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Rights of children & youth

Everything we do at Neste serves one purpose: to create a healthier planet for our children. We are committed to respecting and supporting children’s rights, and to implementing the Children’s Rights and Business Principles throughout our business and value chains, including in our workplace, marketplace and communities. 

Children’s Rights are Human Rights

At Neste, we understand our responsibility to embed respect for children’s rights through our core business actions, as well as in our policy commitments, due diligence and remediation measures. 

The Neste Human Rights Principle outlines Neste’s responsibility and commitment to respect human rights, including children’s rights, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It identifies the rights of children and young workers as a salient human rights issue for Neste, and defines expectations for addressing children’s rights issues in Neste’s operations, supply chains, business relationships and communities. This includes prohibiting child labour, ensuring the rights to education and health for children, and upholding the right to just and favourable work conditions and no hazardous work for young workers.

Eliminating Child Labour

At Neste, we are committed to eradicating child labour and recognize the need to find durable solutions that support children and members of their families, who are in or at risk of child labour, to ensure they are given the chance they deserve to better education, protection and future. Read more in our Modern Slavery Statement which is updated annually and details the steps we are taking to identify, assess and address child labour risks in our operations and supply chains.

Decent working conditions and family friendly policies

We understand that our business can impact the lives of children in multiple ways on a daily basis. That is why we also strive to support our employees as families and parents. We promote employee wellbeing and a healthy work-life balance, provide agile, flexible ways of working and fair wages for parents to support their families, ensure safe working conditions so that caregivers return home, and regularly conduct employee surveys to determine if these practices meet our employee needs.

Creating opportunities for young people 

There is an urgent global need to reduce the number of youth aged 15-24 not in employment, education or training. At Neste, we celebrate the importance of training and equipping young people with the skills they need for the future. We understand that interactions with the world of work help broaden young people’s horizons and raise their aspirations, and we are committed to supporting young people develop their skills and talents and make informed career choices. 

Through our Neste Summer Trainee Programme, we provide hundreds of summer job opportunities for young professionals yearly. 

We offer multiple thesis work opportunities to students from different disciplines, and partner with educational institutions and schools on an ongoing basis to expose students to different career paths and insights on the future of working life. 

We also offer opportunities for high school students to gain exposure to working life, including our participation in the TET two-week work experience period for Finnish 9th graders.

Collaborating on Children’s Rights Issues

As is the case with all human rights issues, children’s rights are best advanced through collaboration. Below are just a few ways in which we are collaborating to ensure children’s rights are supported, protected and upheld: 

Empowering Girls through #GirlsTakeover

On 11 October, 2021, Neste took part in children’s rights organization Plan International’s #GirlsTakeover campaign. In celebration of International Day of the Girl, the global campaign draws attention to gender equality by enabling girls around the world to step into the shoes of political, social and financial leaders. 

As part of the campaign, Neste’s President and CEO, Peter Vanacker, handed over his role to 15 year old Martta Lyytinen for the day. The aim of the takeover is to provide a platform for girls' voices and empower girls to drive decision making in a genuine and meaningful way. During her takeover as CEO, Martta met with various members of Neste’s Executive Committee to share her ideas and viewpoints on topics ranging from the climate crisis to equality, inclusion and social impact.

Discussions on the day also incorporated the broader theme of the 2021 #GirlsTakeover campaign, “Girls and Knowledge,” emphasizing that access to reliable and factual information is essential for equality. False information, beliefs and myths perpetuate discriminatory structures and inequalities, such as harmful gender roles and norms which prevent girls from realising their full potential and participation in society. 

Tackling social exclusion of young people

In 2020, Neste and the Mantsinen Group joined forces to address the issue of social exclusion of youth in Finland. One in five children in developed countries live in poverty and through the Zero Exclusion campaign, Neste and Mantsinen pledged to get the voices of these young people heard and raise funds to tackle social exclusion. In addition to engaging socially excluded youth, the project has raised over EUR 55 000 to be donated to Finnish NGO Hope in their work against social exclusion of children and youth. Read more about the campaign

Addressing the root causes of children’s rights issues

Under our Sustainability Vision we aim to create a more equitable and inclusive value chain in which everyone works with dignity. This includes requiring and securing living wages and using our platforms to increase children’s access to education and reduce inequalities across the value chain. 

We are working closely with our partners to achieve these targets. For example, in September 2021 we made a Unilever Partner Promise to work alongside Unilever to drive ambitious social goals on Living Wage, and Supplier Equality, Diversity & Inclusion, aimed at improving lives and livelihoods, and addressing social inequality in our value chains.

Protecting the rights of children living on palm plantations

In 2019, Neste, together with a number of major brands, partnered with Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and Wilmar on a program aimed at protecting the rights of children living on palm plantations. In 2020, this initiative continued with a series of capacity building workshops on child protection in the Indonesian palm sector, and the publication of the Child Protection Policy Implementation Manual, designed to be detailed and comprehensive while also incorporating field guidance and illustrations for universal understanding.