Unser Code of Conduct
Complying with current legislation is a matter of course for the Würth Group (here- inafter referred to as “Würth”). We set great store by certain values that govern our dealings with each other and with our business partners. Mutual trust, reliability, honesty and straightforwardness, shown both inside our companies and to the public, are the fundamental principles deeply ingrained in the Würth Group’s corporate culture. Furthermore, the way we run our business shall be in harmony with humanity and the environment, thereby contributing greatly to our long-term corporate success.
We consider these values to be a cornerstone of our supplier relationships. Würth’s Supplier Code of Conduct specifies binding minimum requirements that all our suppliers have to implement and comply with.
In the main, Würth’s Supplier Code of Conduct is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles laid down in internationally accepted standards of re- sponsible company governance. These include the UN Global Compact, the fundamen- tal principles at work of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
It goes without saying that any kind of entrepreneurial action must comply with the re- spective country’s national legal requirements. Should any laws or legal require- ments of a particular country, business field, or market differ from the requirements laid down in Würth’s Supplier Code of Conduct, the stricter requirements shall apply.
1 HUMAN RIGHTS AND SAFETY AT WORK
1.1 Respecting human dignity
The supplier respects all general personal and human rights. Violence, intimi-da- tion, mobbing, sexual harassment, or abuse are prohibited.
Ban on discrimination
Human dignity shall be inviolable. It must be respected and protected. Discrimi-na- tion — i.e. any degradation or unequal treatment based on a person’s sex, gender identity, social or ethnic background, nationality, language, skin color, religion, sexual identity, physical or intellectual disabilities, political orientation—is not tolerated.
Condemnation of forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking
Any kind of forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking is prohibited. All employees contribute their labor or services to a company on a voluntary basis. Any threat of punishment, such as isolation, restriction of movement, exploitation, physical harm, intimidation, excessive overtime hours, withholding of identification documents and other sensitive documents, or the withholding of wages or salaries is prohibited.
1.2 Ban on child labor
Würth does not tolerate any child labor nor any form of exploitation of children and adolescents. The term “child” refers to any person under the age of 14. The minimum employment age must not be lower than the school leaving age applicable in the country in which the supplier operates. Proof of age of all employees must be available.
1.3 Protecting employees in need of protection
Employees in need of protection include expectant mothers, people with a physical or intellectual disability, and children and adolescents under the age of 18. These employees must be specially protected from overwork and any kind of injury to body or health. Regulations governing limited working hours and possible types of occupation must be defined for these groups of employees.
1.4 Right of freedom of association and assembly
In conformity with national law, employees must be granted the right to freedom of association and assembly.
1.5 Approviate working conditions
The supplier shall ensure a safe, humane, and non-harmful work environment. This includes providing a sufficient number of clean sanitary facilities and having the company and offices cleaned regularly to guarantee a hygienic workplace.
If travel times from the company’s location to the nearest private accommodation are unreasonably long, it would be desirable if the supplier established staff accommoda- tion, which the employees may use on a voluntary basis. Such accommodation must be humane, safe, and clean.
The supplier must be aware of all operational risks and take all measures required to prevent and reduce accidents, emergencies, fires, etc.
Employees must receive the required health and safety briefings before starting to operate machinery or equipment, or taking up hazardous work as well as general briefings on emergency situations and fire safety. Such briefings must be repeated as required by local law or whenever workplaces change. Briefings must be doc- umented.
Following a risk assessment, the areas in which to wear personal protective equipment must be specified and communicated. The supplier shall provide their staff with sufficient quantities of fully functional personal protective equipment free of charge.
Devices and safety equipment must be serviced and checked for proper functioning at regular intervals. Machinery emergency stops must function properly and be readily accessible at all times.
Substitution and alternatives assessment
The utilization of hazardous substances must be kept to a minimum. Hazardous sub- stances must be subjected to a substitution and alternatives assessment. If equally suita- ble for the respective application, substances that have a lower environmental and health impact must be used.
A material safety data sheet must be presented for every chemical used. Material safety data sheets contain information on the correct handling, storage, transport, and disposal of the substance in question, as well as critical and important substance data and information on possible risks and suitable first aid measures.
Emergency planning and fire safety
The supplier shall have disaster and fire protection plans in place. Disaster and fire drills must be held regularly and documented.
The company must be equipped with fire and evacuation alarms. Depending on the type and risk evaluation of each work task, the size of the building and the number of stories, as well as the number of staff working at the location, the company must provide a sufficient number of fire extinguishers that are accessible to all employees at all times. A sufficient number of employees must be trained to use the fire safety equipment.
Emergency exits and escape routes
Emergency exits, escape routes, and assembly points are clearly marked and must not be obstructed in any way at any time. The number of emergency exits and escape routes depends on the number of staff, the size of the room and the layout of workplaces and must guarantee the safe and quick evacuation of all employees.
