Human Rights in the value chain

For more than 120 years, both in our own operations and in our value chain, Roche has fostered the protection of Human Rights. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we are continuously making impactful and positive contributions in areas that are within our sphere of influence. Vulnerable populations associated with our suppliers are protected through the clear communication of sustainability related expectations and our formal supplier sustainability audit program. Vulnerable populations include children, underage workers, migrants, local underprivileged communities and people with low levels of education.

The Roche Supplier Code of Conduct, required to be included in every Roche contract, incorporates the five auditable key principles of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI):

  • Ethics: Suppliers shall conduct their business in an ethical manner and act with integrity.

  • Human Rights and Labour Rights: Suppliers shall be committed to uphold the Human Rights of workers and to treat them with dignity and respect.

  • Health and Safety: Suppliers shall provide a safe and healthy working environment and living quarters if they are company-provided.

  • Environment: Suppliers shall operate in an environmentally responsible and efficient manner, and they shall minimize adverse impacts on the environment.

  • Management Systems: Suppliers shall use management systems to facilitate continual improvement and compliance with the expectations of these principles.

The “Human Rights and labor rights” topics noted above include expectations related to the following:

  • Forced labor

  • Human trafficking

  • Child labor

  • Freedom of association

  • Fair Treatment

  • Discrimination

We have a formal process and methodology for assessing our suppliers in order to identify those at higher risk for Human Rights violations due to:

  • Being associated with an industry that is likely to employ vulnerable populations

  • Being located in a region at higher risk for Human Rights violations, per respected Human Rights indices

  • Being associated with government, media or internal reports of alleged behavior or operations that indicate real or potential noncompliance with the Roche Supplier Code of Conduct

This Human Rights risk assessment is embedded in our standardized due diligence process conducted before engaging new suppliers. It is used to identify suppliers for inclusion in our Supplier Sustainability Assurance Visit (SSAV) program, through which we directly evaluate supplier Human Rights compliance.

In 2021, the SSAV audits identified 52 Human Rights related findings at 26 suppliers. The findings included excessive overtime, incorrect overtime compensation, delayed payment of wages, and inadequate maintenance of employee time records. All 26 suppliers have corrective action plans in place (find an example here )

Formal SSAV follow-up ensures progress on, and closure of, audit findings.

Roche’s expectation that suppliers adhere to our Human Rights protection requirements is non-negotiable. Roche has set a global goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by transitioning our fleet to electric vehicles. Because we understood the Human Rights risks associated with the mining of conflict minerals used in electric vehicles, our Global Procurement fleet team established Human Rights criteria for selecting electric vehicle providers. Electric vehicle manufacturers must:

  1. Accept Roche’s Supplier Code of Conduct, including Roche’s right to audit electric vehicle manufacturers for related labor and Human Rights compliance,

  2. Be in full compliance with the OECD Guidance on Responsible Supply Chains,

  3. Have an ethical mineral sourcing code of conduct that protects miners and families, and

  4. Have a recycling program for conflict minerals.

Electric vehicle manufacturers who cannot meet these requirements are excluded from opportunities related to our fleet.

Human Rights findings in 2021

Number of Human Rights Findings per Country in 2021
Supplier View on Human Rights findings in comparison to Total findings (2021)
Corrective Action Plan on Human Right Major Findings triggering a Follow-up Audit in 2022

Looking forward 2022 Human Rights risks

2022 Human Rights Predicted Risk - Number of vendors per country
Supplier Human Rights Risk per Industry
In my decades as a board director responsible for corporate compliance, I have learned that corporate responsibility should never be a box-ticking exercise – as is still too often the case today. Embedding due diligence in company culture and practice not only upholds respect for Human Rights and the environment, but also presents a business opportunity, creating a virtuous circle of business stability and inclusive economic growth. Successful stewardship of our businesses can, and should, exist alongside responsible stewardship of our workforces, impacted communities and the natural world.
Andre Hoffmann
Vice-Chairman of the Roche Board of Directors

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