Business Ethics

We follow strict principles that are set by our company values. We are convinced that profitable business activities go hand in hand with ethical standards.

More than 350 years of ethical conduct

Responsibility is one of our six company values – along with courage, achievement, respect, integrity, and transparency. We live and breathe these core values not just within our company, but also in how we interact with our customers and business partners.

We comply with applicable laws and regulations and are committed to international guidelines. Our products and technologies are aimed at improving people’s lives. When developing them, we follow strict guidelines concerning quality and product safety. 

In our work, we encounter various bioethical and digital ethics topics and issues, including stem cell use, the use of genetically modified microorganisms, use of health data, and the potential impact of new genome editing techniques. We are strongly committed to conduct our research in an ethical manner and develop frameworks that meet rigorous ethical standards.

As an international company, we have a duty to respect human rights worldwide within our sphere of influence and to ensure that they are not compromised by our business activities. Of course, this also applies to our supply chain. 

Compliance management

Compliance – responsible entrepreneurship in accordance with the law – is one of our primary considerations worldwide. For us, however, there is more to compliance than simply adhering to regulatory provisions. We consistently aspire to act in accordance with the principles defined in our values and believe that profitability should go hand in hand with the highest ethical standards. We also support responsible governance initiatives to go above and beyond of today's requirements. This ambition underlies our corporate “Mobilize for Growth” strategy.

Strategy and Values

Transparency in healthcare

The treatments and solutions offered by our Healthcare business sector improve the lives of millions of people. The assistance that doctors, medical institutions and patient organizations provide for our research and development activities is very valuable to us. That is why we comply with clear and transparent standards when supporting partner organizations.

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Ethics – clear principles!

It is our objective to comply with the highest ethical principles and standards. As an innovative company, we cannot always simply fall back on existing standards for new technologies and developments. Instead, we need to define standards. For this reason, we set up the our Ethics Advisory Panel for Science and Technology in 2011 and the Digital Ethics Advisory Panel in 2019. 

Especially technological advances based on the collection of data and their processing by algorithmic systems are confronting us with significant societal change. People’s trust is crucial if we are to seize the opportunities offered by digital progress and minimize the risks. Responsible entrepreneurial action increasingly calls for ethical standards and requires us to take positions on critical issues in the nascent field of digital ethics. We have therefore developed a Code of Digital Ethics – CoDE: five core principles that guide our work.

Read more about our approach to ethical conduct and our advisory panels

Respect Human Rights

As an international company, we have a responsibility to observe human rights globally. We are committed to ensuring that no violations of human rights occur at our Group companies, suppliers or business partners, and that efforts are made to improve the respective circumstances in the event that human rights violations are identified. To achieve this goal, we orient towards the statutory requirements (e.g. German Act on Corporate Due Diligence in Supply Chains) as well as international standards.

Our commitment to observing human rights is enshrined in our Human Rights Charter. It is oriented toward the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights and defines the expectations that we set for ourselves and our business partners. In Australia and the United Kingdom, we additionally report on the steps and measures with which we want to prevent forced labor and human trafficking in accordance with the Australia Modern Slavery Act as well as the UK Modern Slavery Act.

We want to gain knowledge of risks and violations relating to human rights and environmental aspects at the earliest possible stage in order to take effective preventive and remedial measures and avert possible harm to the persons affected, our employees and society. If you have information about corresponding improprieties with respect to our activities or those of our suppliers, please contact us, for example via our compliance hotline. Additional complaint channels and information about human rights and environmental reports and complaints can be found in our Rules of Procedure.

Our human rights due diligence process

Stronger together with our partners

UN Global Compact UN Global Compact
UN Global Compact
We are a UN Global Compact participant. We commit ourselves to ten principles based on UN conventions regarding human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption. At the same time, the UN Global Compact encourages the signatories to engage in propagating the principles.
responsible-care-logo responsible-care-logo
Responsible Care
As a signatory to the Responsible Care initiative of the chemical industry, we do more than required by law and have adopted binding standards for product responsibility, environmental protection, health and safety.
TfS-logo TfS-logo
Together for Sustainability
Go to website Sustainability Report
Together for Sustainability
The Together for Sustainability (TfS) initiative aims to systematically assess and improve sustainability sourcing practices across the globe. The evaluation results can be used by TfS member companies who abide by all restrictions agreed upon within competition law.
ChemieHoch3-EN-logo ChemieHoch3-EN-logo
We are also a member of the Chemie3 initiative. The partners of this unique alliance aim to make sustainability a core part of the chemical industry's guiding principles and to jointly drive the sector's position within the German economy as a key contributor to sustainable development.
Kigali Declaration 100 Logo Kigali Declaration 100 Logo
Kigali Declaration on NTDs
Go to roadmap Sustainability Report
Kigali Declaration on NTDs
The Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) is a multi-stakeholder partnership comprised of pharmaceutical companies, donor groups, implementing partners, governments and other supportive partners committed to attaining the 2030 NTD roadmap of the World Health Organization (WHO).
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative
Go to Website
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative

The PSCI was formed as a healthcare non-profit business membership organization in 2006 in the United States. Its purpose is to bring together members to establish and promote responsible supply chain practices, human rights and environmental sustainability.

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