Our salient human rights


We regularly conduct human rights impact assessments to ensure that rights are respected in our corporate conduct and decision-making processes. These assessments are crucial to identify the most important human rights risks and design consequent actions. By considering these rights in our policies and processes, we want to contribute to a culture of respect and a fairer and more equitable society.

Our latest human rights impact assessment
The 2022 human rights impact assessment is Ørsted’s third corporate-level human rights evaluation – the first having taken place in 2015. 

This recent evaluation was facilitated by an external organisation and involved interviews with Ørsted employees from various departments and regions. It also included extensive document review and discussions with rightsholders, relevant stakeholders and experts. 

The assessment took into consideration the nature of Ørsted’s products, services, operations and technologies, as well as human rights in relevant regions throughout the value chain. By taking this comprehensive approach, we were able to identify our salient human rights areas. 

What do we mean by salient human rights? 

Salient human rights refer to the rights that are most at risk of severe negative impacts through a company's activities or business relationships. These rights are determined by factors such as the scale of harm to individuals, the scope of people affected, the difficulty in remedying the harm, and the likelihood of it occurring.

We’ve identified the following six salient human rights areas: 

Labour conditions


Everyone has the right to fair working conditions. From global working hours to competitive remuneration, we’re committed to creating a sustainable, responsible, and inclusive work environment that supports the wellbeing and growth of all employees worldwide.
  • Why is this relevant to us? 
    Fair working conditions are important to us – both in our operations and in our business partners' operations. We see fair working conditions as those that, at the very minimum, respect the International Labour Organization's Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, including relevant conventions. 

    According to our latest impact assessment, the labour standards at our suppliers' operations should be a key focus, particularly when it comes to contractors and subcontractors involved in construction projects. Here, there's a risk of unfair conditions, such as low wages, long working hours, and inadequate worker accommodations. We also face challenges in ensuring fair labour conditions in the maritime sector.

    Ørsted relies on suppliers who operate in various locations, which can make it difficult to ensure consistent labour standards. Some of these suppliers are based in the countries where our projects take  place, while others have multiple production sites. Many of these countries have poor labour standards and a significant number of migrant workers. In certain situations, labour rights regulations may be weak, and the government's dedication to protecting labour and human rights may be uncertain.
  • What actions have we taken so far?

    Own operations
    Within our own company, we have strong policies and procedures in place to ensure fair working conditions for our employees worldwide. We’re committed to respecting human rights and complying with local laws in every country where we operate. We work closely with our local human resource colleagues to make sure that our global policies are being followed locally, and that they are compliant with local legislation and practice. We provide country-specific guidelines and involve employee representation where necessary.

    For example, we have a global policy on bullying, discrimination, and harassment. This policy is supplemented by guidelines specific to each country, taking into account the expectations and laws of that particular market.

    Another example is our new global parental leave policy, which sets minimum standards for caregivers worldwide. We also provide country-specific guidelines on leave entitlements in each country.

    In 2024, we introduced our new global labour and employment rights policy. This is intended to create transparency for our employees by describing our commitment to actively safeguarding labour, employment, and human rights standards.

    In addition to these policies, we have several other global policies covering various topics related to working conditions, such as diversity and inclusion, mental well-being, pension and insurance benefits, sickness absence, and flexible workplace arrangements including a commitment to global working hours.

    As we expand globally, we understand the importance of ensuring compliance with labour rights from the very beginning when we enter a new country and hire local employees. We have an internal country entry model in place to ensure that we offer fair and competitive employment terms and benefits that comply with local laws.

    Supply chain
    Our Responsible business partner programme covers labour rights within our supply chain. Through this programme, we collaborate with our suppliers and business partners to improve their social performance and adherence to our code of conduct for business partners.

    Our code of conduct for business partners aligns with international human rights and labour standards, such as those set by the International Labour Organization. The process we follow is also aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

    We continuously work to improve the relevance and scope of our code of conduct for business partners, as well as the due diligence process we use to implement it. As part of our supplier due diligence process, we not only address specific issues with individual suppliers but also identify broader issues and develop appropriate actions to mitigate them.

