural challenges and drive positive change across the industries. Taking action, together, is key for ensuring the rights and well-being of children – and not only on World Children’s Day but throughout the year.
Credits: Nina Norjama, Head of Human Rights, Neste