Human rights

What are Human rights at AstraZeneca?

Company efforts to uphold rights inherent to all human beings. These rights are all interrelated, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This includes the rights to health, non-discrimination, humane treatment and data privacy.  


Our approach

To manage our progress and ensure oversight, we conduct biannual human rights labour reviews in all countries where we have employees. Our Code of Ethics describes our formal mechanisms to file complaints, as well as our due diligence and corrective action process. Our Human Rights Statement describes our approach to respect the rights of all people. We have a whistleblowing policy and affiliated systems and processes to protect employees and allow them to raise concerns.

Annually, we publish a Modern Slavery Statement on our website, describing our commitment to ensuring that we identify and eliminate, to the fullest extent practicable, modern day slavery and human trafficking from our business. We are also committed to the International Labour Organization (ILO) standards regarding child labour and minimum working age. We intend to prevent human rights issues by taking the proper corrective action as soon as they are identified.


Our targets and progress

Our stories

Human rights survey

We measure human rights by means of a labour review survey every two years in all 106 countries where we operate. In 2018, we completed our fourth global Human Rights Labour Review, which focuses on the ILO’s core themes, including freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour, discrimination, working hours and wages. Initial results have been encouraging, with final report findings due to be complete in early 2019.

Fair Wage Network assessment

The Fair Wage Network aims to improve wage levels and development mechanisms beyond minimum legal requirements for all industries. It collects available associated data from all countries’ economies and logs all locally recognised definitions of a ‘living wage.’ From this data, the Network distils an average that is refreshed annually. Late in 2018, in efforts to more independently assess our performance in providing a living wage to all employees, AstraZeneca used the Fair Wage Network database to evaluate local living wage performance in all 106 countries where we have an employee presence. The exercise produced excellent results and reassured AstraZeneca’s performance in this space.

General Data Protection Regulation

We recognise that the digital landscape is continually evolving and that the personal data individuals generate, and organisations hold, is much broader and more complex than in the past. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is an EU law on data protection and privacy that has reshaped how companies manage data and consent. To address this reality and ensure our compliance with the new regulation, we delivered a cross-functional GDPR programme that drove the changes necessary to our ways of working, related processes and systems to ensure compliance. A cross-functional steering committee provided oversight and governance to the programme and a workstream structure and GDPR Champions Network (representing each EU market and relevant global functions/ business units) implemented the required activities. A comprehensive suite of communications and training activities was delivered across the business to increase awareness. Additionally, the Global Sustainability function has established an expanded Privacy Forum to support the Data Privacy Office for ongoing advice and guidance for all business functions.

Our GDPR eLearning training has been completed by over 24,000 employees across the EU and global functions, which equates to 99% of the mandated population, and is now part of the on-boarding process for new starters in these areas. The programme launched a ‘Clean Up Your Data’ campaign in October, focusing on individual accountability for ensuring personal data is retained for no longer than necessary (e.g. administrative documents with personal data stored in email, Box/SPOL, paper, Excel and other personally managed repositories).

See our Data Privacy Standard.