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Human Rights Policy

PURPOSE: To outline the Company’s commitment to respect human rights standards; specifically, those outlined in the International Bill of Human Rights and the principles concerning fundamental rights set out in the International Labor Organizations (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

SCOPE:  All operations of the Company around the globe, including all divisions, subsidiaries, and affiliated companies. All employees, directors, officers, agents, contractors, business partners, vendors, and suppliers.


Respect for human rights is a basic tenant of Sonoco’s beliefs and is consistent with our values and our goal to be a more economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable Company. Our approach to human rights begins with understanding how our activities, including our products and services, as well as the activities of our business partners, may impact, either positively or negatively, our employees, communities, and partners.  

Sonoco operates in diverse cultures and communities. Wherever we operate, certain principles consistently apply to the Company’s relationships with its employees and its expectations of conduct in the workplace. Sonoco’s Standards of Business Conduct provide a worldwide framework for responsible operations and are consistent with the spirit and intent of the International Labor Organization 1998 Declaration Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We actively participate in the United Nations Global Compact, and adhere to the obligations set by The ILO Declaration for Member States to promote and realize the following principles:

  • Fair and safe work
  • Rights of children and abolition of child labor
  • Prohibiting forced or compulsory labor and human trafficking
  • Non-discrimination
  • Freedom of Association and collective bargaining
  • Indigenous people’s rights

Sonoco and its affiliates support these principles. The Company and its affiliates develop and implement suitable policies, procedures, and practices considering applicable laws and specific circumstances to accomplish the objectives listed above.


Fair and Safe Work 
Sonoco believes workers should be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness and should not be subject to harassment, discrimination, forced labor, or inhumane treatment. We compensate employees competitively relative to the industry and local labor market, and in accordance with terms of applicable collective bargaining agreements. We work to ensure full compliance with applicable wage, work hours, overtime, and benefits laws. We are working continuously to provide a safe, inclusive work environment for our employees and contractors in line with the international labor standards wherever we do business. 

The Rights of Children and Abolition of Child Labor
Sonoco condemns all forms of exploitation of children and forbids the use of children in our workforce. The Company does not recruit child labor and supports the elimination of exploitative child labor practices. All Sonoco employees are required to be above the legal employment age in the country of their employment. Sonoco also supports laws duly enacted to prevent and punish the crime of sexual exploitation of children and will cooperate with law enforcement authorities in these matters. We do encourage the creation of educational, training or apprenticeship programs tied to formal education for young people, with appropriate policy governance and oversight.

Elimination of Forced or Compulsory Labor and Human Trafficking
Sonoco opposes the use forced or compulsory labor, including prison labor, indentured labor, or modern forms of slavery and any form of human trafficking. Sonoco recruits its employees and provides working conditions, including payment of wages and benefits, that comply with applicable laws and regulations. No employee may be compelled to work through force or intimidation of any forms.

Sonoco is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to providing its employees with a safe, non-discriminatory work environment that promotes open and honest communication and embraces dignity, respect, and diversity in all aspects of its business operations. Sonoco does not tolerate discrimination. We make it a priority to bring diversity and inclusivity to Sonoco’s business and hiring practices by treating all of Sonoco’s employees (current and potential), stakeholders, and communities fairly, regardless of one’s race, gender, ethnicity, age, physical ability, religion, or sexual orientation. This statement is not limited to these statuses, but all statuses one may have. 

We do not tolerate disrespectful for inappropriate behavior, unfair treatments, or retaliation of any kind. Harassment is not tolerated in the workplace and in any work-related circumstances outside of the workplace. 

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
Sonoco is committed to treating all employees fairly, with respect and dignity, and to providing competitive benefits and safe working conditions. It is the Company’s goal to minimize employee dissatisfaction and resolve any issues or concerns in a timely. We encourage employees to utilize the open-door policy to openly communicate questions and suggestions with their management team.

Sonoco recognizes and respects its employees’ right to join associations and choose representative organizations for the purpose of engaging in collective bargaining in a manner consistent with applicable laws, rules, and regulations as well as local customs as appropriate. Where employees are represented by a legally recognized union, we are committed to establishing a constructive dialogue with their freely chosen representatives. The Company is committed to bargaining in good faith with such representatives.


Sonoco seeks to respect human rights and to develop an understanding of the cultures, customs and values that prevail in our local communities by developing an inclusive and open dialogue with the people affected by our operations. 

Respecting Indigenous Peoples Rights 
Within the framework of our values, we respect the cultures, customs, and values of the people in communities where we operate and consider their needs, concerns, and aspirations. Sonoco fully respects and actively protects their traditions and the connection they may have to the land and water sources present in areas Sonoco may operate. 

Adopting Proportionate Security Arrangements
Sonoco strives to ensure that the provision of security to our operations and our engagement with public and private security forces is consistent with the laws of the relevant country and relevant international standards and guidelines. 

Developing Practices for Land and Water Use
Sonoco works toward understanding and applying sound practices for land and water use consistent with emerging international practices while respecting human rights.


Sonoco will continuously exhibit responsible human rights practices to our business partners as it pertains to our business practices. We believe in doing business with partners that share our values and commitments to respect human rights. Since the conduct of our suppliers can be a direct reflection on Sonoco and our reputation, we require that our suppliers, and any of their contractors, meet our standards in the following areas (additional details are available in the Supplier Standards Policy): 

  • Code of conduct
  • Environmental awareness
  • Social responsibility
  • Labor
  • Work environment

Sonoco’s Conflict Minerals Policy further solidifies our stance concerning partnering with businesses that are ethically and morally sound. This policy addresses the process that Sonoco enacts to ensure that the minerals of tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold are ethically sourced and are conflict-free. It is of the utmost importance to Sonoco that we can trace these minerals back to their source within our supply chain.


Sonoco will communicate this policy and relevant guidance to employees through our established internal communication channels, along with having access to all corporate policies via our intranet site. We will communicate this policy to our suppliers, contractors, business partners, and other stakeholders, and make it publicly available on our external website. 

The Human Rights Policy is implemented through the Company’s business ethics and compliance program, including annual training provided to all employees, on how to implement this policy in the scope of their employment. 

Reporting Violations
We strive to create workplaces in which open and honest communications among all employees are valued and respected. The Company is committed to comply with applicable labor and employment laws wherever we operate. 

All managers maintain an open-door policy for employees with questions about proper business conduct and human rights. Employees should never hesitate to talk to management or Human Resources when they have a question about business conduct or human rights, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. 

Any employee who becomes aware of a violation of any law or regulation or of Sonoco’s policies on business conduct or believes that a violation may take place in the future must report the matter through the proper channels. You may report violations in several ways: 

  1. Tell your supervisor
  2. Contact your Human Resources Business Partner
  3. Submit a concern at
  4. Contact the Business Conduct Hotline, which is independently operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It is important that reports contain enough specific information to allow for an objective investigation. The Company will investigate, address, and respond to the concerns of employees and will take appropriate corrective action in response to any violation. Any investigation with respect to alleged unethical or illegal activities will be conducted in a competent and fair manner with equal respect being given to individual rights and Company objectives. 

To ensure that a reporting employee is protected from reprisal, request for anonymity will be respected to the extent that this does not result in the violation of the rights of another employee or make it impossible to conduct a proper investigation. Any attempt at reprisal against the reporting employee will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.


The Human Rights Policy is overseen by the Sonoco Board of Director’s, through the Employee and Public Responsibility Committee and the Chief Human Resource Officer.

Monitoring and Review
The Company’s Internal Audit department has responsibility for conducting periodic risk assessments and monitoring the Company’s compliance with this policy.