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Human rights

SFS takes human rights very seriously. Respecting human rights, including within the context of its business activities, is indispensable for the company and non-negotiable. This basic attitude is also expected of all business partners.

GRI 103: MANAGEMENT APPROACH 2016

GRI 103-1 Explanation of the material topic and its boundary
By fulfilling its duty of care with regard to human rights, SFS protects its employees, creates attractive jobs, lives up to its social responsibility and remains competitive in the long term.

As a signatory of the UN Global Compact, SFS is committed to the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights. Among other things, the principles of the UN Global Compact relate to the protection of international human rights and the abolition of forced and child labor. SFS wants to reduce the risk of human rights violations to the greatest extent possible, both at its own locations and within its entire supply chain. The company is therefore increasingly incorporating human rights into its business processes.

GRI 103-2 The management approach and its components

SFS’s Corporate Principles and Code of Conduct enshrine the principle of respect for human rights and form an integral part of the conditions of employment that every employee is introduced to during the onboarding process. As these two basic documents are communicated to all new employees via both training and e-learning, an adequate focus is placed on the topic of human rights from the very start, thereby also raising awareness of the issues among the staff.

The Code of Conduct also forms an integral part of advanced training for new employees when individual aspects or topics are examined in detail.

Requirements placed on business partners
SFS also requires its suppliers to strictly adhere to and uphold human rights. This is a prerequisite for entering into a business relationship with SFS. In the General Terms and Conditions of Purchase, every supplier of SFS promises to comply with the respective statutory regulations on dealing with employees, environmental protection and occupational health and safety, and to work to reduce the adverse effects of their activities on people and the environment. Furthermore, suppliers must, upon request, demonstrate to SFS that they have implemented a code of conduct that embodies the principles of the UN Global Compact, which essentially concern the protection of international human rights, the abolition of forced and child labor, the elimination of discrimination in recruitment and employment, environmental responsibility and the prevention of corruption.

Our reporting channels
Violations or suspected violations of human rights can be reported to the Compliance Officer, also anonymously, both by SFS employees and by external stakeholders using a form on the website. Complaints received are investigated systematically and appropriate countermeasures are taken if necessary. During the year under review, the Group Compliance Officer received no reports via this complaints channel regarding violations or suspected violations of human rights that would have required corrective steps.

GRI 103-3 Evaluation of the management approach
The inclusion of compliance topics in the internal audits of the SFS Group in 2022 has laid the basis for conducting targeted audits for human rights violations. Once the first compliance audits have been carried out, an evaluation should be conducted to specify precisely which additional audits on the topic should be included in a future audit plan.

The sustainability guidelines, which will also be published in 2022 and require a commitment on the part of SFS’s suppliers, further specify suppliers’ obligation to uphold human rights.

GRI 412 2 employee training on human rights policies or procedures

A mandatory e-learning course on the topics covered by the Code of Conduct must be conducted for each new employee. Like the e-learning course, the Code of Conduct has been translated into 10 languages. In Switzerland, the Code of Conduct is also part of the in-depth training completed by new employees around 100 days after they are hired.

In 2022, the e-learning course on the Code of Conduct will be amended and rolled out for all SFS Group employees – including current employees. The available reporting channels will be emphasized to renew employees’ awareness of the different ways they can report violations of the Code of Conduct.