In its Sustainability policy, the Viscofan Group undertakes a firm commitment to Human Rights, undertaking to carry out its activity in a responsible manner and to generate positive impacts on the communities in which it operates. In this regard, and faced with an unprecedented health crisis due to COVID-19, Viscofan has carried out charity work through aid to different bodies and institutions of the communities in which it is present, through the donation of sanitary and individual protection material and of contributions to organisations in the fight against hunger. In line with the United Nations Agenda 2030, Viscofan is following an international roadmap to achieve a more sustainable world in social and environmental terms, since we wish to contribute to enable these objectives to achieve all their transformative power and ensure a better world for future generations.
OUR COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Donations to NGOs to fight hunger, especially in the context of the crisis generated by COVID-19
Development of specific products to combat malnutrition.
Health and well-being
Donation of sanitary equipment and individual protection material to fight against COVID-19 to hospitals, care homes for the elderly and public bodies, in the context of a health emergency.
Decent work and economic growth
Working towards full, productive and decent employment for people with disabilities.
Promote the formation and growth of microenterprises and SMEs for the creation of decent jobs.
Support for public institutions in projects to promote local industry
The Viscofan Group sets common basic guidelines on human rights as the guiding principles in various areas of the organisation. from employee management to supplier relationship management. These guidelines can be grouped around 3 lines of action: rights in work - promotion of non-discrimination, free association of workers, integration of the disabled, rejection of child exploitation, rejection of forced labour and compliance with the minimum wage in each country, among others - fight against corruption and responsible management of the supply chain.
Promotion of the principle of non-discrimination. The Code of Conduct stipulates that “the employees of the Viscofan Group, within their geographical compass and cultural diversity, will especially abstain from using any behaviour involving discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, nationality, language, religion, ideology or any other individual, social or personal circumstances (disability, economic position, trade union membership, etc.), and they will promote work in decent conditions, preventing any type of exploitation, with special care taken to prevent child labour”.
Prohibition of forced labour. Further, Viscofan promotes work in decent conditions, as well as the prevention of forced labour and consequently, as a control and monitoring measure, this risk has been specifically included in the risk matrix of the Global Risk Committee in order to detect any violation.
Rejection of any form of child labour. As stated in the section on labour management in this report, there are no staff under the age of 17 hired at Viscofan. Likewise, the Viscofan Group requires suppliers to have a similar commitment in accordance with our Code of Ethics.
Promotion of diversity. Likewise, with regard to promoting employability among diverse people, Viscofan has 78 differently abled people among its workers - 67 men and 7 women - and has signed contracts with special employment centres - in Spain and in other countries - to carry out certain tasks that contribute to our production activity.
Site accessibility. With regard to the accessibility of people with disabilities, Viscofan does not have a global standard that regulates the accessibility of disabled people at its offices and other in the countries in which it operates.
Compliance training. CTo raise the awareness of all company employees in the importance of respect and integrity in all employment and professional relations, Viscofan has implemented the first phase of training in “regulatory compliance” for all company employees in eight languages. Training has been designed in an attractive and multiformat manner that effectively trains employees in ethical standards that must be complied with and, at the same time, empowers all employees to combat any type of conduct that attacks the dignity of people in the employment environment (sexual harassment or harassment at work, etc.) or any corrupt procedures within the company (fraud, bribery, etc.).
Salaries above the minimum wage of each country. The minimum remuneration of employees is considered in accordance with the salary level and legal rules of each country where Viscofan carries out its activities. Given the training needs, the characteristics of the production process, and the internal policies of the Viscofan Group that respect the current legislation in each country, the minimum remuneration of the workforce is above the minimum wage established in the country.
The Anti-Corruption Policy also seeks to minimise the risk of acts of corruption, bribery, extortion and other acts of this nature that may undermine human rights and be an obstacle to sustainable development affecting the most unprotected societies. Furthermore, this fight against corruption envisaged by our policy sets specific criteria with regard to donations and sponsorship, establishing the prohibition on using them “to conceal undue payments” or “to make donations to political parties or entities linked thereto”.
Also, in line with the target of extending responsible management to the supply chain, Viscofan requests all its suppliers to commit to the defence of human rights, in line with United Nations guidelines. Viscofan SA forms part of Sedex, the largest collaborative platform for the responsible sharing of supply chain data.
The Viscofan Group demonstrates its support and contribution to the dissemination and respect of human rights through three channels:
Since 2015 Viscofan has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact, an initiative of the UN. Viscofan was the first of the companies in its sector to sign it, motivated by its desire to contribute to the well-being of people and promote the economic, environmental and social development of the communities in which it is present.
