The German company is looking beyond Tier 1 suppliers to ensure it meets the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights, reports Mike Scott
Wind turbine giant Siemens is embarking on a major project over the next few years to establish a systematic process to ensure it complies with the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights not only in its own operations, but throughout its extended supply chain.
Nicoletta Heilsberger, senior manager for sustainability positioning, business and human rights at the German company, says the business case for action is clear. “Dealing with human rights helps to minimize or avoid reputational, operational and legal risks and meets the requirements of customers, investors and bankers, who demand that we are a socially responsible company that manages its human rights challenges appropriately.”
The company’s initial focus will be on its downstream operation “because that’s where the biggest issues are,” she says. “We need to set up an early warning system on risk and risk mitigation and we need to look beyond our Tier 1 suppliers, which we already constantly assess for sustainability generally, including human rights. We have pretty direct leverage with them and if there is a deviation from the requirements, we can approach them and ultimately, if necessary, end our relationship with them.