Sustainability > Sustainability performance report
8. Human rights (HR)
DMA-HR Management approach to human rights
In terms of information, the promotion of awareness and controlling, human rights issues related to the business activities of the Geberit Group are the responsibility of Corporate Human Resources for internal topics (equal treatment, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining) and of Corporate Purchasing with regard to procurement practices.
The → Geberit Code of Conduct is authoritative in the area of human rights, among other things stipulating the exclusion of child and forced labor. Compliance with the Code of Conduct is monitored as part of a binding annual survey of all Geberit Group companies.
Long-term cooperation, reciprocal commitment, sustainability and social responsibility are important guidelines for Geberit. These acquire particular importance in the procurement of raw materials, semi-finished products, finished products and services. The high standards with respect to fair business practices, environmental protection and safe working conditions are therefore also expected from suppliers. The → Code of Conduct for Suppliers applies to all Geberit suppliers worldwide. Verification is the responsibility of Corporate Purchasing.
With respect to measures and objectives regarding the Code of Conduct and procurement, see also → www.geberit.com > Sustainability > Sustainability Strategy.
HR1 Human rights aspects in investment agreements
There are no significant investment agreements which include human rights clauses or which have been audited in terms of human rights aspects. Agreements with suppliers include human rights clauses which must be audited and upheld by Geberit suppliers, see → HR2.
HR2 Screening of suppliers with regard to human rights aspects
With respect to human rights violations, the greatest risk lies with suppliers, who can only be influenced indirectly. Geberit does all it can to minimize this risk and requires its business partners and suppliers to comply with comprehensive standards, above all with respect to consistent environmental protection, socially acceptable working conditions and fair business practices.
At the end of 2007, a → Code of Conduct for Suppliers was introduced for the first time which is geared, among other things, to the principles of the United Nations Global Compact. Upon request by Geberit, the supplier must prepare corresponding records in order to demonstrate compliance with the standards of the Code and make these available at any time. Should the supplier fail to comply with the regulations set out in this Code, then corrective measures are taken wherever possible. Failure to comply on the part of the supplier is regarded as a serious obstacle to the continuation of the business relationship. If the supplier does not correct this non-compliance, Geberit can terminate the cooperation. As of the end of 2013, 701 suppliers had signed the Code of Conduct (previous year 671). This is equivalent to 95% of the total procurement value (previous year 95%), thereby meeting the target value of 95% for 2013. Among the top 200 suppliers, the share of companies that have signed is 99% (previous year 99%). The Code of Conduct is binding for each new supplier.
In the interests of the systematic planning and performance of audits, which are generally conducted every three years, the existing risk management approach was further developed in 2012 based on the division of suppliers into risk classes – depending on production location (country) and production processes. In the reporting year, 40 companies were identified in the highest risk category. This is equivalent to less than 5% of the entire procurement value. To ensure neutrality and the expertise required for the audits, Geberit also works with an external partner. In China, the carrying out of audits by independent experts has proven effective. Performing such audits makes an important contribution to enhancing credibility in supplier management. Any shortcomings exposed by audits give rise to sanctions. As a rule, a deadline is imposed for remedying the situation. For example, shortcomings were revealed at three Chinese suppliers in 2013, primarily in the areas of occupational safety, working hours and remuneration. Action plans were agreed upon with these three companies, the implementation of which will be checked and demanded during a re-audit in 2014.
Only in a few justified exceptional cases are there plans to impose complete regulations on the second tier and third tier in the supply chain by getting them to sign a Code of Conduct, as this would result in a disproportionately high level of additional administration with little added benefit. Geberit pursues a pragmatic yet effective approach. When auditing suppliers in the highest risk category, an analysis of their most important suppliers is included in the risk analysis and the audit investigations on site. At the end of the day, Geberit’s goal is modern supplier management, where the relationship with the supplier is actively managed and sustainability risks in the supply chain are jointly analyzed.
For further information, see → Business report > Business and financial review > Logistics and procurement.
HR3 Human rights training for employees
In 2008, more than 98% of all employees received training on the topics contained in the → Geberit Code of Conduct. The Code applies worldwide and is available on the intranet in 14 languages. Since 2009, all new employees have been receiving training in the Code as part of their induction, with media such as training films developed especially for this. All employees worldwide have access to the Code of Conduct via the intranet. In addition, since 2012 contributions toward increasing awareness of the Geberit Code of Conduct have been published on the intranet. For further details, see → SO3.
This information partially covers the requirements of the GRI indicator.
HR4 Cases of discrimination
The Code of Conduct forbids discrimination as defined in the ILO core labor standards. Compliance with the Code is verified annually as part of a binding Group-wide survey. In addition, the “Geberit Integrity Line” allows all employees to anonymously report irregularities such as discrimination in their mother tongue (35 languages). There was one case of workplace bullying in 2013, which led to the dismissal of the person responsible.
HR5 Guarantee of freedom of association and collective bargaining
Employees are completely free to join trade unions, associations and similar organizations. No rights with respect to exercising freedom of association or collective bargaining as defined in the ILO core labor standards are subject to restriction at the Geberit Group.
HR6 Risk of and precautionary measures against child labor
Geberit’s exposure with respect to child labor is considered low because of its industry and the countries in which business activities are carried out as well as its high quality requirements. Geberit commits itself to the protection of human rights in its Code of Conduct. Child labor is categorically rejected. According to the annual, binding Group-wide survey there were no cases of child labor revealed in 2013. There were likewise no such cases arising during the audits carried out at suppliers. The basic principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Suppliers explicitly include compliance with the ILO core labor standards for the exclusion of child labor.
HR7 Risk of and precautionary measures against forced labor
Geberit’s exposure with respect to forced labor is considered low because of its industry and the countries in which business activities are carried out as well as its high quality requirements. Geberit commits itself to the protection of human rights in its Code of Conduct. Forced labor is categorically rejected. According to the annual, binding Group-wide survey there were no cases of forced labor revealed in 2013. There were likewise no such cases arising during the audits carried out at suppliers. The basic principles set out in the Code of Conduct for Suppliers explicitly include compliance with the ILO core labor standards for the exclusion of forced labor.
HR8 Human rights training for security personnel
At its production sites in Europe, the US and China, Geberit is not confronted with the need for special security measures that increase the risk of human rights violations. To date, this problem has therefore not been relevant to Geberit within the scope of its global activities.
HR9 Violation of rights of indigenous peoples
To date, this problem has not been relevant to Geberit within the scope of its global activities.