    In 2023, we initiated our Respectful Working Environment campaign for strategic vessel suppliers. The campaign aims to mitigate the risk of bullying and harassment in our offshore logistics supply chain. 

    To reinforce the monitoring of supplier performance, we’ve conducted human rights training with a focus on bullying, discrimination, and harassment for our Marine Inspection Team. We expect to perform similar trainings for our QHSE site representatives going forward. Both teams are frequently present on site during the execution of contracts with our suppliers.

    In 2023, we evaluated our approach to risk screening and due diligence to better understand the opportunity to assess high-risk suppliers prior to contract signing. We expect to implement the findings from this pilot in 2024.

  • What are our next steps?

    Own operations
    In 2024, we’ll focus on strengthening our reporting capacity and data collection in line with the European Sustainability Reporting Standards.

    Supply chain
    We’ll strengthen and optimise our operational due diligence activities in the offshore part of our business. This will be based in part on the pilot we ran in 2023. It will include a closer alignment with the QHSE and Procurement organisations to streamline our approach to due diligence. We also aim to improve our risk coverage and have a process for monitoring our suppliers’ performance during the contract execution phase.

Occupational health and safety 


We aim to create a safe and healthy work environment for everyone involved in our operations and supply chain, whether they are on land or at sea. We’re committed to implementing safety management systems that adhere to international standards and best practices.
  • How is this relevant to us?

    Given the nature of our business, occupational health and safety (OHS) are extremely important throughout our operations. At Ørsted, we prioritise the well-being and safety of everyone in the workplace. This is crucial in aligning with our vision of creating a world that runs entirely on green energy. To achieve this vision, it’s essential to have a robust OHS system that includes measurable performance indicators. This system applies not only to our own operations but also to our supply chain.

  • What actions have we taken so far?

    Own operations
    In our quality, health, safety, and environment (QHSE) programme, we take a holistic and preventive approach to employee well-being. We prioritise mental, physical, and social health equally. Our commitment is to create a healthy, safe, and inclusive workplace and promote sustainability in our employees' working lives, and we have comprehensive measures in place to ensure this. You can learn more about these efforts in our sustainability report.  

    Supply chain
    Our ONE QHSE strategic business plan focuses on six key themes: 

    1. QHSE leadership 
    2. Supplier engagement 
    3. Innovative solutions 
    4. Knowledge management 
    5. Global governance 
    6. Process excellence.
      The performance of our supply chain significantly impacts our overall QHSE performance. We assess risks and develop improvement plans with our suppliers based on their importance. We closely monitor the implementation of these plans and work together to enhance QHSE practices. From our frontline and fabrication sites to senior management meetings with suppliers, QHSE is a standard part of our agendas, demonstrating our commitment at all levels.
  • What are our next steps?
    Own operations
    As we continue to grow, we’re committed to maintaining our strong health and safety performance. This means developing more resources, tools, and services to support our employees. We focus on providing leadership training and ensuring that both internal and external resources are available to all our employees.

    Supply chain
    Our approach is to prioritise support for high-risk and less experienced suppliers in areas related to QHSE. We also aim to foster innovation and continuous improvement with our long-term supply chain partners. We continuously identify and address QHSE-related risks using standard risk management principles, which includes considering external sources of risk. We actively monitor and assess our suppliers' QHSE management systems. We’re also exploring ways to strengthen our approach to ensure that suppliers meet legal and Ørsted requirements in managing QHSE risks effectively.

    Moreover, we’re working on regionalising our QHSE setup to provide better support to high-risk suppliers at their respective sites. Our aim is to have QHSE support from colleagues who understand the local culture and language. In 2023, relevant QHSE teams will receive training on the Code of Conduct, specifically addressing the topic of harassment. This training will enhance their ability to identify and report cases of harassment in our supply chain. Additionally, the Responsible Business Partner programme will launch an anti-bullying, discrimination, and harassment campaign for all* vessel supplier categories at Ørsted in 2023.

