Global expectations on Indian operations

REPORT | 2 September 2013
Trucks loading at Stora Ensos Indian subsidiary Stora Enso Inpac Delta India in Chennai. Foto: Cividep

A study on the human rights challenges of Finnish-Swedish forest industry group Stora Enso in India shows that safety and workers´rights need more attention.

The report Global expectations on Indian operations, done by Finnwatch and Swedwatch in collaboration, examines forest-industry corporation Stora Enso’s response to the human rights challenges within its Indian operations. Stora Enso’s responsibility practices have received ample public attention in recent years, particularly its operations in China and Brazil. However, the Indian operations have not been scrutinized before.

The report examines Stora Enso’s corporate responsibility activities in its Indian subsidiary Stora Enso Inpac Delta India that produces various kinds of paper-based consumer packaging products. Prior to the acquisition Stora Enso conducted a human rights risk assessment. Stora Enso was aware of the problems regarding safety and the high frequency of accidents when they acquired the factory from its previous owner.

To conduct human rights due diligence is an essential part of corporate responsibility, used to assess corporate human rights risks, and to develop a plan for how to prevent and respond to these risks. It can be considered a good example for assessing the adequacy and functionality of Stora Enso’s current human rights due diligence since the factory was acquired when Stora Enso’s new corporate strategy had come into effect.

Despite the human rights risk assessment done by the company prior to the acquisition of the Indian factory, the study shows that improvements implemented were late and far from enough. The report shows that Stora Enso has recognized a workers’ union and started a process of major change. Despite this, the working temperature in the factory is dangerously high, and training in safety and information on working committees were inadequate.

Workers interviewed still considered their safety to be compromised on a daily basis due to, among other things, insufficient training and an extremely hot working environment. The report outlines several areas where there is need for further improvements in Stora Enso’s responsibility practices. Several of the recommendations in the report will be implemented according to the company.