Human rights

As part of our core values, we’re committed to respecting internationally recognized human rights in all our operations and throughout our value chain. We understand that through our roles as employer, manufacturer, business partner and member of many communities, we can potentially impact the lives of millions of people.

While we’re committed to making a positive impact through our products and programs, we’re also aware of the potential negative impact we may cause, contribute to or be linked to. In 2021, we finalized our second in-depth global salient human rights issues assessment. While we respect all human rights equally, we prioritized certain issues based on their severity and likelihood. This has resulted in the following salient human rights issues for us to focus on. In 2022, we continued to assess and work on our human rights initiatives.

Salient human rights assessment


Upstream supply chain

Own operations


Downstream (customers, end users)

Health and safety

Working conditions

Discrimination and harassment




Negative impacts on local communities



Modern slavery



Health and safety

The safety of our people, those we work with and those we offer our products to is of the utmost importance. That’s why we have policies and programs in place to identify and assess health and safety hazards (See Health and safety). As part of our human rights assessment, we identified two-wheeler driving as a risk area. Please refer to the People safety and health section on mitigation and implementation in 2022.

Working conditions

We take our commitment to providing good working conditions seriously, both for our employees and those visiting our sites. This year, we introduced our own Global Working Hours standard in Europe, Middle East, Africa, and , and are continuing to roll them out in the remaining regions. This way we can ensure that we’re working a safe number of hours everywhere in the world, even if local laws allow people to work longer. We’ve conducted an impact analysis in all of our regions and started making region-specific implementation plans to make sure that we don’t unintentionally cause difficulties for our people and their livelihoods.

In order to safeguard and further improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene at our manufacturing sites, our sites annually perform a WASH self-assessment using the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s tool for business. Of the manufacturing locations assigned for 2022, 83% completed the WASH assessment. No material deviations to the requirements based on the assessments were identified in 2022.

Discrimination and harassment

Everyone should be comfortable and feel they are treated with dignity and respect. We believe an inclusive environment paves the way to a high-performing organization. So we don’t tolerate any sort of discrimination and we investigate allegations of discrimination and harassment. For further details about our D&I strategy, please refer to Diversity and inclusion.

Impact on local communities

We aim to be a good neighbor and contribute to the well-being of communities. To do so, we work closely with them to manage the social impact of our business activities, address any concerns about our operations and enhance the benefits we’re able to bring.

Modern slavery

We have zero tolerance for modern slavery, such as child or forced labor, and conduct due diligence into our high-risk supply chains. In 2022, we sent 330 surveys to suppliers that indirectly or directly use barytes, calcium carbonate, cobalt, fluorspar, mica, talcum and tin, as those materials have a potential high impact on human rights based on our 2021 research on our raw material portfolio. We paused due diligence on copper until the Responsible Mineral Initiative (RMI) and the Copper Mark publish their criteria guide in March 2023.

For cobalt, tin and mica, we used templates from the Responsible Minerals Initiative. Of those 104 suppliers who con­firmed using tin and/or cobalt necessary for the functionality of the product, 83% disclosed their smelters. In total, 83% of these smelters were either listed as active or conformant smelters in the Res­ponsible Minerals Assurance Process.

Stunning street art brightened up four neighborhoods in the Tunisian district of Jbel Jelloud, thanks to our “Let’s Colour” program and the amazing talent of 32 graffiti artists. It was all part of the fifth Chokri Belaid World Forum for Arts and Culture. They used 900 liters of our Astral paint to create more than 7,000 square meters of frescoes.

At this time, there are no conformant mica processors listed on the Responsible Mineral Initiative platform. However, through our Responsible Mica Initiative membership, we – together with many stakeholders and peer companies – commit to:

  • Having 100% of processors compliant with the RMI Global Workplace standard
  • Establishing a fair and responsible mica supply chain (including fair living income) in the Indian states of Jharkhand and Bihar
  • Eliminating unacceptable working conditions and eradicating child labor in India’s mica supply chains by 2030

All our mica pigment suppliers sourcing mica in India are members of the Responsible Mica Initiative and therefore share the same commitment.

For the other materials mentioned above and that are not included in the Responsible Minerals Assurance Process, we sent our own survey to 91 suppliers, over and above the 81 we surveyed last year, to increase transparency of these supply chains. The results gave us further insight into our supply chain complexity and risks. We can now set up new actions, such as planning mine audits where insufficient controls seem to be in place. By the end of the year, we had an 85% response rate on all materials (response rate on conflict mineral tin was 89%).

Latin America

Excludes Mexico.

North Asia

Includes, among others, China, Japan and South Korea.