    *where it makes commercial sense

Access to remedy

Access to remedy helps ensure fairness, justice, and protection for individuals and communities. It allows people to seek recourse and find a solution when they believe that their rights have been violated, promoting a more equitable and fair workplace and operating environment.

  • How is this relevant to us?
    As a global company, we operate in various countries and understand that individuals may face barriers in accessing grievance channels or receiving proper remedies. We’re committed to ensuring that everyone can access an effective grievance mechanism. This means that we have a process of escalating and addressing issues internally based on the effectiveness criteria outlined in the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. We recognise that different solutions are needed depending on the impact and where in the value chain it occurs.
  • What actions have we taken so far?
    Own operations
    We prioritise creating a safe and inclusive working environment for our employees. We’ve implemented a global policy and local guidelines on bullying, discrimination, and harassment that include a clear process for employees to report cases, and ensure transparency, consistency, and support throughout our operations.

    We also have a Whistleblower Hotline that allows anyone affiliated with Ørsted to confidentially report inappropriate or illegal conduct. Reports are handled independently and reported directly to Ørsted’s Board of Directors to maintain transparency and protect whistleblowers from retaliation. The number of cases is disclosed in our annual report.

    In 2023, we carried out an awareness campaign about the hotline across our sites worldwide, including rolling it out to new locations. We also added new language options to increase accessibility. 

    Supply chain
    Our code of conduct for business partners includes expectations for suppliers to establish accessible grievance mechanisms for workers, rightsholders, and stakeholders. We assess suppliers’ management systems, focusing particularly on their ability to meet these requirements. If they fall short, we work together to develop improvement plans. We’re continuously addressing the risk of bullying, discrimination, and harassment and the need for an appropriate grievance mechanism in our offshore logistics supply chains. In 2024, we implemented an awareness campaign targeting strategic vessel suppliers and their ability to manage bullying, discrimination, and harassment.

    Communities around our assets
    We currently have market-specific solutions to receive and address concerns and complaints from communities near our assets. In 2023, we developed global guidelines for receiving and aggregating community feedback. This mechanism will be accessible to workers and community members near our project sites. It will allow us to track data from all our assets globally, identify potential trends, and use community feedback as a due diligence tool.

    Meanwhile, we’ve taken mitigation measures to remedy negative impacts on fishers and landowners around our offshore wind farms and associated onshore infrastructure, and on local residents around our onshore wind farms.
  • What are our next steps?
    Supply chain
    In 2024, following our awareness campaign on bullying, discrimination, and harassment, we’re working with a sample of strategic vessel suppliers to understand how they’re implementing the recommendations from the campaign.

    Communities around our assets
    In 2024 and 2025, we intend to pilot our community feedback mechanism with communities around several of our projects and assets. After final calibration, we’ll prepare a global roll-out plan.

Communities’ rights


We recognise that construction and operation of renewable energy assets can have large impacts on the surrounding communities. We believe that communities located near our renewable energy sites must be informed, consulted, and empowered, so that their rights are protected. This includes respecting the rights of specific or vulnerable groups such as indigenous peoples, children, and others.
  • How is this relevant to us?

    Communities around our assets: As our company expands globally and adopts new technologies, it’s crucial that we focus on the risks faced by communities near our assets, including issues related to land rights and community engagement. We must pay particular attention to vulnerable groups within these communities.

    When developing and constructing new projects, we want to understand the impact on the rights of the affected communities, prevent or minimise negative impacts and address their concerns. Engaging with the communities is essential to fulfilling this commitment. Having an established global approach to community engagement and impact prevention/mitigation is even more important when entering new markets.

    Supply chain: Communities in our supply chains can experience similar or even greater impacts. The transition to green energy will require increased mining globally, which can negatively affect surrounding communities in terms of environmental pollution, loss of land, health impacts, reduced livelihoods, and food security.

