2018 Sustainability Report

arrow blueCommitted to using financial, natural and human resources wisely without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs

Human Rights & Fair Labor Practices

Upholding fundamental rights in our operations and throughout our supply chain.

United Nations Sustainable Development GoalsGood health and well-beingQuality educationGender equalityDecent work and economic growth

Why Human Rights & Fair Labor Practices Matters

Collective bargaining agreements

Explanation of the material topic and its Boundary

Explain management approach components

Evaluate management approach

Operations and suppliers in which the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining may be at risk

GRI 102-41; 405: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 406: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 407: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 407-1; 408: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 409: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3; 412: 103-1, 103-2, 103-3

As a manufacturing company, Greif participates in a labor-intensive industry. Our commitment to upholding international human rights and fair labor practices is directly aligned with our commitments to the health and safety of our colleagues. We maintain these standards and expectations throughout our supply chain. We are committed to working with responsible supply partners to ensure our customers’ confidence in our responsible sourcing and labor practices.


Recognition from EcoVadis

Received for our commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility, placing us in the top four percent of all assessed suppliers.


Greif maintains human rights and fair labor practices in accordance with the UN Global Compact Principles and International Labor Organization’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We enforce various policies to manage our commitment to these Principles internally and in our supply chain. This includes our Anti-harassment, Child Labor, Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, Equal Employment Opportunity and Diversity, Fair Treatment of Others, Human Rights and Supplier Code of Conduct policies.

Greif’s local HR teams leverage risk assessments, age and legal working status verifications, awareness training, localized gender equality procedures and whistleblower procedures to implement these policies in our operations. To enable our colleagues to anonymously report potential human rights violations, we publicly post our global Alert Line in all facilities. Each complaint is instantly directed to a regional vice president so it can be addressed appropriately. We hold not only ourselves, but our suppliers to the highest standards via our Supplier Code of Conduct. We manage supplier performance through EcoVadis, a tool that allows us to assess each supplier’s human rights and fair labor practices performance.

52 percent of Greif’s colleagues engage in collective bargaining agreements (CBA). Each CBA is independently managed in each region with our Human Resources and Legal teams providing oversight. For further information on Greif’s approach to labor relations, please see Risk Management & Business Continuity.

In 2018, Greif received 78 human rights and fair labor practice complaints through our Alert Line. We investigated and resolved 94 percent of complaints. The remaining complaints are under ongoing investigation. We translated our human rights and fair labor practices policies into 18 different languages. We completed updates to local policies and procedures, as needed, in each of our operating countries to maintain compliance with local regulations and standards within the employment market. In the United States, we updated our Parental Leave Policy to include four weeks of paid leave for any parent, including adoptions.

To enhance our understanding of the human rights risks faced by Greif, we began formalizing a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) process. The HRIA will enable a systematic process to identify, prioritize and address human rights issues within our operations, supply chain and other business relationships. Referencing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the starting point was to identify a suitable framework and we are currently researching potential partners to help develop and implement a robust assessment process.

In 2019, Greif will continue enhancing our regional policies and procedures. We will complete our supply chain human rights impact assessment. In the United States, we will introduce full-tuition reimbursement for any colleague that enrolls in an MBA program and develop a plan to expand this benefit beyond the United States, starting with EMEA.  

Goals & Progress

In 2017, Greif established three Human Rights & Fair Labor Practice goals:

  • 100 percent of our operations will be subject to internal human rights reviews, measured on a rolling cycle, by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • 100 percent of employees will be trained in human rights policies and procedures by the end of fiscal year 2025.
  • Using fiscal year 2017 baseline, increase the proportion of women in management positions by 25 percent by the end of fiscal year 2025.

In 2018, Greif formed a Human Rights and Labor Practice Team to support progress towards these goals. The team is responsible for the creation of specific action plans and milestones for each objective, extending the team to involve other business stakeholders as necessary, ensuring there is a systematic approach to achieving our goals. The starting point was to benchmark best practices from around the globe and other organizations, to identify whether and how any of these existing best practices can be leveraged throughout Greif. The team comprises members of the global HR community, and provides coverage of all Greif geographic regions and lines of business. A scorecard and range of KPI’s had been developed to track progress. In 2019, we will continue to develop and implement these action plans, and report progress towards our 2025 goals.