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Human rights are universal. As a global healthcare company, Fresenius views the respect for human rights as an integral part of our responsibility. Medical care for patients and the well-being of our more than 190,000 employees are among the most important engagement areas of our human rights due diligence.

We are aware that respecting human rights extends beyond our own company operations and core business. We consider human rights issues when selecting and cooperating with our suppliers and business partners, in procurement, sales, and distribution. We expect them, among other requirements, to respect human rights in their value chain as well. We specify and communicate these expectations in our Code of Conduct for Business Partners. We are constantly working to increase the transparency of our supply chains. The knowledge gained by doing so helps us to ensure secure supplies while addressing human rights risks in the procurement of important raw materials and supplies.


Health is a human right

According to the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every human being has the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being. This includes adequate healthcare. As a globally active healthcare Group, Fresenius contributes to improving access to affordable, high-quality health care in many countries.


Fresenius Human Rights Statement

Fresenius is committed to respecting human rights. We underline this commitment with a Group-wide Human Rights Statement.

Our fundamental principles are:

We are committed to providing a workplace that fosters respect, along with safe and healthy working conditions. We aim to pay fair wages that meet or exceed local industry standards or local minimum wages. Our wage decisions take into consideration the relevant market conditions.1 For this, we comply with the relevant laws and regulations of the place of employment and are guided by international labor rights. We strive to pay remuneration that allows for a decent living for our employees and their families. Workplace health and safety are fundamental aspects of our business. We are committed to identifying, mitigating, and preventing occupational health and safety-related hazards and to fostering a work environment that promotes the well-being of our employees.2

Payment of a fair wage at least equal to the minimum wage established by the applicable law; guided by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions 26 and 131.

Respect for occupational health and safety obligations under the laws of the place of employment, where this creates a risk of accidents at work or work-related health hazards; guided by ILO Conventions 1, 155, and 164.

We respect freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. This encompasses the rights of our employees to choose freely whether or not to form and/or be represented by a specific collective body or a trade union in accordance with the laws of the place of employment.

Guided by ILO Conventions 87, 98, 135, and 154.

No one should be subjected to child labor, forced labor, or any form of modern slavery or slavery-like practices. We condemn and strictly stand against child labor and are committed to respecting and complying with the applicable minimum age for employment.4  We do not tolerate the use or threat of violence or any other form of coercion. We strictly forbid using, supporting, or approving exploitative or forced labor or any form of modern slavery. All employment relationships must be voluntary, and employees have the right to terminate their engagement at any time within a reasonable notice period, in line with applicable laws. Every worker should receive adequate remuneration in exchange for their work or services. Salaries shall be fair and in line with the laws of the place of employment. Wages shall not be unlawfully withheld.5

Guided by the ILO rules on the prohibition of child labor below the minimum age according to ILO Convention 138, by the prohibition of the worst forms of child labor according to ILO Convention 182 as well as by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Respect for the prohibition of forced labor, except for work and services that are in conformity with ILO Conventions 29 and 105 or with the 1966 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


We do not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment based on characteristics or attributes protected under the laws of the place of employment, which may include national or ethnic origin, skin color, social origin, health status, citizenship, disability status, sexual orientation, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, pregnancy status, political affiliation, or religious belief. Although the legally protected characteristics differ by place of employment, we fundamentally believe all individuals should be treated fairly and equally.6

Guided by ILO Conventions 111 and 159.

We are committed to our joint responsibility to protect nature as the basis of life, to use resources efficiently, and to reduce our impact on the environment as all individuals and communities have the right to reside in a clean, safe, and healthy environment.

In all our operations, we aspire to respect the rights and customs of local communities. We are committed to refraining from infringing their livelihood by damaging the soil, polluting water or air, emitting harmful or excessive noise, or using excessive amounts of water that can have adverse impacts on human well-being. We consider these aspects important as we acknowledge the intrinsic connection between environmental protection and the right to life. 

We are committed to not engage in the unlawful eviction and takeover of land, forests, or waters which secure the livelihood of people. Instead, we acknowledge that no individual or community should be deprived of their property, land, or access to land and water without proper legal justification or due process.

We do not tolerate the excessive use of force, degrading treatment, or any form of harm to life or physical well-being. Security personnel shall only behave in a preventive, respectful manner and attempt to resolve any security-related matter with non-violent means.

While we hold ourselves to a high standard, we also expect high standards of the third parties we engage with. Hence, we also expect our suppliers and other business partners to uphold human rights in accordance with the principles set out in this statement as well as outlined in the Codes of Conduct across the Fresenius Group. This includes the implementation of appropriate processes to ensure respect for human rights – also in their supply chains. Furthermore, we expect them to refrain from causing, being complicit in, or in any way contributing to the violation of these principles. Upon request, we expect our suppliers and other business partners to provide evidence how they comply with the human rights principles set out in this statement.

Our commitment is guided by the relevant topics set out by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) as well as by relevant internationally recognized human rights standards and frameworks, such as the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Labour Organization (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct as they apply to our Human Rights Statement. We are committed to complying with applicable national laws such as the German Act on Corporate Due Diligence Obligations in Supply Chains (LkSG). 

In cases where international human rights are restricted by local laws, we strive to promote the principles behind the international standards without conflicting with local laws.

Human Rights Program

Through our Human Rights Program, we establish preventive measures helping Fresenius to identify and address human rights risks in its business processes and include human rights risks in our Group-wide risk management. An important component of risk management are internal controls. Findings from the processes of the internal control system (ICS) will be incorporated into the regular review of our Human Rights Program for appropriateness and effectiveness.

Human rights program


Fresenius established a Human Rights Council to drive the information exchange on current human rights topics across all Fresenius business segments. The council´s task is to promote the further implementation and development of our human rights program across the Group. It is composed of representatives of the four business segments and Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA. The approximately 20 members of the Human Rights Council are active in various functions within the Group, including compliance, legal, sustainability, communications, procurement, human resources and medicine. The participants discuss Group-wide initiatives and present new concepts and methods.


Reporting channels

To make it as easy as possible for potentially affected people, we offer internal and external reporting systems*. Employees of the Fresenius Group as well as external stakeholders - including those in the supply chain - can submit their information via existing reporting systems or use designated email addresses to draw attention to possible human rights and environmental violations, along with others.

All information is processed by specially trained staff within a team of experts. Depending on the circumstances, it may be necessary for us to involve other specialist departments to clarify an incident.

* The whistleblowing system can be used for reports concerning Fresenius Management SE, Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA and Fresenius Digital Technology. Please address reports for Fresenius Kabi, Fresenius Helios or Fresenius Vamed to the relevant business segment.


Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA
Else-Kröner-Str. 1
61352 Bad Homburg

Whistleblowing system

Reports on possible human rights or other types of compliance violations can be reported around the clock, either anonymously or by name, via our whistleblower system*:

Phone number: +49 (0) 800 181 1338*

More infos about our grievance mechanism

* The prices of your mobile or landline contract apply