  • What actions have we taken so far?

    Communities around our assets
    Our global human rights policy covers impacts on local communities, addressing topics such as land rights and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Our stakeholder engagement policy ensures that we engage with relevant stakeholders, including communities, and mentions the concept of free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples.

    Since our main focus as an energy developer has been on offshore wind, most of our community engagement and impact mitigation efforts have been directed towards fishers, with whom our local teams have extensively collaborated. With our expanding geographical scope and increased focus on onshore energy projects, we anticipate dealing with more complex impacts on local communities, requiring even more engagement in the future.

    In 2023, we developed global internal standards with our community feedback mechanism (grievance mechanism) and social and human rights impact assessment. We also developed internal guidelines on Indigenous Peoples and free, prior, and informed consent.

    Supply chain
    Our code of conduct for business partners outlines specific requirements for our suppliers and business partners regarding local communities, property rights, free, prior, and informed consent, grievance mechanisms, and the protection of human rights and environmental defenders. If we identify gaps in these areas during screenings and assessments of specific suppliers, we develop improvement plans and monitor their implementation.

    We acknowledge that the largest risks for negative impacts on communities’ rights, including Indigenous Peoples, are connected to the mining of minerals and metals used in our projects. Through our ‘Responsible sourcing of minerals and metals’ programme, we’re working towards more responsible supply chains and addressing negative environmental and social impacts on these communities.

  • What are our next steps?

    Communities around our assets
    Our overall objective is to establish a consistent approach across our company for assessing and addressing human rights risks concerning local communities throughout the entire lifespan of a renewable energy project. We aim to exceed local requirements if these fall below international standards.

    In 2024-2025, we intend to pilot our community feedback mechanism and social and human rights impact assessment. After final calibration, we’ll prepare a global roll-out plan.

    We’ll also publish our internal guidelines on Indigenous Peoples and free, prior, and informed consent. These will be used in our engagement with Indigenous Peoples in relation to our projects in the US and Australia, and elsewhere if relevant.

    We’re also planning to update our stakeholder engagement policy to ensure that it’s fully aligned with international best practice standards on community engagement.

    Supply chain
    When it comes to sourcing minerals and metals, it can be difficult to address social and environmental impacts where risks are highest due to a lack of transparency in the origin of many of these materials. That’s why we’re focusing on increasing transparency in the supply chain. The first concrete steps are mapping the origin of iron used in the steel for foundations and wind turbines and completing a pilot to use blockchain for tracing to the mine of origin the copper used in components for our Hornsea 2 Offshore Wind Farm.

Modern slavery


Forced labour and other forms of exploitation have no place in the modern workplace. With modern slavery risks increasing around the world, we’re exercising heightened due diligence and identifying high-risk areas, placing a strong emphasis on vulnerable workers. 
  • How is this relevant to us?
    We understand that modern slavery risks exist across all sectors, and we have identified specific areas within our value chain where workers are most vulnerable to it. These areas include raw material supply chains, on-site service providers (such as construction and facility management services), maritime sector suppliers, and locations in the APAC region where migrant workers are present.
  • What actions have we taken so far?

    Supply chain
    In 2022, we updated our code of conduct for business partners to address modern slavery risks more directly. In addition to prohibiting forced labour, we now explicitly prohibit the charging of recruitment fees, which often leads to debt bondage. We’ve also included clear requirements on accommodation to prevent workers from living in inhumane conditions. In 2023, we updated our standard questionnaire for suppliers so that these risks can be better detected.

    In 2023, we conducted internal interviews to assess the level of risk of the occurrence of modern slavery at service providers connected to our facilities in Taiwan and Malaysia. We concluded that the risks are relatively low at the moment, given the nature of business relationships, the composition of the workforce, and the awareness of risks of unethical recruitment among relevant functions in Ørsted. Unless the situation changes, we don’t see the need for further action at this time.

