Human rights

The respect for human rights at Iberdrola, our commitment

We are committed to the promotion and achievement of human rights, with the ambition to help achieve a more sustainable world. From this position, Iberdrola has the necessary tools to guarantee and promote these principles.

Human rights
Iberdrola is committed to the protection and fulfillment of human rights.

The group has a firm commitment to the defense of human rights and has a set of tools that ensure and promote the protection of and respect for people, in order to prevent, mitigate and repair any possible impact on human rights.

The Company’s practices are thus in line with the main international standards:

  • •    The principles underlying the United Nations Global Compact.
    •    The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP).
    •    The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
    •    The Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises.
    •    The Social Policy of the International Labour Organization (including 169th convention).
    •    The Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations.

Iberdrola has a Policy on Respect for Human Rights approved by the Board of Directors in 2015 and last updated in December 2020, the principles of which must be followed by all professionals of the group, regardless of the place in which they carry out their activities. The company has adopted the measures necessary to comply with this policy in all countries in which it operates, and has made the following commitments:

  • To respect the human and labour rights recognised in domestic and international legislation, as well as compliance with international standards in those countries in which human rights legislation has not reached an adequate level of development. 
  • To reject child labour and forced or compulsory labour or any other form of modern slavery and to respect freedom of association and collective bargaining, as well as non-discrimination, the right to freely circulate within each country, and the rights of ethnic minorities and of indigenous peoples in the places in which it carries out its activities. 
  • To advance a culture of respect for human rights and promote awareness-raising in this field among its professionals at all companies within the group, and especially at those where there may be a higher risk of violation of such rights. 
  • Furthermore, to transmit to all stakeholders the importance of respecting human and labour rights recognised in national and international legislation and to demand the same commitment from all business partners.

Human rights due diligence system

Respecting and protecting human rights goes far further than issues of regulatory compliance.

Iberdrola’s human rights due diligence system, which is underpinned by its Governance and Sustainability System, as well as its Control Model based on three lines of defence, is a process of ongoing review driven by the development of our Policy on Respect for Human Rights, which promotes the implementation of the Guiding Principles adjusted for the size of the company and the diversity and particularities of the facilities in the various countries.

Human rights management model
Human rights management model.

Iberdrola has set a final goal based on integrating all human rights-related issues into a single comprehensive Due Diligence System supported by existing procedures and systems. Iberdrola focuses on identifying possible gaps or opportunities for improvement in human rights management, analyzing compliance with its policy and other corporate procedures and policies relating to matters concerning the mitigation of impacts and respect for human rights. 

Human rights management model

In accordance with UNGP 15 and UNGP 17, Iberdrola understands the Human rights due diligence system as an ongoing process aimed at identifying and managing the risks and impacts associated with the development of its operations in all phases (planning, construction, operation, maintenance and closure of facilities of the electricity and energy sector), taking into account the geographical and social framework, and the features of its supply chain.

As a consequence of adopting of a broad definition of human rights, which entails a great diversity of issues and potential impacts, the group's Human rights due diligence system is supported by various sub-systems and their corresponding procedures (for example, Compliance, Health and Safety, Environmental, Purchasing, Cybersecurity, among others), which handle the matters they are responsible for. Annually, it is assessed that these sub-systems adequately cover these issues from a human rights perspective. The ultimate goal is to facilitate autonomous and efficient management of each area consistent with an integrated and cross-cutting vision of all human rights issues.

 Potential human rights impacts identified in the Iberdrola group
Potential human rights impacts identified in the Iberdrola group.

Annually the company reviews and updates the business / country risk map and the resulting data were cross-checked against the list of the main locations of operation, which is updated by the businesses, in order to know which of these locations might have a possible risk of violating human rights.

Iberdrola carries out a human rights risk analysis at 100% of its main locations of operation (259 locations of operation). The result of this analysis in 2022 showed that 60% of these locations, in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Greece, present possible risks in one or more of the following human rights issues: labour conditions; environmental impact; occupational safety and health; public safety; indigenous peoples; and lands and property.

