Assessing human rights through stakeholder engagement in Uruguay

UPM works systematically to ensure that human rights are respected across the value chain. In 2018, we took an important step forward in Uruguay to identify salient human rights issues specifically relevant for our Fray Bentos site. The work was conducted with the assistance of Shift, the non-profit organisation and the leading centre of expertise on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.

In 2017, an initial human rights assessment was conducted at all of UPM’s 75 operational sites globally with the assistance of Shift. The work was part of UPM’s human rights due diligence programme and provided further guidance how to identify and review the most salient human rights issues for UPM and what are the recommended actions locally in our various sites.

“We wanted to continue the work with Shift and decided to conduct the first local human rights risk assessment in our Uruguay operations. Our aim was to learn and increase our capacity to address human rights topics locally, and to strengthen our dialogue with local stakeholders,” says Päivi Salpakivi-Salomaa, Director, Stakeholder Relations, UPM Uruguay.

“UPM is a significant employer in Uruguay and the company has a high impact on local society. This is why it is important to understand the effects our operations have on people in all aspects, so we are able to support social development locally, as well as minimise and prevent potential negative effects,” she notes.

Topics such as management systems, working conditions, contractor management and community engagement were included in the assessment. It focused on collaboration with various stakeholders, such as employees, contractors, local communities, plantations and nurseries. The impact of UPM’s operations on people, society and environment in Uruguay, particularly on human rights, was considered. The emphasis was on continuous improvement of cooperation with local stakeholders.


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