As we approach the launch of our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report next week, we've developed the following two-part series highlighting how stakeholder feedback was integrated into the development of this year's report.
Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights. This is the first principle of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), of which Symantec became a signatory in 2006. Since then, we’ve taken an active role in adopting and encouraging the UNGC’s ten principles surrounding safeguarding human rights, upholding fair labor standards, and promoting environmental responsibility. In 2011, we asked Ursula Wynhoven, the General Counsel at the UNGC, to review our Corporate Responsibility Report and give us feedback that would make our human rights position even stronger. She had the following suggestion:
“Symantec could provide greater specificity around its management systems and future goals regarding human rights.”
Thanks to Ursula’s recommendation, we are using our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report to highlight how two important facets of our management system pertain to human rights: employee training and auditing, and a supplier code of conduct.
Employee training and auditing is essential to making sure our human rights policies are put into action on the ground. Each Symantec employee needs to understand the company position on human rights and make a commitment to upholding the policies we’ve set in place. In 2012, we focused on raising employee awareness around our human rights policies. One important piece of this was incorporating International Labour Organization language into our standard training to make sure we are clearly conveying our position on human rights. We also launched a working group tasked with aligning our company’s human rights policies with the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Fiscal Year 2013 we are beginning country audits to evaluate human rights risks and opportunities in specific regions.
Our second system centers on another primary stakeholder, our suppliers. Symantec needs to go even further than internal human rights policies, in order to be a true global leader. In 2012, we created a Global Supply Chain Manufacturing and Fulfillment Code of Conduct to improve our suppliers’ familiarity and compliance with the social, environmental, and ethical criteria to which we hold ourselves accountable. Our code includes ISO 26000 and Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition Code of Conduct guidance, as well as our own expectations regarding labor rights, safe working conditions, business integrity, and stewardship of natural resources. The code also requires that Symantec’s suppliers maintain ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certification and establish management systems to fully account for the code’s provisions.
The Manufacturing and Fulfillment Code has already been applied to all of Symantec’s tier-one supplier contracts, with auditing scheduled for the latter half of calendar year 2012. We’re not stopping there, however. Over the course of FY13, a Global Supplier Code of Conduct, similar to the manufacturing code, will be rolled out to a broader universe of Symantec suppliers.
Check out the Human Rights and Responsible Sourcing section of our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report to learn more about each of these initiatives. Watch this space next week for information about the report's launch!
Debra McLaughlin is Stakeholder Engagement Program Manager at Symantec.