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5 things you should know about human rights at AkzoNobel

Even if you’ve had a pretty ordinary day, you might be surprised to find out you’ve exercised your human rights – probably quite a few of them! On the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we’re looking at what AkzoNobel does to respect human rights globally.


We want people to be safe, healthy, have decent working conditions and work in an environment where they are respected and treated fairly. Human Rights Day, December 10, 2018, reminds us of the commitment we’ve made to respect people’s human rights in our operations and across our value chain.

Human rights at AkzoNobel

When you get out of bed, shower, eat breakfast, take your children to school, attend a meeting, write down project pros and cons – you exercise Articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 16, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25 and 26 of the International Declaration of Human Rights. So, we all benefit from human rights, even if we sometimes take these rights for granted.

It helps if the commitment to human rights comes from the top. AkzoNobel’s Executive Committee makes sure the company operates with integrity, safety and sustainability – all contributing to human rights in some way. It’s strong foundation we’re actively building on.

Did you know…

1. AkzoNobel has a cross-company Human Rights Committee, responsible for our human rights framework which sets out how we respect human rights (based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights)

2. Our human rights program focuses on:

  • health and safety
  • working conditions
  • discrimination and harassment
  • modern slavery

3. We are a member of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative – companies aligning with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption – and contributed to the development of their program

4. We collaborate with NGOs. For example, the pearlescent pigments we use to make paint “shiny” contain mica minerals from a region of India where children are now known to work in the mines. Together with NGOs and our direct suppliers, we’re making sure our indirect suppliers act in a responsible ways that do not impact the human rights of children or adults

5. We are in the top five companies for human rights on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the chemical industry, having improved for two years on a row

Want to learn more? Check out our human rights page or this interview with two of our colleagues, Siham Lotfi, Global Head of Human Rights, Legal Counsel and Alain Mimeault, Global Supplier Development and Sustainability Director, about their experience working on human rights.

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