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Responsible Business

Living by our Compass

While commercial success and the achievement of targets are important, they should not be at the expense of conducting our business in an ethical way. Our dedicated programme, Live by our Compass, was launched in 2016 and forms part of our SAIL’22 strategy.

The Compass programme consists of the Code of Ethics and Group Policies, and sets out the expected standards of behaviour within the company and towards external business partners such as customers and suppliers. It aims to instil a culture of compliance across the organisation, emphasising the importance of integrity at all levels.

Our policies and accompanying manuals help guide behaviour in specific areas. You can find them here.

Responsible Sourcing

We use thousands of suppliers and take measures to work only with those who share our belief in doing business the right way. Through our supplier relationship management practices, we select those who share the high standards set out in our Supplier & Licensee Code of Conduct, working to ensure that it is understood and followed while identifying and understanding any issues and measuring their compliance.

We updated the Supplier & Licensee Code of Conduct in 2019 to take account of recent developments. Changes include new sections covering carbon emission management, water and waste management, data protection, competition and fair trade, human rights and conflicts of interest. Updates also clarify audit rights, take account of the Modern Slavery Act, and refer to climate change and water conservation in line with Together Towards ZERO. The Code applies to our suppliers’ entire supply chain.

In 2019, we carried out 197 integrated quality audits, focusing on glass, malt and cans, to ensure that suppliers are complying with our Code and other relevant quality standards.

Labour & Human Rights

Carlsberg’s Labour & Human Rights Policy defines the labour and human rights standards to which all employees in the Carlsberg Group are entitled, irrespective of the country in which they work. We endorse international Human Right’s standards, including the International Bill of Human Rights and the core ILO treaties.

The Labour & Human Rights Policy is overseen and approved by the Executive Committee. It is supported by the Labour & Human Rights Manual, which provides additional internal details, clarifications on requirements and guidance to facilitate implementation of the policy.

The Labour & Human Rights Policy applies globally to the management, employees and contract workers of all entities in the Carlsberg Group. Our expectations of our suppliers, vendors, agents and contractors are specifically addressed in our Supplier & Licensee Code of Conduct. In 2019, the Carlsberg Group undertook a global review of this code of conduct and updated the materials to reflect the changes in both our own supply chains and the global marketplace. Changes to the code include increased commitments, clarity on the scope of application and added requirements to ensure compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act.

We will be reviewing our Labour & Human Rights Policy, in order to further reinforce our commitment to respecting human rights and to preventing and mitigating human rights-related risks. This is even more important due to the COVID-19 outbreak, where our existing Policies and standards are of course still in effect.

Human rights due diligence

In addition to reviewing our Labour and Human Rights Policy, we are also reviewing our overall approach to human rights due diligence, focusing initially on identifying our salient human rights, in cooperation with Human Rights experts. Furthermore, we are committed to engaging with other local and global stakeholders in our work on labour & human rights, including the work on identifying and prioritising our salient human rights issues.

The due diligence process will focus on a number of key areas: 

  • Assessing and prioritising salient human rights risks
  • Integrating the findings around the identified risks into Carlsberg’s ways of working
  • Tracking progress on actions taken to prevent and mitigate the risks
  • Reporting progress internally and externally

Carlsberg will share further information as part of this process, and we will report on our progress in our annual Sustainability Report and on our website.

Grievance mechanisms

In general, we encourage employees who have a concern to talk in the first instance to their line manager, or alternatively to raise their concern with their HR or compliance representatives. Concerns can also be send to

If neither of these options is possible, Carlsberg has a Speak Up system that allows employees and contract workers to speak up about possible violations of human rights without fear of retaliation. The system can be accessed by telephone or online. It is operated across the business by an independent third party appointed by Carlsberg, and any issues are monitored by the Carlsberg Group Legal and Compliance function.

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