Respecting and promoting human rights across all our activity is one of our core priorities. This is particularly important as we continue to re-shape our organisation and our geographic footprint.
Our Code of Conduct sets out our commitment to supporting the UN principles of Human Rights and the high standards of employment we require across the company. These include respecting diversity and, as a minimum, complying with national legal requirements regarding wages and working hours. We also support the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) standards regarding child labour and minimum age. All eligible employees have the right to be a member of a trade union. We have agreements with trade unions in a number of countries where collective bargaining is customary practice; is within a country’s legal framework, and is supported by employees. We are also committed to working only with suppliers who embrace standards of ethical behaviour that our consistent with our own.
United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
AstraZeneca is a signatory to the UNGC, a strategic public-private initiative for organisations committed to social and environmental sustainability. This means that we have committed to uphold ten internationally recognised principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, environmental sustainability and anti-corruption. These are long-standing principles for AstraZeneca (as described in our Code of Conduct and global policies but being part of the Global Compact reinforces how seriously we take them. It also gives us the framework for further developing our approach.
In recent years, we have conducted labour reviews in all the countries where we have employees, focused on ILO core areas including freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour, discrimination, working hours and wages. As a framework for the review, we used an adaptation of the employment section of the Danish Institute for Human Rights assessment tool for pharmaceutical companies. The results showed that generally our practices are in the main consistent across all countries, based on our mandate that AstraZeneca’s global standards are applied when external national standards do not meet our minimum requirements. There were some gaps to ILO standards identified and these are informing local people plans to close those gaps. The assessment is a biennial one and is due to be completed again by the end of 2014. .
Right to health
We believe that it is governments who are accountable for providing a robust healthcare infrastructure for their populations – one that supports good public health and can ensure that medicines are delivered to those who need them. However, we recognise that as a global biopharmaceutical company, we have a role to play. Alongside our dedicated TB research, we continue to partner with non-governmental organisations and other organisations to help strengthen local healthcare capabilities.