Novartis respects and supports the protection of human rights in its operations and supply chain as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
We are committed to upholding the core labor standards set out by the International Labor Organization. Since 2001, Novartis has been a signatory of the UN Global Compact, endorsing the 10 universal principles covering human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption. This led to our first Human Rights Guideline in 2003, which was revised in 2017. We also support the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
The general obligation of each and every Novartis employee to respect human rights is defined in the Novartis Code of Conduct (PDF 6.2 MB). Our Corporate Responsibility Guideline provides overall guidance on governance, roles and responsibilities, and management of corporate responsibility across Novartis. Human Rights topics are governed and managed by issue- and function-specific standards at Novartis, including the Novartis Third Party Code (PDF 0.6 MB), fair working conditions, professional practices and responsible supply chain management.
Human Rights Strategy
We are implementing a five-year human rights strategy, which is based on the following elements:
Human rights in the supply chain and modern slavery
In 2019, we merged our human rights and Third-Party Risk Management program into one function named Human Rights & Third-Party Risk Management. This helps ensure more effective due diligence of human rights in our supply chain and ingrain human rights further into our core business practices and strategies.
To demonstrate our commitment to addressing broader issues that affect people’s rights and livelihoods, we continue to take steps to prevent modern slavery – as defined in the UK and Australia modern slavery acts – in our operations and supply chains. We publish a statement explaining how we address modern slavery risks or impacts (PDF 0.3 MB) each year, and have developed an e-learning module on modern slavery.
As we expand our resources and strengthen our efforts to protect human rights, we plan to conduct broader and more frequent consultations with patient groups, local communities, health authorities and supply chain partners throughout our operations. This will help us benchmark our efforts, measure our progress, and fulfill our ambition to become a leader in the healthcare sector for respecting and protecting the rights of people affected by our or our suppliers’ operations.