Responding department: Corporate Sustainability & Business Stewardship
Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?
The Bayer Corporate Compliance Policy covers human rights.
Bayer manages its businesses responsibly and in accordance with the statutory requirements of the countries in which it operates.
Bayer recognizes and respects human rights wherever it does business, both internally and within its external sphere of influence. Our standards require all employees around the world to act with fair and lawful conduct toward colleagues, business partners and local communities. We are committed to upholding and supporting human rights, including in our supply chain. Our human rights position is unequivocal and includes a strict ban on child labor.
In addition, we have a stand-alone Human Rights Position.
Bayer has clearly defined Human Rights standards: The Bayer mission statement “Science For A Better Life”, our LIFE values and our Corporate Compliance Policy – combined with the United Nations Global Compact – clearly define human rights standards. These standards require all employees around the world to act with fair and lawful conduct toward other employees, colleagues, business partners and local communities. We are committed to upholding and supporting human rights and to transparently reporting about them.
Bayer has developed a Supplier Code of Conduct which is based on the principles of the U.N. Global Compact and our Human Rights Position. This Code of Conduct sets forth key social, ecological and ethical standards that the Bayer Group expects its suppliers to share.http://www.bayer.com/en/bayer-supplier-code-of-conduct.aspx
We expect our suppliers and subcontractors to share Bayer’s commitment to operating in a responsible and ethical manner, consistent with the principles set forth in the Corporate Compliance Policy and in Bayer’s Supplier Code of Conduct. We also expect our suppliers and subcontractors to maintain these standards further down the supply chain. We consider compliance with these standards an important factor when choosing new suppliers or continuing our relationships with existing ones.
How are human rights governed in your company?
Human rights and compliance are integral part of our sustainability management.
To us, sustainability basically means future viability and, as part of corporate strategy, is integrated into everyday procedures.
Responsibility for steering and aligning our Group-wide sustainability strategy lies with the Board of Management member responsible for Human Resources, Technology and Sustainability in his function as Chief Sustainability Officer.
How are human rights managed within your company?
Bayer’s Human Rights Position is set out in a binding Group-wide policy. We are committed to respecting, fostering and reporting transparently on human rights both internally and within our sphere of influence. That means, in particular, that we have policies, processes and monitoring systems to enforce human rights in our business operations. Alongside working conditions in the Bayer Group, these outline our expectation that human rights will be respected at all stages in the supply chain, as detailed in our Supplier Code of Conduct. In addition, our LIFE values and Corporate Compliance Policy commit all employees around the world to fair and lawful conduct toward staff, colleagues, business partners and customers.
Bayer’s Supplier Code of Conduct, which is based on the principles of the U.N. Global Compact and our Human Rights Position, forms the basis for our collaboration with suppliers and is available online in 14 languages. The Code of Conduct is integrated into electronic ordering systems and contracts throughout the Bayer Group. Since 2015, furthermore, relevant new and renewed supply contracts have contained special clauses that request suppliers to observe the sustainability requirements defined in the Code of Conduct and authorize Bayer to monitor this.
To enhance our employees’ awareness of the importance of human rights in their day-to-day activities, we have included human rights into our trainings. In 2015, we trained around 52% of our workforce in the main aspects of our Human Rights Position at various courses with a total duration of 201,000 hours. That included training for internal and external security staff. The compliance organizations at Group and country levels monitor compliance with the relevant corporate policies. If there are signs of violation, employees can contact their Compliance Officer at any time, anonymously if required. Alternatively, they can contact the Group-wide compliance hotline, which is available worldwide to the general public as well as to employees.
What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?
Bayer was one of the first signatories of the United Nations Global Compact in 2000.
Through its signature, Bayer has undertaken to support the protection of human rights within its sphere of influence, to guarantee international labor standards, to improve environmental protection and to fight corruption and bribery.
We consider the maintenance of constant contact and continuous dialogue with our stakeholders at a global and local level to be very important.
Bayer is a part of society and of public life. Society’s acceptance and appreciation of our corporate activities are therefore essential to Bayer’s reputation and business success. Involving the different interest groups is a vital element of the company’s activities with the goal of creating better mutual understanding and trust in respect of our work and products.
We systematically involve our stakeholders in various ways, including the Stakeholder Engagement Process. This describes how, throughout the Group, stakeholder groups for a project can be identified, their expectations charted and dialogue with them steered.
We regularly check that our areas of activity are up to date and relevant. To do so, we analyze and evaluate what the major stakeholders expect and require and match this against our own assessment. We summarized areas of activity that are relevant to Bayer in a materiality matrix. http://www.bayer.com/en/sustainability-management.aspx
We regard providing regular, up-to-date information for our employees and involving them through active dialogue as an integral part of modern human resources and talent management based on competitive structures and processes. We actively involve our employees in dialogue through a range of offerings and specifically encourage open discussion. To monitor the effectiveness of our human resources work, we conduct a Group-wide Employee Survey every two years. This is supplemented by institutionalized feedback processes and analyses.
As part of our sustainable supplier management, we offer our suppliers a wide range of training and dialogue opportunities in order to familiarize them with Bayer’s sustainability requirements. We hold Supplier Days, which are an important dialogue platform.
