Human and Business Rights Commitment

Volkswagen’s Business &
Human Rights Commitment

Respecting human rights is a non-negotiable priority in the Volkswagen Group. We have to act ethically and with integrity to ensure we have sustainable economic operations. We are fully committed to our responsibility for protecting human rights in the context of our business, and honour this commitment by complying with the relevant international conventions and declarations, in particular the International Human Rights Charter and the core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

As VWSA and the greater Volkswagen Group, we strive to claim a leading role in the automotive industry when it comes to corporate respect for human rights. There is a long tradition of social sustainability within the Volkswagen Group; this means we prioritise fair practices in the following aspects of our business:

Labour: We work to ensure good working conditions, as well as freedom of association and collective bargaining at VWSA. Breaches of human rights, such as child or forced labour, are completely unacceptable

Tolerance: We promote equal opportunities for all employees and value cultural diversity, tolerance and mutual respect

Safety:
We act swiftly and appropriately if a person’s safety is jeopardised 

VWSA also recognises that our responsibility does not end within the company premises; rather, as a responsible corporate citizen, we have a duty to consider the impact our activities may have on our local communities and the greater society. We respect the rights of our stakeholders, and strive to make a positive contribution to human rights through specific social projects and partnerships that benefit these communities.

Within the Volkswagen Group, there is constant dialogue and close coordination between various functions, departments and Group entities on the topic of business and human rights. We enshrine our duty of care by integrating this focus into our Compliance Management system across the Group. Risks relating to human rights are regularly evaluated and addressed, though extensive measures are in place to prevent these altogether wherever possible. In the case of any suspected human rights violations, a whistleblower system is in place for such cases to be reported anonymously.

Further reading:

Our commitment to human rights in the context of our business is outlined in more detail in the following documents:

  • Code of Conduct: An entire chapter of the Code of Conduct is dedicated to the topics of human rights, equal opportunity and equal treatment, and how each employee must act in order to protect these rights. All employees receive regular, mandatory training on the Code of Conduct
  • The Declaration on Social Rights by the Volkswagen GroupOpens an external link: this document stipulates the binding principles for the Group’s social and industrial relations, both internally and with business partners
  • The Code of Conduct for Business PartnersOpens an external link: In this document, the company formulates its expectations for its business partners, of which the protection of human and employment rights are central requirements. These expectations are emphasised in the Code of Conduct training provided to Business Partners