First aid equipment
A sufficient quantity of suitable and fully functional first aid equipment must be accessible to all employees in all stories of all buildings during all shifts. The kind and quantity of equipment depends on the specific type of risk and the company’s size. A sufficient number of qualified first aiders must be available during every shift to ensure the capacity to act in the event of an accident.
1.7 Working hours
The statutory maximum working hours must not be exceeded. The weekly working time including overtime may not exceed 60 hours. All employees are entitled to one day off per seven-day calendar week. The number of leave days paid must amount to at least the applicable statutory leave entitlement in each country. The supplier must grant their staff appropriate breaks, at least one 30-minute break per 6 working hours and an over- all 45-minute break from 9 working hours unless stricter regulations are required by local law.
All employees must be paid adequate remuneration, but no less than the statutory mini- mum wage required by local law. If no statutory minimum wage is in place in a particular country, wages must be sufficient for the employees and their families to make a living (i.e. be able to pay for accommodation, food, education, and technology). Wages have to be paid regularly and in legal tender. Using wage deductions as a disciplinary meas- ure is prohibited. The supplier must comply with any regulations on national insurance contributions.
All applicable national laws, regulations, and standards limiting and preventing environmental impact must be adhered to.
If the supplier’s operations entail the risk of soil contamination, water or air pollution, the supplier must implement adequate prevention and reduction measures.
Emissions can be defined as substances discharged by the supplier’s facilities, including air pollutants, noise, vibration, light, heat, radiation, and other forms of environmental impact, that due to their nature, extent and duration, may cause damage or severe disturbance and be of great disadvantage to people, animals, plants, soil, water, atmos- phere, and any cultural or other assets.
The supplier shall classify and analyze any emissions, including, but not limited to, emis- sions from volatile organic chemicals, aerosols, corrosives, particulates, ozone-depleting chemicals and combustion by-products generated from operations, and adequately treat them to render such emissions harmless.
The noise produced must not exceed the specified maximum permissible noise level.
2.2 Use of water
The acceptable quality and availability of water in water bodies and as groundwater is one of the basic preconditions, on which human, animal, and plant life depends. There- fore, the supplier must not compromise water quality and availability. Water must be used carefully and economically in all processes. Industrial facilities were best equipped with recirculation systems to ensure multiple use.
Wastewater is used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial, agricultural, or other activities that have changed the quality of the water.
The supplier must ensure that wastewater from business operations, manufacturing pro- cesses and sanitary facilities is subjected to adequate treatment before being discharged to the groundwater. The concentration of hazardous substances in the water, such as of salts, heavy metals and their compounds, oxidizable substances, nitrogen, phosphorus, organic halogen compounds, and other chemicals, must be so low as not to have any negative impact on human health or the ecosystem.
If the facility does not have a suitable infrastructure for wastewater treatment, the supplier must commission qualified companies with wastewater transport and treatment.
Waste shall include any substance which is discarded by the owner, or which the owner wishes to or must discard.
Hazardous waste is waste that poses a substantial or potential threat to public health and/or the environment and that has one or more of the following characteristics: flammable, oxidizing, explosive, irritant, corrosive, infectious, toxic upon contact or produc- tion of toxic gases, reprotoxic, carcinogenic, or ecotoxic.
The handling, storage, transport, and disposal of waste material must be performed by suitably qualified staff and must not have any negative impact on the air, soil and water quality nor on the health of the employees. Explosions, spontaneous ignition and any other sudden dangerous events must be prevented.
The supplier must implement measures to avoid and reduce waste.
Handling of hazardous material
Hazardous waste must be marked unambiguously and disposed of properly.
Hazardous waste may only be handled using proper personal protective equipment. Hazardous waste must be kept separate from non-hazardous waste.
Disposal and recycling
Recycling of waste must be preferred over waste disposal (on landfills for instance). The supplier separates waste material in preparation for the best possible recycling method.
Material recycling must be given preference over energetic recycling. Material recy- cling uses waste as a raw material substitute to produce a new product, whereas energetic recycling burns waste material at an incineration plant to produce energy.
2.4 Chemicals and other hazardous substances
Hazardous material includes any substances, mixtures, and products that are flammable, explosive and that cause severe harm to human health or the envi- ronment. Chemicals, but also uranium, asbestos, or welding fumes are counted as hazardous material.
The handling, storage, transport, and disposal of hazardous material must be per- formed by suitably qualified staff and must not have any negative impact on public health, ani- mals and plants, nor on the air, soil and water quality, on the atmosphere or on cultural or other assets. Explosions, spontaneous ignition and any other sudden dangerous events must be prevented.
The supplier must document the number and type of chemicals and other hazardous substances available and/or used at the plant.
Hazardous material must be stored separately from each other and in closed containers.
The floor of the storage area must be so designed as not to absorb or react with haz- ardous substances. The supplier shall use collection trays sufficiently sized to collect liquids. All storage tanks for hazardous liquids must be checked regularly to prevent leakage.