    In the APAC region, we’ve identified risks that are systemic to the industry and require broader collaboration to address effectively. In Singapore, we’ve sought collaboration with industry peers to improve the rights and welfare of migrant workers in our supply chains. As a first step, the companies drafted a set of principles and guidelines in consultation with suppliers and civil society organisations. The aim is to improve accommodation and transport for migrant workers, drive the ‘employer pays’ principle in connection to recruitment, and implement effective grievance mechanisms.

    The issue of forced labour in the solar panel supply chains has become more apparent in recent years. To address this, we actively engage in industry initiatives aimed at finding solutions that benefit the entire industry. As part of our engagement in SolarPower Europe, we’ve joined the Traceability Working Group under the Solar Stewardship Initiative. This group works to establish an industry standard on traceability and a corresponding assessment and audit process, all vital to establishing a responsible solar value chain.

    In the US, we’ve joined the Solar Energy Industries Association. Internally, we’ve developed a solar sourcing strategy to mitigate supply chain risks and strengthen the traceability of key components of solar panels.

  • What are our next steps?

    Supply chain
    Together with industry peers, we’ve built a set of principles and guidelines aimed to improve the rights and welfare of migrant workers in our supply chains in Singapore. The next step is to pilot the principles and guidelines in fabrication yards in Singapore and test their applicability in practice.

    Building on the work we’ve done in Singapore, we’re looking to apply learnings in other markets in APAC where we’re active and could face similar challenges.

    We’ll continue our engagement in European and North American solar industry initiatives, and we’ll strengthen our own dialogue and alignment of contractual expectations with business partners within our solar projects. We’ll monitor the legislative environment to ensure that we meet all expectations, ultimately to reduce the linkage to adverse human rights violations in the solar PV supply chains.

Human rights defenders


Environmental and human rights defenders face increasing legal and physical threats globally. We’re committed to raising awareness and taking preventive measures to ensure that no individuals are intimidated or threatened in any way related to our business activities.
  • How is this relevant to us?
    According to the Human Rights & Business Resource Centre, the renewable energy sector is the third most dangerous sector for environmental and human rights defenders, accounting for 10 % of global attacks on defenders. We understand that renewable energy projects can impact nearby communities, and it's crucial for us to take additional preventive measures to ensure that no individuals are intimidated or threatened in any way related to Ørsted's business activities, whether by our employees, (sub)contractors or local/state actors.
  • What actions have we taken so far?

    We’ve incorporated specific references to the protection of environmental and human rights defenders in our policies:

    • Our Stakeholder Engagement Policy, which guides our local engagement efforts and emphasises the importance of cooperation with local communities regarding the impacts on them and the environment.
    • Our Human Rights Policy, which explicitly states that we won't retaliate against human rights or environmental or indigenous defenders who lawfully exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful protest, or assembly. 
    • Our Code of Conduct for business partners, which stipulates that suppliers and joint venture partners must protect environmental human rights defenders and other interested parties who exercise their legal right to freedom of speech.
  • What are our next steps?
    In the coming years, we’re committed to further ensuring the implementation of the commitments outlined in our policies. As part of our programme that works with community impact, we’ll place a strong emphasis on the protection of environmental and human rights defenders. We’ll provide training to our colleagues involved in community and stakeholder engagement in the markets where we operate to raise awareness and understanding of the protection of environmental and human rights defenders.

Next steps


We’ll publish more information about our human rights due diligence process in the second half of 2023.

If you have any questions about our human rights work, please feel free to contact us at responsiblepartners@orsted.com


Key groups of rightsholders across Ørsted’s value chain

1

Indigenous peoples around our supply chain

2

Supply chain workers

3

Local communities around our supply chain

4Own employees
8

Indigenous peoples around our projects

2

Supply chain workers

2

Supply chain workers

5

Fishermen

6

Offshore workers

7

Human rights defenders

9

Local communities around our projects

9

Local communities around our projects

SUSTAINABILITY FOCUS AREa

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