Human rights

We are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights wherever we do business. Please read on to find out more about our policies in this important area.

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We are committed to respecting internationally recognised human rights wherever we do business.

In our Code we say that this means “we strive to prevent, mitigate, and remedy adverse impacts that our business activities or business relationships may have on the human rights of our colleagues, patients, workers in our supply chain and those who live in the communities in which we operate”. Our Human Rights Position Statement (PDF - 196.7kb) lays out our commitment to the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core labour standards set out by the International Labour Organisation.

In alignment with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (PDF - 1.08MB), we have conducted a corporate-level human rights risk assessment to ensure we are focusing efforts where our business has the greatest potential to impact people and identify anybody at risk of human rights issues. Our risk assessment considered our employees, patients, clinical trial participants, third-party contracted labour, and local communities where we operate. The six salient human rights risk areas below were identified:

We leverage our scientific expertise, partnerships and our global reach to improve the quality of life for patients around the world. This includes researching treatments and vaccines for neglected diseases, striving to make our medicines and vaccines accessible to everyone who needs them and investing in strengthening healthcare systems.

Read more about our work to improve health globally



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We are committed to ensuring that the human rights of people taking part in our clinical research are respected in all the countries in which we operate. This includes obtaining individuals’ free consent to participate, protecting their health and safety and their right to privacy. We are also committed to providing greater access to data from our clinical research to advance scientific knowledge.

Read more about our trials

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Patient safety is a fundamental principle for GSK. We have extensive controls in place designed to detect, evaluate and communicate benefits, risks and any potential safety concerns about our products throughout their development and once they are in use.

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We are committed to respecting the right of our employees to fair conditions of work and will not tolerate any behaviour that affects an employee’s dignity at work. As an employer we are:

  • committed to providing a fair salary and good conditions of employment
  • committed to providing a healthy, safe and secure workplace for all employees and contractors
  • committed to exercising high standards of integrity in dealing with and protecting the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of employees
  • committed to prohibit discrimination at work and to promoting diversity and inclusion
  • committed to promoting the personal development and dignity of every individual employee
  • respect the right of employees to join an independent trade union, the right to collectively bargain, and of freedom of association
  • committed to eradicate all forms of forced labour and prohibit all forms of slavery and exploitative child labour and will work with appropriate partners to address this problem responsibly wherever we encounter it.

We expect the third parties we work with to share this commitment and operate in a responsible way.

Read more in our Modern Slavery Act statement (PDF - 140KB)

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We have committed to a net zero, nature positive, healthier planet with ambitious goals set for 2030 and 2045. We recognise that this will contribute to protecting human health, access to water and sanitation, property and livelihoods and our environment now and in the future. We have robust controls in our own manufacturing and make clear our expectations of compliance with our standards to the third parties we work with.

Read more on our work to reduce our environmental impact

We are committed to respecting the right of our employees to safe and healthy working conditions. Preventing injuries and illnesses at work is fundamental to achieving this.

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We exercise high standards of integrity in dealing with the personal information of our employees, patients, clinical research participants, healthcare providers and other stakeholders.

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Our GSK Leadership Team and the Risk Oversight & Compliance Council, the most senior leaders in our business, provide oversight of our human rights issues. They are supported by a Human Rights Steering Group. Additional board-level oversight is provided by the Corporate Responsibility Committee.

External engagement

We partner with other companies and organisations to increase the positive impact we have on society. Key collaborations include the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) where we contribute to a number of projects to build members’ and suppliers’ capabilities to address human rights; and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) where we work with other pharmaceutical companies to understand human rights.

Grievance mechanisms

We want to maintain an open environment where people feel confident to raise concerns about possible breaches of our Code or suspected violations of country laws and regulations. Anyone within or outside GSK can raise issues or speak to an independent third party through our Speak Up facility,available in 49 languages, confidentially or anonymously if they prefer. GSK is committed to promptly investigating all reports of unethical, illegal or inappropriate activity.

Codes and policies

Our Code is the foundation of our company policies. It sets out the core standards and ethical behaviours that employees and complementary workers should apply in their daily work and embeds respect for human rights and labour rights across the business. The Code is underpinned by several policies and standard operating procedures that help to uphold human rights.

Our Human Rights Policy sets out our commitment to conduct business with respect for international human rights standards.

Our Global Employment Guidelines and Working with Third Parties Policy set out the minimum standards for our own employment practices and those expected of our third party partners. They are based on international standards, including the International Labour Organization core conventions, and prohibit any form of forced labour or child labour. They also make clear our expectation that no worker should pay for a job.

Our Standard Operating Procedure for Safeguarding and Non-retaliation defines our approach to protecting and supporting individuals who work for GSK and report concerns of significant misconduct in good faith (including exploitative labour practices).

Other relevant policies include those on Equal and Inclusive Treatment of Employees, Pre-employment Screening, Conflict Minerals, Deforestation-Free Sourcing and Anti-bribery and Corruption.