A key challenge for sustainable supplier management in the Bayer Group is to prevent child labor in the seed supply chain of our CropScience subgroup. For many years, CropScience has taken systematic action to prevent child labor in the seed supply chain in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines through its Child Care Program. A Child Care Program Advisory Council, comprised of international experts and recognized professionals, supports Bayer in the protection of children’s rights and the obligation of seed production without child labor.
On the European market, Crop Science offers a mild weed control product based on fatty acids derived from palm oil. As the production of palm oil is often associated with social and ecological problems, Bayer takes part in the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). This underscores our commitment to responsible materials procurement.
Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?
- Health (including environmental health, workplace health & safety)
- Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
- Sexual harassment
- Freedom of association and trade union rights
- Freedom of expression and/or right to privacy/ digital rights
- Conflict minerals
- Children (including child labour)
- Access to Medicine, Clinical Trials, Access to Seeds
All items from the list are relevant for Bayer, especially relating to supply chain management.
We have selected the items below to provide additional information. Further information can be found in our Annual Report http://www.annualreport2015.bayer.com/index.html.
Occupational Health and Safety
We regard safeguarding the occupational health and safety of our employees and of contractors and suppliers working on our company premises and under the supervision of Bayer as one of our core tasks. This entails preventing work-related accidents and occupational illnesses, identifying and assessing potential hazards, maintaining comprehensive risk management and designing a healthy working environment.
Employees’ health and vitality are important to Bayer. The company therefore specifically encourages health awareness and healthy lifestyles. We have therefore introduced a wide range of workplace health management programs at all levels, which are being expanded in response to employee surveys.
Gender and Cultural Balance
A better gender and cultural balance at management level is especially important for our success as a company. Our activities in this area are bundled in “Leading Across Cultures and Genders.” At the heart of this program are special training sessions for managers.
Bayer has officially recognized the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women in May 2015.
Above-average performance is only possible in an environment where fairness and respect are key elements of the corporate culture. That includes observing Bayer-wide standards of conduct and protecting employees from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. These standards are set forth in the corporate policy on Fairness and Respect at Work.
Child Care Program
A key challenge for sustainable supplier management in the Bayer Group is to prevent child labor in the seed supply chain of our Crop Science business.
Our Human Rights Position is unequivocal and includes a strict ban on child labor. We therefore also obligate our suppliers along our supply chain strictly to refrain from employing children. For many years, Crop Science has taken systematic action to prevent child labor in the seed supply chain in India, Bangladesh and the Philippines through its Child Care Program. Special teams from Bayer visit the fields used, for example, in cotton, rice and vegetable seed production without prior notice throughout the cultivation season in order to raise awareness of the issue and the Bayer requirements and to determine the age of the workers there. Thanks to this stringent monitoring system, which is supported by local educational initiatives, there are now only very few incidences of child labor among our contractors, and we are closely tracking these cases. Further risk assessments were carried out in vegetable and rice seed production for Bayer in Thailand, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. It is planned to introduce the Child Care Program in these countries as well in 2016. We measure the success of our comprehensive program using the indicators “Child labor incidence per monitored km²” and “Child labor incidence as a percentage of total monitorings of laborers.”
How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?
Integrated Annual Report http://www.bayer.com/en/integrated-annual-reports.aspx
Incl. UN Global Compact Blueprint Report http://www.annualreport2015.bayer.com/about-this-report/un-global-compact-blueprint-report.html
Corporate Website http://www.bayer.com/en/bayer-human-rights-position.aspx
We also observe the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were adopted in 2011. To implement these, in 2015, we played an active part in the consultation process, which aims to support the German government in drafting a national action plan.
What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?
The Compliance function at the Group and country levels monitor compliance with the relevant laws and regulations, including the Bayer Human Rights Policy. We maintain and improve operational-level grievance mechanisms.
Bayer provides different communication channels to report possible compliance violations.
Employees may contact any of the following: manager/supervisor, department head, Law, Patents and Compliance Department, Compliance Officer, Corporate Auditing or Human Resources (for employment only matters).
Additionally, we have established a worldwide system available to employees and the general public through which possible compliance violations can be reported – anonymously if desired.
We are committed to enabling the remediation of any adverse human rights impacts caused by our business activities.
We do not report on the number of formal grievances with respect to human rights violations. We report on the total number of notifications registered with the compliance hotline in our Annual Report. We internally record the precise reason for the grievance, track how it is followed up and take corresponding action in line with our Group regulation. More detailed information on this would constitute a business secret.
What are some of the obstacles and challenges that your company encounters in implementing its human rights commitments?
Bayer regards adherence to sustainability standards within its supply chain as both a crucial factor for value creation and an important lever for minimizing risks. For this reason, not just economic standards, but also ethical and environmental, social and governance (ESG) standards apply for the selection of new as well as established suppliers. In order to consistently drive sustainability in supplier management, Bayer has set ambitious targets.
Another objective is the development and establishment of a sustainability standard for our supply base by 2020. Here we are working with both the Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative and the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI). The goals include standardizing and sharing sustainability assessments and audits of suppliers in the same industry and describing clear expectations regarding sustainability so as to establish appropriate sustainability practices among our suppliers.