When handling substances or when engaging in processes producing toxic gases, the employees must use the required personal protective equipment provided by the supplier.
Hazardous substances must be disposed of properly. Hazardous substances that may react with each other must be disposed of separately.
Containers for chemicals and hazardous substances must be marked with safety-rel- evant information on the risk they pose. Substances must be marked according to the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).
2.5 Natural resources and raw materials
Natural resources are resources that exist without any involvement of humankind, including raw materials, environmental media, energy sources, and physical space.
The supplier must use natural resources economically and considerately, keeping the consumption of resources as low as possible.
This is to be achieved either directly at the point of creation or by processes and measures, such as an improved production and maintenance process or other operating processes, the use of alternative resources, the efficient use of resources, recycling and the re-use of resources.
Responsible sourcing of raw materials
The supplier implements measures to guarantee and improve the transparency and traceability of the raw materials used in a product along the supply chain. This aims to ensure that the raw materials used are sourced responsibly.
Special emphasis shall be placed on ore, concentrates, and metals that contain tantalum, tin, tungsten, cassiterite, coltan, and gold and that are sourced from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. These areas include, but are not limited to, mining regions that have been the scene of armed conflict, that are in a fragile post-conflict state or whose government and national security must be considered weak or non-existent, and which are charac- terized by a systematic violation of international law and human rights.
Sourcing of raw materials must not contribute to human rights abuses or the financing of armed groups. In order to meet this requirement, the supplier will exercise due diligence as to the origin and tracing of the minerals sourced in accordance with the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas and present these due diligence measures at Würth’s request.
Should the above list of critical product ingredients be extended in the future, the supplier shall implement proper due diligence measures for the added substances as well.
In order to keep ecosystems and biodiversity intact, resources must not be exploited from nature reserves.
3 ETHICAL BEHAVIOR
3.1 Fighting corruption
Würth does not tolerate any form of corruption or bribery. The supplier must ensure that no personal dependencies or obligations to customers, suppliers or business partners occur based on bribe money or any other form of illegal payment.
The supplier will neither accept nor offer any presents, invitations, or other gratuities, which can reasonably be expected to have an impact on business decisions.
Irrespective of legal consequences, the supplier will call any employees violating the above principles to account.
3.2 Fair Competition
The supplier stands in support of fair, performance-based competition and does not take part in any arrangements with other market participants that are restrictive of competition, including, but not limited to, cartels or other practices that are restrictive of competition or otherwise unfair.
3.3 Ban on money laundering and financing from illegal sources
The supplier must obtain their financial resources from legitimate sources. The sup- plier must not directly or indirectly support terrorism or organized crime, including bribery, human trafficking, drug trafficking, arms trading, etc.
3.4 Compliance with export control and tariff laws
When engaging in international commerce, the supplier shall comply with all export bans, sanctions, and embargoes.
3.5 Data protection and data security
The supplier must protect the personal data of all customers, suppliers, other business partners, and employees, complying with national and international data protection reg- ulations. Personal data must be protected from access or improper use by unauthorized third parties. Personal data must not be used to the detriment of any of the above interest groups.
The supplier must treat in the strictest confidence any corporate data, business and op- erating secrets and any other confidential information and only use such information for the supplier’s business dealings with Würth. Confidential data must be protected from unauthorized access and disclosure to colleagues not involved or any other third party as well as from deletion and unauthorized modification.
4 COMMUNICATION AND CONSEQUENCES
The supplier shall communicate Würth’s Supplier Code of Conduct and measures for its implementation to all relevant stakeholders, including, but not limited to, all employees and upstream suppliers, and take suitable measures to comply with its regulations.
4.1 Complaints procedure
The supplier must inform its employees about and grant them access to internal and/ or external tools for lodging complaints. The means for reporting white-collar crime, acts of discrimination or harassment etc. must be open to any potential victim and allow anony- mous reporting. Technical or language barriers must be eliminated.
4.2 Documents and compliance checks
All documents and papers shall be duly prepared, properly stored, and protected against unauthorized access, modification, and destruction. Any papers, docu- mentation, approvals, reports, etc. must be correct, trustworthy, and transparent. These documents must be provided to Würth upon request. The supplier shall inform Würth about any issues that do not conform to Würth’s Supplier Code of Conduct without being requested to do so.
Würth reserves the right to perform unannounced audits to verify compliance with the Supplier Code of Conduct. To that end, auditors shall be granted entry and access to all relevant areas and the required documents.
Würth’s Supplier Code of Conduct is an integral part of any contract concluded between Würth and the supplier and must be adhered to. When suspecting any breaches of the Würth Supplier Code of Conduct, the supplier must assist Würth in the clarification of the matter.
In case of a breach, Würth will take action depending on the severity of the breach. Preferably, the supplier must remedy any shortcomings immediately. However, Würth does reserve the right to claim damages and terminate the contract with the supplier for cause without prior notice.