Commemorating Human Rights Day

10 December is International Human Rights Day. On this day in 1948, the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a key document setting out the fundamental rights of people everywhere. The declaration details rights such as equality, the prohibition of discrimination, the right to freedom of conscience and religion and freedom of opinion and expression.


It is important to commemorate this day, says Marijke Everts (Director Corporate Affairs VanDrie Group). “As a company, we have the responsibility to respect human rights, both in our dealings with employees and with external partners. We have a duty to ensure that all our colleagues experience safe and healthy working conditions. At the same time, we should look at how we exert influence in our supply chain to ensure that violations of labour rights or the local population are prevented there."

If you want to be a socially responsible company, you have to make sure that you keep improving.- Marijke Everts

However, this is quite complicated, admits Everts. "Although most of our activities take place in Europe, we also have trade flows to and from countries outside Europe. As a result, it is a challenge to properly get to know our customers and suppliers all over the world so that we can be sure that what we consider important is also shared by them. We have a Fair Trade guide so that our business partners know what we stand for. We also carry out regular checks to test our own approach and have a whistle-blowing policy  that is accessible anonymously to staff, customers and suppliers alike."

Everts believes that, in this respect, the work of the VanDrie Group is far from complete: "We are well aware that we need to lead by example and that we should act with integrity. If you want to be a socially responsible company, you have to make sure that you keep improving. The same is true for our process, where we, as a chain coordinator, identify, prevent and reduce the actual and potential negative effects of activities in the chain."

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