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Kesko publishes statement of commitment on human rights

HELSINKI, 2016-Sep-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Kesko has completed a human rights impact assessment in compliance with UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The extensive survey involved listening to the views of customers, personnel and high-risk country factory workers on human rights and on the implementation of human rights in the K-Group’s operations.

In 2014, Kesko initiated a human rights impact assessment in compliance with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The principles obligate business enterprises to respect human rights in all their operations. Business enterprises shall survey the human rights impacts and risks of their operations, create systems to avoid the risks and lay out processes for any corrective actions.

During the work, identified salient human rights impacts were investigated, risks related to them were assessed, and monitoring, indicators and corrective actions were agreed on.Human rights assessment is a continuous process for Kesko that will be reviewed every three years and updated on the website.

Non-discrimination, accessibility and availability important for customers

During the autumn of 2015 and spring of 2016, the views of stakeholders on human rights and their implementation in the operations of the K-Group were surveyed.

“We heard our stakeholders in order to investigate how different customer groups saw human rights implemented in various situations in stores. District coordinators of SASK interviewed factory workers in factories manufacturing Kesko’s branded goods in four high-risk countries: China, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines. For our own personnel, we utilized Kesko’s personnel survey and surveyed chief shop stewards”, says Matti Kalervo, Kesko’s Vice President for Corporate Responsibility.

Customer hearings reinforced Kesko’s view that the right to health, children’s right to special protection and the prohibition of discrimination are seen by customers as the most central human rights that Kesko has to take care of. Special attention has to be paid to the zero tolerance of discrimination, the development and maintenance of grievance mechanisms for discrimination as well as the development and maintenance of accessibility and availability.

The results from the assessments of high-risk country factories in China, India, Bangladesh and the Philippines were largely consistent with BSCI and SA8000 reports. Employment relationships were found to be fragile, and there were omissions in working hours and overtime pay, among other things. Employee organisations were found to be practically prohibited. Kesko has forwarded the information to the BSCI organisation for future development of auditing procedures.

Kesko published its statement of commitment on human rights

In compliance with the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the management of a responsible company shall make a public statement of commitment on human rights.

Kesko has published the following statement of commitment on its website:

· Kesko respects all internationally recognized human rights.
· In compliance with the due diligence obligation, Kesko has, and will, establish its procedures and practices in ways which respect human rights in all of Kesko’s operations.
· Kesko’s operations have a salient impact on the human rights of four groups: customers, personnel, purchasing chains and communities in which we operate.
· Kesko listens to its stakeholders’ views on human rights and takes them into account in the development of its operations.
· Kesko expects its business partners to respect all internationally recognised human rights.

See Kesko’s entire human rights assessment at

Kesko is a Finnish listed trading sector company. Kesko operates in the grocery trade, the building and technical trade and the car trade. Its divisions and chains act in close cooperation with retailer entrepreneurs and other partners. In 2015, Kesko’s net sales totalled €8.7 billion and it employed more than 20,000 people. Kesko operates in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and Poland. Kesko’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. The company’s domicile and main premises are in Helsinki.

Further information:
Matti Kalervo
Kesko Corporation
Vice President for Corporate Responsibility
tel. +358 50 306 4081

Source: Kesko Corporation

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