In our globally binding Code of Ethics, we commit to the principles of the Human Rights Charter of the United Nations, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the principles of the UN Global Compact. Compliance with social standards is reviewed as part of a multi-layered process, a key component of which is a worldwide survey of systems for fair working conditions. Another tool is our Integrity Line, which employees and external stakeholders can use to report instances of misconduct. Furthermore, labour standards are the subject of consultations with employee representatives. The Group's core guidelines also take international standards into account, for instance in requirements for suppliers.
Once again in 2012, we collated information uniformly across all Group locations about our processes for adhering to social standards and observing human rights. The survey covers all regions in which Linde operates. The aim is to examine whether our companies have put processes in place to safeguard social standards. This entails preventing child and forced labour and discrimination, as well as upholding the right to exercise freedom of association and negotiate collective bargaining agreements. A very small percentage of Group employees work in countries where the right to exercise freedom of association and negotiate collective bargaining agreements is limited by national legislation. The results of the survey show, for instance, that Linde has introduced processes to verify the age of its employees. The various regions also reported that almost all of their workforce is covered under state benefit schemes or has access to a healthcare scheme through Linde.