The right to education. The right to rest and leisure. The right to freedom of expression. These are just a few of the articles laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which turns 70 this year. Many of us take these rights for granted because they are so familiar to us now in our everyday lives, but in some parts of the world these basic rights are still not being met.
With levels of political and economic volatility increasing across the globe, the UDHR is just as relevant today as it was when it was adopted after the Second World War. It is the most translated document in the world, available in more than 500 languages, and its signing was the first time fundamental human rights were affirmed to be universally protected.
Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Universal Declaration of Human Rights poster.
Photo Credit: United Nations
The declaration established a set of rights that all human beings are entitled to, regardless of race, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status. These inalienable rights include, among others, freedom of thought, expression and religion, rights to education and work, and freedom from torture and slavery.
This year, the UN Human Rights Office will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the UDHR – Dec. 10, 1948 – when the United Nations General Assembly officially adopted the declaration.
As part of our Performance with Purpose 2025 Agenda, PepsiCo is committed to respecting the human rights of all workers throughout our value chain and the the local communities where we operate. The following highlights three of PepsiCo’s “salient human rights issues,” which represent our areas of greatest impact:
1. Human right to water: In 2009, PepsiCo publicly committed to respecting water as a basic human right. Our understanding of what it means to respect the human right to water in practice continues to evolve, as we aim to improve our water use without compromising the ability of others to enjoy this right. Building on goals established in 2016, we will advance our environmental efforts by protecting and conserving global water supplies, especially in water-stressed areas, and helping to provide access to safe, sufficient, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water in the communities where we operate.
Read more about our goals and progress here.
2. Land rights: Land rights issues can directly impact the lives of rights holders, such as through physical displacement. We are committed to implementing our Land Policy and working with external stakeholders to identify and address land rights issues in our value chain. During 2016 and early 2017, we conducted assessments in Thailand, Mexico, and the Philippines that looked at land-related impact, as well as labor issues more generally, to inform the human rights priorities for our sustainable agriculture team that seeks to deliver sustainably sourced raw materials from around the world.
The Mexico assessment can be found here. Please see our initial response here.
3. Workplace safety: Protecting the safety, health and wellbeing of our associates around the world is one of our top priorities. We are working in a number of ways to promote the values of health and safety at PepsiCo and ensure the continual improvement of our culture and performance when it comes to health and safety. In 2016, we evolved our Global Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) strategy to focus on pursuing a positive impact culture, as well as reducing our significant incidents.
Read more about our EHS program and performance here.
You can take part in promoting the UDHR by recording yourself reading an article from the declaration in your native language and uploading it to the UN’s Add Your Voice Project.
Learn more about PepsiCo’s human rights policies and initiatives.
Watch this video to learn more about International Human Rights Day.