The policies outline our commitments and basic approaches and cover everywhere Vestas has operations. They also clarify Vestas’ approach to external business partners.
In Vestas we expect our business partners to respect human rights, and will take measures to promote responsible practices by our business partners. We will identify and consult with stakeholders, whose human rights might be impacted by Vestas operations. We will also engage in dialogue with local communities to identify and address the human rights risks and opportunities of Vestas operations.
The policies will be communicated to relevant stakeholders by providing all employees with access to the policies and related Vestas standards, and by communicating internally and externally on the policies and progress in implementing these commitments. Complaints by employees and business partners about breaches of the policies may be submitted to the Vestas EthicsLine.
In the Human Rights Policy Vestas has committed to engaging in dialogue with local communities to identify the human rights impacts and opportunities of Vestas operations. As part of implementing the human rights policy Vestas will also seek to establish or support grievance mechanisms for affected communities, in accordance with the extent and nature of our engagement. This will be done on a project basis. The responsibility for engaging with communities is anchored locally in the business units.
At this point in time, Vestas has identified stakeholders and subjects that are key priorities. Our approach is to focus on the highest risk countries, and identify the main issues and rights Vestas needs to focus on.
In 2011 Vestas started holding webinars on human rights and global labour standards for key internal stakeholders. The webinars will continue as a regular method of internal training and will also be followed up by the creation of e-learning modules for relevant functions in 2012.
Assessments and remediation
During 2011 Vestas executed the Global Labour Standards Self-Assessment Project. This was done as a means of assessing how Vestas supports the global labour standards and to develop a fact-based action plan. This will enable us to develop policies, standards, tools and actions that will lead to further improvements.
The first step of the project was to identify the Vestas markets that are high at risk for freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour and forced and compulsory labour. In total 30 countries were identified as having one or more risks related to the fundamental global labour standards. In regard to freedom of association and collective bargaining 10 markets were identified as high risk and 10 markets were identified as high risk for child labour. 25 markets were identified as high risk for forced and compulsory labour.
All business units with operations or projects in the countries were requested to perform a self-assessment using the UN Global Compact Self-Assessment Tool. 28 self-assessments on global labour standards were performed. The self-assessment indicators tested for the policies, processes and tools Vestas has in place to handle the risk of violations of global labour standards. The assessment showed that Vestas’ business units have a strong focus on local legal compliance and have a high level of awareness and control over issues such as child labour, registration of work hours and voluntary labour. However, a few areas were identified as requiring attention. Examples of such areas include an enhanced focus on non-discrimination and anti-harassment, with a particular focus on training managers, and developing a systematic focus on providing access to employment opportunities to the disabled. The assessment also showed the need to enhance the existing supplier management systems to cover all Vestas’ business units and types of vendors with a special focus on particular labour standards such as child labour and forced and compulsory labour.
Because many of the areas that are subject to improvement are shared by many of the business units, an action plan has been developed to develop solutions at group level and roll them out across the business units in 2012 and the following years. Developing training material and guidelines will be a focus in 2012.