Sustainability and social responsibility is a part of our DNA. As a large company and buyer, we strive to affect working conditions in a positive way – and to prevent slavery and promote workers' rights in our suppliers' factories.
We must not be directly or indirectly involved in situations that entail violations of human rights. We strive to ensure the employment rights of our own staff and those of our suppliers' employees are respected. We do not maintain business relationships with any supplier that we know violates the human or employment rights of its employees.
We understand that ethical behaviour is about the culture of an organisation as well as its policies and processes. By 2020, we wish to be the preferred employer in medical devices – which we can only be if we are ethical and socially responsible in our employment practices and regarding our employees' human rights.
We transfer this culture over to the way we treat our suppliers, building long-term relationships with our suppliers based on fairness, collaboration, transparency and open communication. We ask our suppliers in turn to promote good practice among their partners and suppliers.
Our guidelines for behaviour for both our employees and our suppliers are based on the principles outlined in the following documents:
- UN Declaration on Human Rights
- UN Global Compact and Agenda 21
- ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility
- OECD Guidelines for multinational companies
- Relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions.
Within our organisation
There are local HR representatives for all our factories, sites and sales offices across the globe, who are charged with implementing our HR policies and setting contracts. We regularly audit compliance across all our sites.
Within our supply chain
We have a Supplier Performance Management system to monitor, improve and control supplier performance against our Supplier standards. This includes how our suppliers protect the human and employment rights of their employees.
We formally evaluate more than 50% of our primary suppliers, which includes a human rights assessment.
We routinely conduct supplier audits to assess the health of our suppliers’ quality systems. Our audits include interviews with workers, interviews with management, inspection of the production site and a review of records. Our supplier premises may also be audited by our Notified body or the Competent authority in the territory in which the supplier is based.
If we identify that a supplier is violating their employees’ human or employment rights, we either cease doing business with them or we expect them to put things right quickly. We ask suppliers to acknowledge within 48 hours that they have inducted it into their problem-solving system, understood it and are seeking to resolve the problem. At the end of 14 days, we expect our suppliers to either document how they have solved the problem or submit a detailed plan explaining what actions will be taken and a projected completion date. We then require evidence to show that the non-conformity has been corrected.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
Our 2015 performance
- Our supplier evaluations identified no specific risks of any abuse of employment rights.
- None of our operations or suppliers were identified as at risk of incidents of slavery or forced or compulsory labour.