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  • nkiedrowski

Putting Human Rights First Across OSI's Global Network

October 10, 2020

OSI depends on the contributions of thousands of people to keep our business running from day to day. These groups, from farmers and quality assurance specialists to mechanics and production teams, are working behind the scenes to grow, source and transport raw materials to our plants where they are then transformed into well-known food products consumers around the world enjoy.

We understand our success would not be possible without these dedicated groups and strive to ensure that our relationships with all of them — employees and partners alike — are rooted in integrity and respect.

That's why we adhere to a number of policies and commitments that guide our interactions with others and hold us to the highest standards, across geographies and cultures. The OSI Global Business Standards are chief among them and set clear expectations around everything from workplace safety to fair treatment. But more specific policies hold us to additional standards on topics we care deeply about. To reflect our commitment to the respect and dignity of all people, particularly the thousands of people who power OSI every day, we developed a policy to ensure that everyone's rights are respected.


The OSI Human Rights Policy is guided by the principles articulated in the International Bill of Human Rights, the International Labour Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We believe that human rights are universal rights that are intrinsic to every human being. We strive to respect the fundamental rights of our employees, which are freedom from slavery and child labor; freedom to associate (or not associate) and collectively bargain; equal opportunity for everyone; a safe and healthy workplace; and freedom from discrimination and harassment.

Our policy is made available to all workers and applies to OSI and its majority-owned subsidiaries worldwide. Beyond simply communicating our positions on human rights issues, the policy also addresses accountability: Who is responsible for making sure everyone in OSI's vast network is adhering to our standards? What happens if someone falls short?


The policy reflects our view that everyone at OSI bears some responsibility in upholding our commitment to human rights. Every region and department encourages employees to report any suspected human rights violation, without fear of reprisal or retaliation. Any alleged violation is then addressed through a robust internal process.

But employee reporting, of course, is just one piece of a larger accountability system. Human rights and safety audits at many of our plants, along with a range of other reviews and reporting mechanisms, paint a fuller human rights picture for senior management and OSI's Board of Managers. Those groups oversee the policy's implementation, while the OSI Global Sustainability Team, led by Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, ultimately has executive oversight over OSI's commitment to human rights.


That commitment extends beyond our internal network to our suppliers. We're not only concerned about the rights and wellbeing of our own employees — it is also very important to us that our suppliers treat their people with the same dignity and respect we demand for internal members of the OSI family. That's why we require all of our suppliers to sign a code of conduct that holds them to OSI’s safety and human rights requirements. Among other things, the code requires them to have internal programs for handling reports of workplace grievances, including anonymous reports, and to protect whistleblowers.

We're confident our partners around the world, many of whom we've worked with for years, share our values and commitment to human rights and would uphold these practices on their own. But it's still important for us to have our most important commitments and policies in writing and publicly available on our website. It holds us and our partners to account and reminds us, as we grow and evolve, that ultimately we are a company that cares first and foremost about our people, each of whom deserve our gratitude and are fundamentally entitled to human rights.

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