Human rights

The Zurich Airport Group exercises due diligence in relation to human rights and has established optimal processes in its value chain to prevent the infringement of human rights and child labour.


As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Zurich Airport Ltd. has undertaken to protect and advocate for human rights toward third parties. This means that the company is required not only to uphold human rights itself, but also to require this from its business partners and other parties directly linked to its business activities.

Zurich Airport Ltd. predominantly conducts its business in Switzerland where human rights are enshrined in the constitution and where the European Convention on Human Rights also applies. Effective mechanisms, both in government administration and in the courts, are in place to enable anyone to enforce the observance of human rights in Switzerland. Zurich Airport Ltd. therefore deems the risk of human rights violations at its base in Switzerland to be low.

In other countries where Zurich Airport Ltd. is a majority shareholder in subsidiaries, the situation is more delicate, however. Although human rights are likewise protected by laws in these countries, the company pays particular attention to upholding human rights in Brazil, Chile and India to avoid becoming complicit in any violations there.


Following new legislation on non-financial reporting and regulations on transparency and due diligence with respect to child labour that entered into force in Switzerland in 2023, Zurich Airport Ltd. undertook extensive work during the reporting period to extend previous instruments to prevent child labour in order to meet the required standard of due diligence. It revised its declaration on human rights, which forms part of the Code of Conduct, to align with the requirements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and with further rules on human rights and labour rights published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) which are mentioned in the legislation.

During the year under review it initiated a comprehensive analysis to determine the human rights risks for the Zurich Airport Group. It examined the companyʼs entire value chain to ensure that all its activities are taken into account. It adopted a risk-based approach, with more in-depth analysis where the risk of violations is greatest. In the company itself, there are no substantiated indications of violations of human rights. Zurich Airport Ltd. is aware, however, that infringements might occur in its upstream and downstream value chain, especially in relation to foreign business. The company is therefore working to introduce more extensive due diligence.

One fundamental element for preventing child labour is contractually obliging business partners to comply with occupational health and safety rights in accordance with existing legislation and international rules banning forced and child labour. At the Zurich site, this is done by including contractual clauses to this effect or, in the case of public procurement, by requiring a self-declaration. This is also taken into account at our majority-owned subsidiaries abroad, although the specific form this takes is different in each individual country. The contracts for the majority-owned subsidiaries in Brazil also include clauses designed to prevent forced and child labour. Similar clauses will also be included in all contracts in Chile as of 2024. At Noida in India, contractual clauses already require companies awarded concession contracts to comply with the ten principles of the UN Global Compact and to report annually on how they are fulfilling their obligations.

Risk-based procurement measures are used to ensure that human rights are upheld, as well as social, environmental and ethical standards. In the case of sensitive sectors or products, evidence of conformity is required in the form of certificates and adherence to international standards. It is planned to further enhance due diligence efforts in the area of procurement.

At the largest airport in the Group, Zurich Airport, the following are especially relevant in the context of human rights:

  • Under the terms of the operating licence for the Zurich site, a right of expropriation exists in connection with noise exposure. This follows a legally defined procedure and obliges Zurich Airport Ltd. 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 enterprise, in Switzerland, Zurich Airport Ltd. is obliged to procure goods and services in accordance with public procurement rules (see Regional value creation and Anti-corruption 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 core conventions of the ILO 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).