Human rights & labour standards

Human rights and labour standards

We commit to the principles of the UN Human Rights Charter, the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and other international obligations and industry standards. For our human rights management, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are a source of guidance.

Guidelines and topics

Our Group guidelines take human rights into account. These guidelines include our Code of Ethics, purchasing guidelines and purchasing agreements, the Integrity Line policy and Group risk management. In The Linde Group position on human rights adopted in 2014, we describe the processes which confirm our commitment, covering the following topics:

  • safety and health protection
  • the prevention of discrimination and harassment in the workplace
  • equal opportunities and equal treatment
  • fair pay
  • compliance with regulations on working hours
  • the right to privacy
  • freedom of association and freedom of assembly
  • the exclusion of any form of child labour or forced labour, including human trafficking

Our human rights management focuses in particular on the protection of and on preventing discrimination against vulnerable groups such as employees under 18 years of age or representatives of ethnic minorities. In terms of equal opportunities, we are looking especially at the promotion of women. As far as safety is concerned, we pay particular attention to the protection of employees working in production, as well as to employees and contractors who work for Linde on construction sites or who transport our products.

Implementation and monitoring

Risk analyses provide us with information as to which topics are most relevant to Linde in which business areas or in the supply chain. In addition, we conduct an annual due diligence process at country level to establish whether procedures have been set up to ensure compliance with our guidelines on the protection of human rights and social standards. Moreover in 2016, we conducted more than 80 audits at our business locations which covered social topics.

To detect potential weaknesses, we also evaluate the information provided to the Integrity Line. Our employees and external stakeholders can use this service to report any breaches of the Group’s commitment. In 2016, around 31 percent of the reports received by the Integrity Line related to human resources issues (2015: 26 percent). We investigate any deviations or breaches. If necessary, we take corrective action. The measures taken might include training, coaching, the issuing of verbal and written warnings or dismissals.