The Zurich Airport Group attaches importance to upholding human rights and expects its business partners and suppliers to meet minimum social standards.
As one of the signatories to the UN Global Compact, the company has undertaken to protect human rights and advocate for them toward third parties as well. It focuses on issues such as child labour, forced labour, health and safety, freedom of assembly and the right to collective bargaining, the right to property, and discrimination.
Flughafen Zürich AG predominantly conducts its business activities in Switzerland where human rights are enshrined in the constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) applies. There are effective mechanisms in place both in government administration and in the courts that are open to anyone to enforce the observance of human rights in Switzerland. Flughafen Zürich AG deems the risk of human rights violations within its own sphere of influence in Switzerland to be low.
However, the situation is more delicate in other countries where it is a majority shareholder in companies. Although human rights are likewise protected by laws in these countries, Flughafen Zürich AG pays particular attention to upholding human rights in Brazil, Chile and India to avoid becoming complicit in any violations there.
The Code of Conduct of the Zurich Airport Group is the core document that prescribes certain fundamental codes of behaviour, including upholding the human rights of employees. A management system to prevent child labour is now likewise being set up, which will include risk evaluation and a duty of care. The rollout of this is scheduled to begin in 2023.
At Zurich Airport the following matters are relevant in the context of human rights:
- Under the terms of the operating licence for Zurich Airport, a right of expropriation exists in connection with noise exposure. This follows a legally defined procedure and obliges Flughafen Zürich AG to pay compensation in the event of a formal expropriation (see Noise compensation (formal expropriations) in the Noise section and Business ethics for further details).
- As a sector company, Flughafen Zürich AG is obliged to procure goods and services in accordance with public procurement rules (see Regional value creation, Anti-corruption and Fair supply chains for further information). Suppliers are obliged to offer Swiss working conditions and comply with occupational health and safety regulations, to follow the notification procedures and work permit rules for employees, and to offer men and women equal pay. For services provided outside Switzerland, the ILO core conventions must be observed. These obligations must also be imposed on any subcontractors. If these obligations are not met, the contract may be revoked and the supplier barred from participating in tenders. During the year under review no instances of abuse were reported. Consequently, there were no cases where non-compliance by a contracting party led to exclusion (see Compliance management).
The subsidiaries in Latin America and India have established processes designed to ensure that human rights are observed. Supplier contracts for the airports in Brazil also include a provision binding the supplier to uphold human rights. In India, companies signing licence, construction and supply agreements are obliged to provide regular reports on their adherence to the UNGC's ten principles.