Kellogg has meticulously recorded human rights issues in its palm oil supply chain since it was called out by Amnesty International

In Kellogg’s 2017 corporate sustainability report, released last month, human rights concerns are of medium-high importance to stakeholders as well as internally, according to the materiality index. Kellogg’s actions of the last two years in this area provide a good view of where current best practice for big corporations lies. In 2016, Kellogg’s issued a brief statement saying it is working internally and across its supply chain to increase transparency and take action on human rights risks.

A “cross-function” team meets monthly to assess and report the company’s progress; Kellogg’s is using the Sedex self-assessment questionnaires and third party SMETA audits to look for violations in working hours, wages and benefits, child labour, health and safety, freedom of association, and discrimination. A Kellogg’s spokesperson says the company has made progress in forced labour issues, as demonstrated by a report released this month by the company.

Last year Kellogg’s trained executive leadership on human rights issues in its supply chain and this year completed audits at its Turkish apple suppliers while it also surveyed Indonesian and Malaysian suppliers about worker wellbeing.

Since Amnesty International detailed child labour problems in part of the supply chain (for palm oil) the company has also meticulously reported its efforts to get all of its palm oil suppliers in compliance with its human rights positions.

While Kellogg’s actions aren’t particularly innovative, they do show that addressing human rights concerns are a logical part of a corporation’s general path toward sustainability goals of transparency, accountability, and good governance.


This is the introduction to a series of articles on corporate human rights. See also:

New corporate human rights benchmark 'a work in progress'

Companies keep human rights agenda alive in US depite Trump

Human rights briefing: Marks & Spencer leads the way

How Kemet went conflict-free in DRC

Palm Oil  ethical supply chains  Sedex  SMETA 

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