Grievance mechanisms and remediation

Employees have the right to be respected at work, and fundamental to this is the ability to report grievances and abuses.

Our commitment

Provide effective grievance mechanisms to employees and stakeholders

Why it matters

We do not tolerate any violations of our Code of Business Conduct or corporate policies. All breaches in our value chain must be reported, so they can be stopped or prevented. Employees and other stakeholders must also have access to remediation for any abuses. Effective grievance mechanisms are essential to protecting the human rights of people across our value chain.

Our approach

We have robust systems in place to ensure we can address compliance breaches and give employees the ability to report grievances.

What we are doing

We have effective reporting mechanisms in place to address grievances and compliance breaches.

By 2018

Markets conducting root cause analyses for selected compliance cases using tools provided by headquarters.

Our result: In 2018, we implemented a root cause analysis system to help us learn from serious compliance breaches and prevent their reoccurrence.

By 2019

Review grievance systems’ effectiveness with internal and external stakeholders to define improvement opportunities.

Our result: Review process in development.

By 2020

Grievance systems improvements implemented in pilot markets.

Our result: To be implemented upon completion of review process.

Our anonymous reporting system in numbers

In 2018, we received 1837 messages through our Nestlé Integrity Reporting System, which enables employees to report illegal or noncompliant behavior anonymously. The messages received covered issues such as leadership style, labor practices, discrimination and harassment. We also received over 486 questions seeking compliance advice.

Category Number of messages received through IRS 2018
Leadership style 525 (29%)
Labor practice 275 (15%)
Discrimination and harassment 216 (12%)
Other allegations 821 (45%)
Total 1837

Thanks to our robust reporting system, 1568, (85%) cases were closed and 500 (32%) substantiated, including 11 private-to-private bribery cases, resulting in 139 employees leaving the company. There were 58 written warnings, eight suppliers’ services were terminated, and other measures were taken, including internal process improvement and reinforcement.

Our external and independent channel for raising compliance issues

During the year, we received 699 messages via Tell Us, our communication channel for external stakeholders. All comments received have either been addressed or are being dealt with.

Type of issue Number of messages received
Labor practices 70
Fraud cases 21
Leadership issues 28
Conflicts of interest 28
Environmental suggestions 4
Harassment 7
Private-to-private bribery 11
Safety and quality 23
Supplier concerns 27
Other general concerns 114

As a result of the issues raised in 2018 one warning letter was issued and five people left the company. Remedial measures were taken including internal process improvement and reinforcement.

How our root cause analysis system has helped us address concerns

Developing solutions for employees carrying heavy loads

When a report was received that certain employees were having to carry large water containers on their shoulders to places that delivery trucks couldn’t access, a root cause analysis was carried out to determine the issues and propose recommendations. As a result, trolleys are now provided along with training in ergonomics and manual handling, and a company doctor is available to provide check-ups.

Establishing remediation in a case of overstocked product

After receiving a report that one employee falsified sales recognition data that led to losses for the company, we conducted a root cause analysis to determine what happened and how it could be addressed. The employee recognized sales without payment and created false delivery notes for hundreds of thousands of cases of product during the last days of each month in 2017, which created overstocked products and negative brand impact.

Our root cause analysis found that pressure to achieve targets resulted in overloading stock to the distributor, who didn’t have the capacity to sell all the product. Understanding this, we were then able to take remediation action.

How we ensure remediation in different circumstances

Our due diligence program helps us to identify and enable effective remediation. In some cases, this can be highly specific. In C?te d’Ivoire, for example, schools play an important role in getting children out of child labor. But there’s a major obstacle: a birth certificate is compulsory for entry to secondary school in C?te d’Ivoire, and a lot of kids don’t have one. Once we identified this issue, we were able to provide more than 5632 children with birth certificates.

Grievance mechanisms are more challenging to implement in some parts of our supply chain. This is because, unlike in a factory, it’s highly complex to ensure effective grievance mechanisms in rural environments and remote areas with thousands of individual farms. In our palm oil supply chain, for example, there are as many as 4 million individual farmers.

Nevertheless, we have just completed a pilot of new US Department of Agriculture guidelines on labor rights in our hazelnut supply chain in Turkey. In collaboration with the Fair Labor Association, we identified the risks of child labor and forced labor and strengthened our capacity to address those risks.

We are determined to the find the right balance for each issue, and ensure all rights holders are able to raise issues.


Find out more

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CSV - Linkbox - Global Youth Initiative

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CSV - Linkbox - Improving livelihoods in communities

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CSV - Linkbox - Human rights

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We aim to be exemplary in respecting human rights and labor practices throughout our business.

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CSV - Linkbox - Promoting fair employment and diversity

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