The guiding principles of the United Nations for the economy and human rights emphasize business responsibility. After all, the activities of companies can have unintended negative effects on human rights. This applies above all to globally operating corporations with complex supply chains. Particularly threatened by human rights violations in supply chains are those population groups who are already marginalized in their respective country and therefore are exposed to higher risk, such as children, women, and religious or ethnic minorities. At the same time, a precarious human rights situation also weakens companies since their success depends on a stable and predictable environment. Within the framework of SDG 8, humane working conditions are emphasized as the prerequisite for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
At Symrise, Corporate Sustainability is responsible for the topic of human rights and reports on it to the Executive Board several times per year. By signing the United Nations Global Compact, we officially announced our active support for the protection of international human rights. This applies both to our own employees and to the observance of human rights at our external partners.
The Symrise Code of Conduct describes our company's worldwide rules on the topic of human rights. The provisions are implemented worldwide in our Integrated Management System (IMS), which is based on the provisions of the SA 8000 social accountability standard. This standard is based on the conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We welcome and expressly support corresponding laws against forced labor or human trafficking, such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act or the UK Modern Slavery Act. The abuse of employees' rights or work safety provisions is illegal and is not tolerated in any form at Symrise. Independent auditing companies regularly confirm compliance with these regulations on social responsibility.
We also require our suppliers and business partners to uphold basic human rights. Before a new supplier is accepted as a business partner, it must pledge in writing that it will maintain and comply with the provisions of the Symrise Code of Conduct. The international platform of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) is a valuable tool with which we can more easily assess suppliers and deliver our own data to customers. Since 2006, we have been publishing information on working conditions and employee rights, health and safety as well as on environmental and ethical business practices via this platform. Every Symrise production site has been registered with SEDEX. Since 2012, we have requested that our most important suppliers register with SEDEX and disclose their data there. We carry out audits for suppliers that pose an especially notable risk, that have crucial raw materials or that have had problems flagged in the assessment. Furthermore, our approach to backward integration (see responsible sourcing) enables us to exert direct influence on adherence to our principles.
Since 2010, all Symrise production sites have been externally audited in three-year intervals based on the SEDEX / SMETA 4-Pillar standard. In addition, several customers had independent certification organizations audit selected Symrise locations according to their own standards for social aspects.