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Focus Topics – Respect for human rights

Respect for human rights:

Due diligence and sustainable practices

It is key to our corporate social responsibility to mitigate negative impacts on people and the environment stemming from our company or entities within our value chain. In our initiatives under Respect for human rights we specifically address the material issues “Economic, social & cultural rights”, “Forced labour”, “Collective bargaining & association” and “Social inclusion & responsible marketing” which have been identified in our double materiality assessment. As human rights are relevant to many of our activities, several of our material topics also contain measures to ensure respect for human rights, such as Sustainable purchasing, Occupational health and safety, Diversity, equal opportunity, inclusion and decent work and Combating corruption.

We are dedicated to upholding human rights through a proactive Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) approach. We are implementing policies, such as the Human Rights Directive, to address key topics like child labour and minerals from conflict areas. Our ongoing efforts include stakeholder engagement, risk assessments and targeted measures. We aim for transparency, regularly evaluating our HRDD approach and reporting results. Additionally, we are focused on ending the sourcing of steel from conflict-affected areas by 2025.

Impacts, risks and opportunities


As a global company, we operate in diverse environments and face various challenges that can impact human rights, particularly in our supply chain. Salient human rights topics are those that are particularly noteworthy because they have the highest risk of severe negative impact through a company’s activities or business relationships. The determination of saliency considers both the severity of the topic and its likelihood. Based on our most recent risk assessment, the salient human rights topics for Zehnder Group presenting potential negative impacts are child labour, environmental issues impacting human rights (including climate change), freedom of association and collective bargaining, living wage/income, modern slavery and forced labour (including migrant workers), occupational health and safety, working conditions (including working hours) as well as workplace discrimination and harassment. However, our products contribute to the promotion of human rights, particularly in ensuring the right to clean air and health. Our products help provide clean air, improving the health of our customers in the process, but due to the high price point at which our products are usually set, these benefits are not available to all who need them, particularly those with lower incomes and who are outside the Global North.

Risks and opportunities

Neglecting the promotion of human rights within our operations and supply chain could lead to operational challenges and ethical criticism, including reputational damage, legal and regulatory risks, supply chain disruptions, worker unrest and potential boycotts from consumers. Likewise, the promotion of human rights within our operations and supply chains both benefit our reputation and improve the reliability of our supply chain. Exploring the development of simplified and more affordable products can expand our market, and increase the availability of our products' benefits to lower-income customers.

It is an opportunity for Zehnder to impact human rights positively by implementing a strong human rights approach and by collaborating with our suppliers.

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