Efficient and sustainable transport contributes to the building of resilient societies, and enables economic, social, and cultural development. We continuously develop our products, services, and technologies to increase their value for our customers and promote the well-being and safety of people. This is embodied in our overall approach to business and human rights. The Volvo Group is committed to respect human rights and we recognize that a holistic business and human rights approach is a key enabler for reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Our responsibility to respect human rights includes supporting and recognizing the following international human rights instruments:
The Volvo Group’s human rights governance model is based on cross-functional governance forums and working groups, all steered by a Human Rights Board, composed by relevant members from our Executive Board. The Human Rights Board is responsible for overseeing and directing the Volvo Group’s human rights work. Our Group Functions such as Corporate Responsibility, Legal and Compliance, and Human Resources, together with our Group Truck Divisions and Business Areas, identify, assess, and monitor business and human rights-related risks within our operating environment.
The Volvo Group’s sustainability ambitions are divided into three areas: Climate – Resources – People. Human rights risks might be associated with our activities and business relationships in all three of these areas. Our Human Rights Policy describes the Volvo Group’s salient human rights risks across these three areas. These risks are our current areas of focus and we will remain alert to the potential for other business and human rights risks that may arise in our business relationships.
The Volvo Group also complies with human rights related reporting requirements under the EU’s non-financial reporting directive and other applicable national legislation. We publish Modern Slavery Statements for relevant companies within the Volvo Group annually.
The Volvo Group Code of Conduct, Human Rights Policy, Supplier Code of Conduct, and other Group-level policies reflect our commitment to respect human rights. We set and communicate our expectations and human rights approach through these guiding documents.
We consider these the most relevant human rights issues for the Volvo Group currently and continue to identify any other issues that may become relevant. These topics are also part of the mandatory training for all employees in the Volvo Group Code of Conduct.
Volvo Group’s human rights due diligence and mitigation efforts are focused on where we believe there are the highest risks of people being harmed across the value chain – own operations, supply chain, strategic business partners, and certain sales transactions. We also consider country/region human rights at work risk levels, purchase category or sales segment risks, and potential concerns brought to our attention by our employees and external stakeholders.
Human rights reviews in our own operations aims to identify actual and potential adverse human rights impacts on employees, consultants, and onsite service providers. This involves desktop review of country and sector human rights risks, self-assessments and in-person workshops with the local management, in-person discussions with employees, onsite service providers, union representatives and, if relevant, potential in-person discussions with other stakeholders.
The findings of each country-level human rights review are communicated to relevant members of our top management and action plans for identified improvement areas are created with clear ownership and anchoring within the local management. Our target is to perform human rights reviews covering all own operations in countries with elevated human rights concerns by 2025.
Our Supplier Code of Conduct outlines the Volvo Group’s minimum requirements and aspirations for all our suppliers in the areas of human rights and working conditions, health and safety, responsible sourcing of raw materials, environmental performance, and business ethics. Human rights due-diligence in the supply chain includes supplier risk assessment, on-site audits, and supplier training in collaboration with DRIVE Sustainability – a sector wide collaboration for a more sustainable automotive value chain.
In addition to our owned manufacturing operations, the Volvo Group collaborates with private business partners to assemble trucks in certain locations in Africa and Asia, and several bus body builders around the world that build bus bodies on our chassis in line with customer requirements. We are also considering how to strengthen our contractual terms and overall due diligence on corporate responsibility and our human rights approach at truck assembly partners and bus body builders.
In the context of our responsible sales process and human rights framework, we screen certain sales deals for risks related to human rights, environmental factors, and business ethics beyond compliance. These screenings are primarily performed when export credit agencies or certain private insurance companies are involved for guarantees on customer financing.
Sales deals with identified risks are typically escalated within the respective business areas or at the Group level for further consideration and action according to our human rights frameworks. We often discuss and engage with the respective customers to clarify and mitigate identified issues. We also perform risk assessments from compliance, legal and corporate responsibility perspectives in selected military, governmental and other high-risk sales deals considering country of use, end-user, and intended end-use.
Our employees and external stakeholders can report, to the extent permitted by local laws, any instances of human rights violations in connection with the Volvo Group or breach of our Code of Conduct through our internal and public grievance channels. You are encouraged to report violations or suspected violations of our Code of Conduct. The third party hosted, Volvo Group Whistle, is also available to submit complaints relating to violations of our Code of Conduct.