Whenever there is a risk or impact detected, the due diligence system includes the design and implementation of appropriate measures for its prevention and mitigation. The environmental impact mitigation plans in the construction and operation licenses of our facilities are a clear example of mitigating measures because there is a correlation between impacts on the environment and impacts on human rights.

Once the main challenges to be faced have been identified, work must be done to apply sound human rights due diligence processes and practices, and to ensure that the results are considered when making decisions, and formulating strategies.

The main human rights challenges are in:

  • Reviewing the operating procedures of the group’s facilities to verify that they are in line with the recommendations of the UNGP with regard to the management and mitigation of any possible impact on local communities.
  • Reviewing the complaint and claim mechanisms, and formalising the classification, follow-up and control of complaints and claims, with the aim of facilitating Access to remedies for victims (third pillar of the Ruggie Framework).
  • Strengthening human rights due diligence in the supply chain, with the long-term objective of joint management (shared responsibility) in human rights due diligence with suppliers.

Due to the magnitude and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has confronted all companies with a unique crisis management event, Iberdrola has focused its efforts not only on business continuity, but also on protecting people’s rights and has implemented Iberdrola´s Global Response to Covid -19.

It is of the utmost importance for Iberdrola to promote a culture based on knowledge and respect for human rights, for which the company carries out various periodic internal and external training, and human rights awareness activities for different stakeholders.

For a fair, transparent, and ethical value chain

Suppliers are considered strategic actors within the IBERDROLA group and, as such, are considered business partners. At all times, the company seeks to establish the necessary policies and mechanisms to guarantee a fair, transparent, and ethical value chain.

In the management of suppliers and during the purchasing process, the measures adopted by the Company to protect human rights are based on both the Purchasing Policy, the Code of Ethics and the specific clauses of social responsibility contained in the conditions of contracting that accompany the orders issued. In this way, suppliers are committed to the principles of social responsibility and respect for human rights.

During the term of the contract, the provider must allow Iberdrola to review the degree of compliance with the principles established in the contracts and, if breaches are detected and no corrective plans are adopted, the company reserves the right to cancel them.

Iberdrola periodically analyzes purchases made in countries considered at risk for not having ratified the ILO conventions on forced labor, freedom of association and collective bargaining, and child labor; as well as those countries to which, having ratified said conventions, observations have been made that reveal weaknesses in the application of the aforementioned conventions.

And, for this, the Company makes different resources and materials available to suppliers, such as an online awareness module on Human Rights and business.

Finally, Iberdrola communicates the development of its activities, as well as the measures it carries out to repair, mitigate or remedy any impact caused in the process, responding to its Stakeholders and through the EINF Non-Financial Information Statement, responding to indexes, observatories and inquiries received through the different enabled channels.

As a result of its commitment, Iberdrola has once again been, for the second consecutive year, best in class in the ranking of the world’s largest renewable energy companies in terms of human rights. This is the report on Renewable Energy Companies and Human Rights, prepared by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC). It evaluates the world’s 15 largest listed wind and solar generation companies and addresses issues such as labour rights, the right to a clean and healthy environment, and community rights, among others.

In addition, the company has been the only European electric utility included in the 24 editions of the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and is regarded as one of the top sustainable electric utilities in the world.

Likewise, its inclusion, for yet another year since 2009, in the prestigious international FTSE4Good index ratifies its good performance in terms of labour standards, human rights, health and safety, biodiversity, climate change, water and customer responsibility and social aspects of the supply chain.

We publish our Human rights report

We are convinced of the role of business as a key actor in respecting and advancing human rights. For this reason, we present our Human Rights Report 2022 [PDF], which demonstrates our efforts to ensure compliance with these fundamental standards in each of our activities and business relationships. We thus reinforce our leadership position in the sector, endorsed by indicators such as the Renewable Energy and Human Rights Index and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. 

Since the approval of the Policy on Respect for Human Rights in 2015, we have been deploying formal commitments and specific measures for the identification, prevention, mitigation and, where appropriate, remediation of human rights impacts, in accordance with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). This report, verified by PwC, now sets out this progress so that all stakeholders can learn about our performance, in line with our commitment to transparency as set out in the Governance and Sustainability System.