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Auto Manufacturers Form Pact on Human Rights, Sustainability, Ethical Standards

More than a dozen of the world's largest car makers have agreed on minimum human rights, environmental and business ethics standards for their global supply chains, according to the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) in Michigan and CSR Europe in Brussels, which today jointly announced the "unprecedented agreement."

Auto Manufacturers Form Pact on Human Rights, Sustainability, Ethical Standards

“We endeavor to achieve excellence, innovation and performance in a sustainable manner,” states a one-page guiding principles document supplied in advance to GreenBiz. “People and the environment are the automotive industry’s most important resources. For this reason, we are working together to attain the highest standard in business integrity and in the social and environmental performance of our supply chain.”

Automakers supporting the guidelines include BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar/Land Rover, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Scania, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo.

While some of these manufacturers have their own standards, codes and policies that supersede the new agreement, “we believe in the benefits of a common approach and message,” states the document, which describes minimum expectations for direct suppliers and their subcontractors.

“We expect that suppliers will uphold these standards and cascade them down their supply chain,” according to the guidelines, which are based on “fundamental principles of social and environmental responsibility that are compliant with local law [and] consistent with international expectations.”

The agreement calls on the manufacturers to pursue comprehensive strategies to reduce the lifecycle environmental footprint of all supply chain products and materials. Suggested measures include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting energy use and water consumption, boosting renewable energy use and improving waste management.

Additionally, the guidelines set minimum standards on business ethics, working conditions and human rights that comply with applicable local laws. These include a no-tolerance policy on child labor, forced labor, human trafficking, harassment and discrimination.

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