Creating and implementing a company-wide corporate responsibility strategy
Aliaxis, a world-leading plastic piping manufacturer with operations in 45 countries, asked Threefold to work with them to develop a focused and achievable corporate responsibility (CR) strategy – a first for the company. We conducted an analysis of the company's most material corporate responsibility issues and impacts based on inputs from interviews with senior management, functional heads and external stakeholders; a competitor review; desktop research; and internal workshops.
This analysis was used to inform the development of a new CR framework for Aliaxis focused on 5 high impact areas and responding to key business drivers and stakeholder concerns. The analysis and framework were approved by the executive committee in June 2019. We have continued to work with the Aliaxis leadership to establish governance and drive implementation, as well as supporting the teams responsible for each of the focus areas to build roadmaps and prioritise actions.
“We feel very lucky to have found Milka and Annette to work with us. They understand how companies work and were immediately able to explain to the people they spoke to how corporate responsibility links to their function and can support them in achieving their objectives. This is a new priority for us and Threefold has given us the achievable and pragmatic approach that we asked for so that everyone can get energised around the impact we can have together. I have truly enjoyed working with these two professionals and I admire a lot their ability to navigate from a strategic view to very hands-on discussions. This is not a given for everyone!"
- Ursula Saint Léger, Chief HR, Communications and Corporate Responsibility Officer, Aliaxis
Human rights gap analysis & programme support
Helios Towers owns and operates telecommunications towers and other infrastructure across several, high-growth African markets, enabling mobile operators to roll out coverage and provide wireless voice and data services to millions of consumers.
Threefold’s engagement with Helios Towers started with a human rights gap analysis. This involved reviewing the company’s key human rights risks; assessing the current level of maturity of programmes to manage these risks; and identify any gaps and opportunities going forward. Following on from this, Threefold has supported Helios Towers to draft its human rights policy and strengthen its sustainable procurement programme, including the development of a supplier self-assessment questionnaire covering human and labour rights as well as environmental requirements.
“Threefold’s pragmatic approach has been a great fit for Helios Towers as we develop and strengthen our human rights programme. Their business and human rights expertise - coupled with their understanding of our markets and their in-house implementation experience - has assisted us in both building a clear picture of our human rights priorities, as well as taking concrete actions to move forward.”
– Sima Varsani, Group Sustainability Manager, Helios Towers
Threefold has been working with GSMA, the mobile communications industry association, since 2019 to provide inspiration, guidance and support to members in managing the sector’s most salient human rights issues. This has involved producing guidance documents and delivering webinars focused on the practical implementation of business and human rights programmes, including the sharing of good practice.
As part of this work, Threefold has authored two publications:
An introduction to human rights for the mobile sector- a high-level introduction to the most salient human rights issues for mobile operators
Human Rights Guidance for the Mobile Industry– guidance covering seven of the most salient human rights issues for mobile operators
In addition to running webinars providing an introduction to business and human rights, Threefold led webinars on specific salient issues for the sector covering modern slavery; child rights and online safety; and privacy and freedom of expression. In 2021, in response to demand from members, a new webinar series was launched to focus on the practical implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, covering human rights policy commitment, due diligence and remediation.
Business and human rights guidance and training for the telecom sector
Developing a new responsible supply chain strategy
Statkraft is Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy solutions, providing hydro, solar and wind power solutions in 16 markets across the world. Threefold supported Statkraft to strengthen and develop the company-wide responsible supply chain programme.
Working in close collaboration with the Statkraft team, our work included designing the overall framework for the programme; identifying priority areas for action together with short and long-term action plans; and putting together materials to introduce the programme to senior management for approval. We used our knowledge and experience of implementing similar programmes within complex, global organisations to offer concrete advice and solutions. We then worked with the team to create clear and engaging materials to present the programme and gain buy-in from key senior management.
