The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10 December 1948. However, more than 70 years later, compliance with its 30 articles still cannot be taken for granted. Our global activities and links to all parts of the supply chain mean that Greiner has a particularly strong obligation to protect human rights every day without compromise. And today, on Human Rights Day, we are calling on other businesses to follow our lead.
10 December is a reminder that we still have some way to go when it comes to safeguarding human rights. In Austria, the right to life, liberty and security, freedom of religion and speech, and the prohibition of slavery and torture are the norm. But as a global company, we know that human rights are still being violated all over the world.
At Greiner, we try to look at the bigger picture and do not turn a blind eye to problems that extend beyond our particular lines of business and our head office. With over 10,000 employees and 140 locations in 33 countries, we have a significant influence on many, many people. And we try to capitalise on this influence in order to safeguard the livelihoods of local people and the rights of our employees, and to insist on ethical and lawful practices on the part of our suppliers. For us, human rights are neither optional nor negotiable.
Most of the impacts our operations have on society occur along our supply chain. For this reason, we oblige all of our suppliers to observe and uphold global regulations for the protection of human rights as a basic standard. Today, Greiner works with over 8,500 suppliers from more than 50 countries. The demands we place on them are set out in our code of conduct, which outlines non-negotiable minimum standards. This enables us to meet our responsibilities and ensure that our collaboration with suppliers is ethical, as well as environmentally and socially sustainable.
We place ambitious expectations on our suppliers and business partners. We expect them to promote equal opportunities, ensure their employees’ health and safety, implement fair remuneration policies, conserve natural resources, protect the environment, boost transparency, support efforts aimed at fighting corruption, and make sure all of their activities are ethical and legitimate.
When selecting suppliers, Greiner considers factors such as environmental protection, workplace safety and compliance with human rights legislation. This enables us to influence upstream value-chain processes in our role as a purchaser. However, we go one step further: after deciding to collaborate with a supplier, we carry out regular checks on its operations. With the help of supplier surveys, external supplier assessments and audits we ensure that all suppliers, including long-standing partners, live up to their responsibilities permanently, worldwide and to the letter.
Greiner also ensures that it lives up to the demands it places on itself, and to this end the company implemented a compliance management system in 2011. We expect our operations to be ethical and lawful. We are dedicated to complying with all legal requirements, we stand up for free and fair competition, reject all forms of corruption, and work to ensure that our business operations are sustainable. In addition, our whistle-blowing platform allows employees, business partners and customers to report any violations of these principles.
First and foremost, our success is down to our employees, so protecting and supporting them is our top priority. In this respect, the emphasis is on avoiding accidents in the workplace, as well as health promotion and preventive medical care. Additionally, there is no place for discrimination at our company, and we aim to create a corporate culture shaped by respect for diversity and equal opportunities. Another priority is providing personal development opportunities for our staff. We do not just want to respect their human rights, we want to go further.
As a global player, Greiner always has to consider the potential effects of its activities on people who are not directly connected with its business operations. The standards we set for ourselves relate to efficient use of resources, reductions in emissions, waste avoidance and water conservation. At present, 884 million people around the world do not have basic water supplies. At Greiner, we do our bit in this regard by returning over 97% of the groundwater we extract to its source. Another priority is ensuring we do not dump any waste from production operations, and supporting organisations that are working to improve disposal processes. We are pushing for enhanced healthcare worldwide by means of Greiner Bio One’s medical technology and diagnostics products, and through a project implemented in collaboration with the Swiss Red Cross. Greiner also supports various education facilities.
Major multinationals like us have a responsibility to protect human rights. Indeed, every business must live up to this responsibility. We take steps designed to bring us closer to a clear target: making sure that people and their rights are the focus of attention not just today, but every day.
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