Management approach and targets
Protecting and promoting human rights is of the utmost importance to us. We report on how we safeguard human rights with regard to working conditions, anti-discrimination measures, and occupational health and safety within DB Group, particularly in the chapter Employees.
We expect our business partners to uphold human rights. Our requirements in this regard are included in the DB code of conduct for business partners. This Code refers to the core labor standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO), such as protection against child and forced labor and against discrimination in employment and occupation. It contains regulations on adequate pay, regulated working hours, and the preference for regular employment. The right to auditing may be agreed in contracts with business partners, including adverse legal consequences if the Code is not complied with. The DB code of conduct is part of the contractual obligations of our business partners. DB Group’s ethics principles set appropriate requirements for our own employees and executives. These are legally binding under labor law.
We oppose modern slavery in all its forms, be it forced or compulsory labor, servitude, human trafficking, or child labor, and we report on this in accordance with the provisions of the UK Modern Slavery Act and from the 2023 financial year in accordance with the Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains (LkSG). Social minimum standards have been developed specifically for DB Schenker’s activities worldwide. These standards detail the overriding DB Group Code of Conduct and provide, particularly in the international context, minimum standards for situations in which national and international legislation does not stipulate any appropriate social measures. Compliance with the Social Minimum Standards is regularly audited by intra-Group auditors at selected locations.
If human rights violations are suspected, employees, customers, suppliers and any other parties that may be of concern are provided with various channels to report such violations, including the option to report anonymously. The central whistle-blower management, which was coordinated with the Group Works Council regarding its structure concerning employee concerns, can also be used for human rights-related matters. One channel is our electronic whistle-blower system. In addition, reports can be made by post and trusted legal practitioners. DB employees can also contact the employee ombudsman. In 2022, the whistle-blower system reported suspected cases of human rights violations in the medium double-digit range (mainly cases relating to potential problematic working conditions and potential discrimination).
Implementation of the Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains
From January 1, 2023, the Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains (Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz; LkSG) obliges companies with more than 3,000 employees to prevent or minimize human rights and environmental risks in their own business area and supply chains. The aim of the Act is to improve the international human rights situation, protect the environment and prevent environmental damage, strengthen social and corporate responsibility and create enforcement potential in supply chains.
In DB Group, the implementation of the LkSG is being prepared by means of a Group-wide project that is managed by the area of sustainability and the environment, which is responsible for the project. As LkSG officer, the head of the Strategy&Reporting Sustainability and Environment department monitors the implementation of legal obligations.
In 2022, the focus was on preparing the Group-wide risk analysis in order to create more transparency about human rights and environmental risks both in the Company’s own business area and in the supply chain.
In addition, the existing whistleblower management was reviewed and further developed on the basis of the requirements of the LkSG and has been available for use in relation to all LkSG topics since January 1, 2023. This makes it possible to report human rights and environmental risks, as well as violations of human rights and environmental obligations.
In order to enable preventive measures to be implemented, preparations were also made in 2022, such as the adjustment of the general terms of business for procurement in DB Group, in particular those of the General Terms and Conditions of Purchase.