Understanding and managing child rights in the digital sector
Threefold has worked for several years with UNICEF’s Child Rights and Business unit in Geneva on child rights issues relating to the digital sector. Outcomes of this work include: Discussion Paper on Child Rights and Online Gaming in 2019 and subsequent UNICEF Child Rights and Business - Recommendations for the Online Gaming Industry (2020) as well as an update to Child Rights Impact Self-Assessment Tool for Mobile Operators in 2021.
Conducting a company child rights, wellbeing and safety gap analysis
Threefold conducted a digital child rights, wellbeing and safety gap analysis for a global consumer brand targeting children.The objectives were to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement in the company’s implementation of its existing digital child safety and wellbeing policies, as well as to assess the completeness of the company’s overall policy framework against best practice. The results of the gap analysis were then used to help prioritise action as part of the company’s new digital child rights strategy.
Best practice was identified through a review of agreed international frameworks on corporate responsibility and child rights, together with interviews with a number of peer companies and civil society stakeholders. The analysis then involved reviewing the company’s existing policies and guidelines; creating a gap analysis questionnaire and carrying out interviews with policy owners and other key functions. Threefold prepared a final report and presentation of the findings, together with a roadmap identifying priority actions for the strategy and policy areas going forward.
Comprehensive child rights impact assessment for Verizon
Verizon commissioned Threefold to carry out a comprehensive child rights impact assessment (CRIA) across its business units and operations including product development, sales and marketing, human resources and procurement. The CRIA covered the full range of online and offline child rights impacts and risks with focus on risks relating to child sexual exploitation and abuse (CSEA) in the online environment to the extent relevant to Verizon’s business. The overall objective of the CRIA was to inform and support Verizon’s work in identifying, preventing and/or mitigating risks to child rights related to its operations, and to support and inform the work of the company’s already well-established human rights program and digital safety team.
The CRIA was informed by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and key child rights frameworks, most notably the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its General Comment 25 on Rights of Children in the Digital Environment. Internal and external stakeholders were engaged as part of the process of identifying and assessing Verizon’s child rights impacts and Threefold also provided recommendations for the management, prioritization and mitigation of risks as well as highlighted opportunities to support child rights. Threefold was joined in this project by Amy Crocker who brought to the project her considerable expertise in the area of CSEA.
Using UNICEF’s Child Rights Impact Self-Assessment Tool for Mobile Operators (MO-CRIA) at Vodafone
Vodafone Group has a commitment in its Human Rights Policy statement to respect children’s rights throughout its operations. In line with this commitment, Vodafone Group commissioned Threefold to complete a child rights impact assessment using UNICEF’s Child Rights Impact Self-Assessment Tool for Mobile Operators (MO-CRIA) with the objectives of taking a broad look at where the business may interact with and impact children; identifying any gaps in policies or practices; and providing recommendations to improve Vodafone’s current management of child rights risk and impacts.
The assessment involved evaluating Vodafone’s policies, processes and overall approach relating to child rights across seven assessment areas: corporate responsibility/sustainability; children and the digital environment; human resources; products, sales and marketing; procurement; as well as potential impacts arising from network and security operations. The assessment enabled Vodafone to build a holistic view of its child rights impacts and further strengthen its approach to respecting child rights across its operations. The findings and recommendations also served as a starting point for an action plan to be implemented with teams across the Vodafone Group.
Human rights due diligence for Navico
Navico is a specialist marine electronics company which develops, designs and manufactures navigation, marine instruments and fish finding equipment for both the recreational and commercial marine sectors.
Threefold partnered with Navico to support the company to conduct human rights due diligence across its operations and business relationships including in relation to its employees, supply chain, local communities, customers and products. The project also examined the company’s leverage and responsibility in different product use scenarios.
In addition to identifying and prioritising the company’s most salient human rights risks and impacts, the project involved assessing how well these were being managed and identifying opportunities to strengthen the current approach. A wide range of Navico teams – from manufacturing to procurement, legal & compliance, human resources, internal audit, sustainability and sales - were involved through a number of workshops.