- A Sustainable Future
- Letter from the CEO
- Sustainability Strategy
- Ethics and Business Conduct
- Human Rights
- Economic Performance
CH2M is committed to maintaining the highest level of human dignity on any project we touch. As a result, we place great importance on ensuring the welfare of workers involved in the projects we supervise or advise on, and we have a zero tolerance policy for human trafficking, child labor, and forced labor.
On some infrastructure projects, there is little to no local construction labor, so non-native workers must be recruited into the country. These individuals often endure hardship in their journeys back home. As a project manager and consultant on many projects around the world, we rarely employ construction workers, but we focus on ensuring that our subcontractors and partners uphold the highest standards. Thus, we are taking concrete steps and collaborating with key stakeholders to improve conditions for these migrant workers.
As part of this process, we are working closely with fair labor expert, Verité, to implement our own worker welfare policy, which was approved by the CEO and launched in spring 2015. The provisions and requirements of our policy apply to CH2M and all contractors within our supply chain who are working on projects on behalf of CH2M. In addition, we share this policy with our clients, and strive to collaborate with other firms in our industry to encourage adherence to the practices outlined in the policy. We are continuously improving our services to clients in the worker welfare area by engaging with relevant stakeholders and drawing from international best practices.
CH2M aspires to be at the forefront of our industry, acting as a catalyst for change, both on our projects and in the wider communities in which we work. In the following paragraphs, we highlight some initiatives where we are actively seeking to improve conditions for migrant workers in the construction sector.
Procurement in New Worker Welfare Policy
Following our Worker Welfare Policy, we have introduced new screening procedures for our supplier community. After the policy was approved in 2015, CH2M screened 100 percent of its suppliers in the Middle East throughout the year, ultimately approving 47 percent to be eligible to work with CH2M based on their worker welfare policies and performance.
During the screening process, if the suppliers do not comply fully with our policy, we review their worker welfare practices and management plans and their commitment for continuous improvement. In most cases, we can work with the supplier to help them achieve our standards. If suppliers do not comply with our policy in an agreed-upon timeframe, we cancel the contract based on worker welfare shortcomings.
As part of this process, CH2M has screened new suppliers and assessed current suppliers for alignment with our Worker Welfare Policy. For example, when CH2M identified noncompliance from one supplier of janitorial staff in the Middle East, CH2M terminated this contract and directly hired the workers.
On major infrastructure projects, standard worker feedback mechanisms include written forms as well as hotlines. CH2M believes that technology can be used to create more effective mechanisms, and in 2015, we formed a partnership with Humanity United and Caravan Studios to collaborate on a new mobile technology, whereby workers may anonymously submit feedback on their living and working conditions. This information will immediately be available to the supervising engineering and construction firms via a program management dashboard which allows companies to act on worker complaints in a timely manner. We will pilot this technology on select projects in 2016 and, ultimately, seek to foster adoption of the tool across the industry.
In partnership with the Institute for Human Rights and Business, CH2M has hosted a series of high-level roundtables to promote industry collaboration on human rights issues. Participants have included representatives from over 15 major engineering and construction firms, various international human rights groups, and high-level government officials. CH2M is supporting a research initiative to determine the best path forward for formalizing this effort into a new industry organization focused on human rights and worker welfare in the engineering and construction industry. CH2M also co-organized three roundtables in collaboration with Business in the Community to share best practices on human rights across multiple industries, including discussion of the UK Modern Slavery Act.
Public Policy Engagement
Throughout 2015, CH2M strategized with key government officials in the United States, United Kingdom, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on ways to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the construction sector. We support the UK government’s introduction of legislation on modern-day slavery, and have worked to raise awareness about the Modern Slavery Act 2015 across our sector—collaborating with the UK government to co-host industry roundtables dedicated to educating other engineering and construction industry companies on how best to comply with the Act’s requirements.
CH2M’s Worker Welfare Policy has been championed at the highest levels of the organization, all the way up to, and including, our chairman/CEO and board of directors. In 2015, CH2M’s board of directors expanded the scope of its Governance Committee to include corporate citizenship. The committee monitors the company’s worker welfare activities, along with other material issues. Understanding the importance of third-party verification, we engaged fair labor consultant, Verité, throughout 2015 to advise on policy implementation and provide training to key leaders on opportunities for improvement. CH2M takes Verité’s feedback into account and makes adjustments to its management and implementation approaches to maximize effectiveness.
CH2M has launched an internal employee education program aimed at informing staff of worker welfare challenges and what to do if abuses are observed. This includes regular news stories, visuals, and targeted trainings.
CH2M also included a segment on the Worker Welfare Policy in its annual Ethics Training, which was completed by over 19,000 employees around the world in 2015. In collaboration with Verité, CH2M has conducted a series of in-person workshops to implement the new Worker Welfare Policy. In 2015, this included in-person training of 40 senior staff across multiple functions and geographies in the Middle East, as well as a workshop for 20 procurement, legal, and HR leaders at CH2M’s headquarters. We also sponsored Verité’s participation in two gatherings of the engineering and construction industry to provide a platform to share their knowledge on this critical issue.
As part of our internal training at CH2M, we empower employees at all levels to seek guidance from senior management, directly or through our confidential hotline, and to report any suspected human rights violations without fear of retaliation. On joining CH2M, new employees receive a copy of our Employee Ethics & Business Conduct Principles, which clearly includes our expectations about fair labor practices, trafficking in people, and other important ethics principles related to how CH2M does business. In furtherance of our human rights and labor practice expectations, we distribute Supply Chain Ethics & Business Conduct Principles, a companion document to our Employee Ethics & Business Conduct Principles, to our major suppliers. Additional training on human rights is provided for employees who are likely to confront these issues in specialized ethics and compliance training; training hours are reported in Training and Development.
Because of our commitment to worker welfare and engagement with the human rights community, CH2M is regularly invited to speak at and participate in panel discussions focused on human rights and ethical supply chain management worldwide.