Human rights

Maersk is committed to respecting human rights, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and as a member of the UN Global Compact.

Why human rights matters

Our conduct – in our own business and through our business relationships across our value chain – has the potential to impact society, both positively and negatively. Our recognition of this is closely connected to our purpose: “Improving life for all by integrating the world”. Increasing regulation and stakeholder expectations relating to human rights also confirm that this is an area where Maersk can and should take a lead.

Many of our ESG commitments touch on human rights: from our actions on climate change and supply chain sustainability, to the way we use data and build and recycle our vessels. Human rights informs and guides several categories in our ESG Strategy, and is a category in its own right, ensuring we have the right level of engagement and oversight.

Our ambition

We will continue to align our business practices with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and ensure that human rights considerations are integrated into our due diligence processes and ESG governance mechanisms.
Human rights

Our targets

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Capacity building on human rights, including targeted trainings for human rights issue owners
End to end integation
Continued integration of human rights into key due diligence processes

Priorities and actions

Strengthening internal capabilities, building risk-based due diligence processes, engaging with rightsholders and ensuring a just green transition are all core priorities in the way we work with human rights at Maersk.
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Regular updates on human rights are provided to Maersk’s Executive Leadership Team, as set out in our ESG governance framework. As human rights is an overarching topic, responsibility for managing particular issues lies with the respective functions with support from specific governance forums.

Building a strong human rights governance structure is a priority as we prepare for increased regulatory requirements. In 2022, we identified relevant internal governance forums and worked to strengthen the incorporation of human rights within their scope.

Smarter operations

Maersk Human Rights Policy

Maersk's Human Rights Policy Statement outlines our commitment to respect human rights based on international standards, and is complemented by our Employee and Supplier Codes of Conduct.

Additionally, Maersk reports annually on how we identify, avoid, and mitigate modern slavery risks in the APMM Modern Slavery Statement.

Manages risk and unpredictability

Determining our key risks

We conduct human rights assessments to understand our potential and actual human rights risks and impacts in our operations and value chain. In 2021 we refreshed the definition of our salient human rights risks through a corporate-wide human rights assessment, conducted by external experts using the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights framework:

Our prioritised salient human rights impacts are:

  • Working conditions in the supply chain
  • Health and safety in the supply chain
  • Violence and harassment at work 
  • Access to remedy
  • Impacts of climate change and decarbonisation (just transition)

We continue to define action plans and prioritise areas for action based on our risk assessments. Our progress is communicated on our website, in our Sustainability Report and our Modern Slavery Statements.

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Our rightsholders

Our rightsholders are individuals whose rights could be directly impacted by our company – and include vulnerable groups at higher risk of impacts. We have identified the following rightsholders.
  • Direct employees (permanent and temporary) across all operations, including seafarers.
  • Third party contractors and indirect employees (including third party labour working on Maersk ships or sites).
  • Supply chain workers (including suppliers' employees working outside of Maersk sites).
  • Local communities near Maersk operations and supply chain, including those potentially impacted by infrastructure developments (including terminals and shipping routes), environmental damage caused by shipping and logistics (including pollution from fuel or abandoned containers), waste, and supply chain material or goods production activities.
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Access to remedy

We provide grievance mechanisms to our employees and other parties who want to voice their concerns about our practices and have them addressed.

The Maersk Whistleblower System is a confidential channel administered by an independent company through which anyone can raise concerns about suspected serious violations of laws, including human rights and labour rights.

The Maersk Ombudsperson is a neutral, independent, informal and 100% confidential function that serves our employees when they do not feel comfortable reporting grievances to human resources departments, line managers or through the Whistleblower System.

We continuously work to strengthen these mechanisms to provide even better protection for everyone affected by our activities. Every report and complaint is handled with care and treated as a valuable input that motivates us to critically evaluate our processes and policies and improve them if necessary.

International Expertise

Maersk Human Rights Due Diligence

We recognise our responsibility to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Human rights impacts may occur in different business areas. We therefore take a risk-based approach to our activities and continuously strengthen key due-diligence processes that allow us to identify and act upon actual and potential human rights risks for our rightsholders. In 2022, we further embedded ESG risk analysis (including human rights) into M&A processes and we continue to strengthen the implementation of human rights risk management in our Sustainable Procurement Programme.

Sustainability Report 2022

Explore our progress on environmental, social and governance dimensions in our latest Sustainability Report.
Maersk sustainability report

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