Human Rights

      World Environment Day  (Photo)

      In its absolute commitment to safeguarding human rights, voestalpine bases its activities on the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (EHCR). Since 2013, voestalpine has supported the UN Global Compact (UNGC) whose ten principles address labor standards, environmental protection, and the fight against corruption in addition to the promotion of human rights. The present CR Report also serves as the annual Communication on Progress (CoP) under the UNGC.

      Respecting and upholding human rights is of great importance to voestalpine. voestalpine does not tolerate child or forced labor, discrimination of any kind (also in connection with hiring and employment)—neither within the Group nor at its business partners.

      The company’s commitment to respecting and upholding human rights is enshrined in detail in the chapter of the voestalpine Code of Conduct titled “Respect and Integrity.” The obligation to uphold human rights is also firmly established in the company’s binding Code of Conduct for Business Partners.

      The formal proposal for a directive that the EU Commission presented in February 2022 regarding EU supply chain legislation aims to oblige companies to uphold human rights and comply with rules and regulations related to environmental action all along their supply chains. voestalpine is preparing intensely for compliance with these requirements.

      Human rights training for employees

      All employees of the voestalpine Group are required to complete a Human Rights e-learning course. This e-learning course will be rolled out in three modules:

      • Module 1: Fundamentals of Human Rights
      • Module 2: Human Rights in Day-to-Day Work
      • Module 3: Human Rights in the Supply Chain
      Human rights training for employees (organizational chart)

      The webinar will be available in the following languages: German and English as well as Czech, Dutch, French, Italian, Mandarin & Cantonese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish.

      Human rights training for security personnel

      voestalpine’s plant security staff largely comprises the company’s own employees who are subject to the Group’s Code of Conduct. Employees of third-party entities are subject to voestalpine’s Code of Conduct for Business Partners. Both documents mandate compliance with human rights requirements.

      voestalpine itself conducts the human rights training for its own employees; external security personnel are trained by their respective employers.

      Collective bargaining and the right to freedom of association

      About 80% of all of the voestalpine Group’s employees are in an employment relationship that is governed by a collective agreement. Every employee has the freedom and right to join unions. The workforce in all voestalpine companies may elect representatives to the works councils. The Group has both a European Works Council and a Group Works Council, both of which maintain good communications with management.

      Child labor and forced labor

      voestalpine strictly prohibits child, forced, and bonded labor. So far, no case of any such practices has been recorded anywhere in the entire Group. Nor does voestalpine tolerate any form of child, forced, and bonded labor at its suppliers and business partners. As part of the company’s investigation of the supply chain (Sustainable Supply Chain Management – SSCM), suppliers are evaluated specifically as to compliance with human rights—particularly the prohibition of child, forced, and bonded labor.

      Human trafficking and modern slavery

      Companies of the voestalpine Group that are subject to the UK Modern Slavery Act fulfill the Act’s prescribed requirements by publishing a statement to that effect. Both the voestalpine Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for Business Partners explicitly mention and expressly prohibit human trafficking and modern slavery.

      Rights of indigenous peoples

      As voestalpine operates solely in developed industrial areas, its business operations do not in any way impinge on the rights of indigenous peoples.

      UN Global Compact – The 10 Principles

      Human rights

      Principle 1: Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights; and

      Principle 2: make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses.

      Labor standards

      Principle 3: Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;

      Principle 4: the elimination of all forms of forced and bonded labor;

      Principle 5: the effective abolition of child labor; and

      Principle 6: the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

      Environmental protection

      Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges;

      Principle 8: undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility; and

      Principle 9: encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies.


      Principle 10: Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery.

      By signing the Code of Conduct for Business Partners as required, business partners undertake to respect and comply with human rights as fundamental values on the basis of the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Charter. In particular, this applies to the prohibition of child and forced labor; the equal treatment of employees; and the right to employee representation and collective bargaining.