We firmly believe that sustainable business can only be achieved by acting ethically and with integrity. Therefore, we unequivocally acknowledge and commit ourselves to our corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the associated environmental standards.
The Group Management Board and the European and Global Group Works Council have enshrined this responsibility in the Social Charter. This document forms the binding basis for social and industrial relationships throughout the Volkswagen Group. In addition, the Social Charter serves as a guideline for shaping relationships with suppliers and other business partners.
We reaffirm our commitment to key international agreements and declarations, in particular the International Bill of Human Rights and the core labor standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO). Furthermore, our business activities align with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the UN Global Compact, which form crucial pillars for our actions.
In December 2022, Volkswagen Financial Services appointed a Human Rights Officer. Markus Lemke is the contact person for all our company's stakeholders. Through a professional reporting line to the Human Rights Officer of the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Kerstin Waltenberg, he coordinates on human rights-related issues from authorities, policy-makers and the public.
His key responsibilities include monitoring the adequacy and effectiveness of risk management to ensure compliance with the requirements of the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains ("Supply Chain Due Diligence Act", abbreviated as LkSG in German) and implementing risk-based control measures.
In order to avoid human rights risks and environmental risks, the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act stipulates specific due diligence obligations that companies must adhere to. These obligations include conducting risk analyses, establishing preventive measures, taking remedial actions once legal violations have been identified, and setting up a complaints mechanism (whistleblower system). All measures must be continuously assessed for their effectiveness and documented.
Compliance with these due diligence obligations applies to both the business operations of Volkswagen Financial Services AG and its supply chain. This encompasses both direct and indirect suppliers in Germany and abroad.
We actively investigate reports of potential human rights and environmental risks and violations in our own business operations or perpetrated by direct and indirect suppliers or other business partners.
Reports can be submitted at any time to the Central Investigation Office of Volkswagen AG. This also applies to any other hints or reports of other suspected instances of abuse or malpractice that require immediate action by the company. The Investigation Office informs the relevant departments, which then process the matter accordingly. This includes taking the necessary measures to minimize or end violations and/or risks if the initial suspicion is confirmed.
Further information on the procedural principles of the Volkswagen Group's complaints mechanism can be found here.
Our understanding of the legal requirements under the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and the specific way in which we deal with them is reaffirmed by our Board of Management in the Policy Statement of Volkswagen Financial Services AG. We will continuously review this and develop it further on the basis of the insights gained.
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