The company’s Human Rights Policy is based on the principles of: universality, progressivity, integrity and complementarity, inalienability, transnationality and international protection. Through this policy, the Viscofan Group undertakes to respect human rights in all its activities, anywhere in the world
In its Code of Conduct, Viscofan establishes that all Group employees, within their scope of action, must contribute to respecting and protecting human rights, especially child exploitation, and must avoid any conduct detected on the job which is contrary to their tenets.
To achieve these human rights objectives, Viscofan has an specific Ethics and Regulatory Compliance Committee that is responsible for opening, on its own account or at the request of a third party, the investigation of any situation that may give rise to a risk for the Group, as a result of a breach of the internal regulations or any other circumstance. Accordingly, the employees and any person with a legitimate interest can access the Complaints Channel on Viscofan’s web page under the Corporate Governance section, on the employee’s Intranet to notify any sign of conduct that they deem to be a possible risk, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to the Ethics Committee at Viscofan’s central offices in Navarre. No cases of human rights violations were reported in 2020 and, specifically, nor has any case of forced labour or child exploitation been registered through the complaints channel.
Further, with a view to strengthening this defence and protection of human rights, this risk has been specifically included by the Global Risk Committee in its risk matrix so as to detect any breach thereof.
Also, Viscofan understands that training in human rights is a fundamental tool for raising employees’ awareness in this area. In 2020, 4,056 hours were devoted to human rights training (compared to 2,163 hours the previous year).
|% over total hours of training||4.4%||2.6%||3.8%||1.8%||1.4%||1.7%|
We have a long history of collaboration with institutions or research centres in different countries, which ratifies the historical importance of SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals) at the company. In particular, Viscofan is part of and promotes various associations and groups seeking to find ways of collaboration in the industry to increase its contribution to society. These institutions include:
Viscofan also collaborates with different universities and research centres:
The principal issues on which these collaborations are based are: food safety, analysis and development of new materials, process and food industry engineering, advanced physical and chemical analysis, basic research on materials and alternative uses and other packaging systems.
Moreover, Viscofan is importantly supported by the different administrations of the countries where it develops R&D activities, for example: the Centre for Industrial Technical Development (CDTI) and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) in Spain, the Federal Ministry of Education Research in Germany, the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) in Mexico and the Institute of Technological Research (IPT) in Brazil. Likewise, two regenerative biomedicine research consortiums have been approved during 2020– ARDAT and TriAnkle - in which Viscofan BioEngineering participates and leads, respectively, together with other leading bodies and public-private companies. The ARDAT consortium, backed by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), brings together 34 expert organisations throughout the whole of Europe and the USA, with the shared objective of helping to standardise and accelerate the development of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) and contributing to ensuring that these transforming treatments reach patients as soon as possible. Also, the research consortium TriAnkle, led by Viscofan, will permit the 3D manufacture of personalised implants based on collagen and gelatine to regenerate injured tendons and cartilage, representing an innovative technique that will enable a greater and more rapid recovery of tissue.
As a result of some of these relationships, common projects are arising with which it collaborates and for which financial support has been received through grants and loans from official bodies. Viscofan is aware of the social impact its activity generates: from direct or indirect employment generated by its implementations, to the financial benefit that it obtains from its activities at each of the different companies at which it operates (note 7.1 of Viscofan S.A.’s financial statements) for which it contributes through the corresponding taxes. In 2020, income tax payments amounted to €35.9 million as a result of the Group’s business activities in different countries. There is more information about taxes in note 18 of the consolidated report. There is information about capital grants in note 13 of the consolidated annual accounts.
Likewise, at 31 December, the financial statements included loans with the CDTI and the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness in Spain, amounting to €13 million, and a loan from COFIDES (Spanish Development Finance Company) for €0.8 million (note 16 to the consolidated financial statements).
The human rights principles and standards set out in the Agenda 2030 para el Desarrollo Sostenible encompass a wide range of social, economic and environmental objectives. Among them, Viscofan has identified the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) where the company can generate the greatest positive impact, and to do so it has taken into account both the nature of its business activity and the corporate mission and vision.
The goals identified by the company as a priority are the following:
Throughout 2020, and due to the healthcare emergency throughout the world generated by COVID-19, the company has contributed to fighting against the pandemic by making contributions of sanitary and individual protection equipment to hospitals, health centres, care homes for the elderly and other public bodies, during the critical moments of the pandemic when there was a great scarcity of these materials to combat the virus, thereby contributing to SDG 3. Good health and well-being. Also, donations were made to various NGOs to fight against hunger and poverty, whose task in the communities most affected by the economic crisis as a result of the pandemic has been and continues to be essential.
These initiatives were carried out in various countries in which Viscofan has its own presence, thereby contributing to the achievement of these five priority SDGs and other closely related ones and, as a whole, the amount earmarked thereto is €426 thousand.
Hereafter, are some of the initiatives that most stand out by country:
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