International Labor and Social Standards

  • Alignment with U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

We act responsibly toward our employees. Part of this is our voluntary commitment to respecting international labor and social standards, which we have embedded in our global Code of Conduct. This encompasses internationally recognized labor norms as stipulated in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy of the International Labour Organization (ILO). BASF is committed to complying with these standards worldwide. We mainly approach our adherence to international labor and social standards using three elements: the Compliance Program (including external compliance hotlines), close dialog with our stakeholders (such as with employee representatives or international organizations) and the BASF guideline on compliance with international labor norms, which applies Group-wide. This guideline makes concrete what the human rights issues and international labor standards in our global Code of Conduct mean as these relate to our employees.

It forms the basis for our global management process: We monitor and evaluate whether the national law of all the countries in which BASF operates complies with international labor and social standards. If the national law contains no or lower requirements, actions plans are drawn up to successively close these gaps in a reasonable time frame. If conflicts with national law or practices arise, we strive to act in accordance with our values and internationally recognized principles without violating the law of the country concerned. As part of the management process, we regularly follow up on and document the results of the comparison between national law and our guideline, as well as measures to implement the guideline. This is our central due diligence system. Based on our guideline, our management process has been able to improve maternity leave at BASF companies with no statutory requirements or lower requirements than in the BASF guideline, for example. Our voluntary commitment to respect international labor and social standards has been integrated into the existing corporate audit process since 2019. For this purpose, preparatory training was held for the auditors. As before, individual elements of the guideline are also reviewed as part of internal control processes such as Responsible Care audits in BASF Group companies.