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

This includes taking action on both basic and emerging issues such as workforce treatment, labour rights, and data privacy. Managing human rights is an ongoing and evolving process that is reflected across all functions at AstraZeneca. We intend to prevent human rights issues by taking the proper corrective action as soon as issues are identified.

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 also have a Human Rights Statement that describes our approach to respect the rights of all people. We are 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

Upholding the Right to Privacy

We continue to progress our Privacy management as the needs of our patients, employees and other stakeholders evolve. We conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIAs) for personal data processes which go beyond what is legally required and mandate PIAs for all types of processing activities worldwide. In 2019, we enhanced our Privacy Forum, comprised of Deputy Data Protection Officers for each country and key global functions to ensure adequate cover and expertise in data protection worldwide.

Continuously improving through assessments

We conduct a labour review survey every two years in the more than 100 countries where we operate. Our 2018 Human Rights Labour Review focused on the ILO’s core themes, including freedom of association and collective bargaining, child labour, discrimination, working hours and wages, including questions on the Living Wage. In 2017 we signed up to the "Fair Wage Network" database. The independently produced data was used in our 2018 survey to measure against the salaries of all 68.000+ employees and we are pleased to report excellent results.

Hope for Justice, a global non-profit organisation which aims to end human trafficking and modern slavery, conducted a gap assessment of our risk mitigation processes for modern slavery and human trafficking. Feedback included that our strengths are leadership engagement and third-party management.

Raising awareness of human rights

We create training materials that align our day to day practices with our Speak-Up culture of identifying, preventing and reporting concerns, including for human rights. In 2019, we launched trainings for various areas related to human rights:

  • Anti-harassment and anti-bullying - This initiative set our expectations for behaviour to ensure our workforce feels respected, supported and safe at work from any form of bullying and harassment, be it mental, physical or sexual.
  • Speak Up - A “Speak Up” culture is central to our journey in Human Rights, Ethical Business Culture and Inclusion and Diversity. We hosted a week-long Speak Up campaign that gave all employees the chance to share a video of their Speak Up stories and watch video demonstration scenarios.
  • Privacy - Dedicated online privacy training includes the following topics: personal data definition, international privacy principles, data subject rights, Privacy Impact Assessments, overview of the AstraZeneca Privacy Standard and how to identify and report privacy incidents.

Learn more about Human rights in our Sustainability Report.