MAN Truck & Bus


MAN focusing on human rights

MAN is prioritising compliance with human rights throughout the company as a central pillar of its sustainability strategy. In addition to existing activities, further measures are planned for the coming months, such as the publication of a policy statement on human rights.

The great responsibility that companies bear for human rights along their supply and value-adding chains has long been a concern at MAN. It is a duty of care to which both its own workforce and those of its suppliers are bound. MAN has laid down the rules for cooperation in the workplace in its Code of Conduct, which, among other things, also sets out how it intends to combat discrimination, all forms of child or forced labour and human trafficking. In addition, MAN's Code of Conduct for suppliers and business partners requires them to comply with minimum standards. 


The publication of a policy statement for business and human rights (BHR) is planned for early 2022. “This BHR Commitment brings together the principles that apply to us and once again explicitly highlights how important the protection of human rights is to MAN,” says Andreas Ansel, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC). In parallel, Ansel and his team are setting up a BHR Compliance Management System in coordination with TRATON and the other TRATON brands. The aim is to network the company-wide efforts to protect human rights more closely. "The previous distribution of tasks will not be affected by this. Procurement will continue to be responsible for sustainability issues relating to suppliers, and the HR department will be responsible for issues relating to working hours and working conditions," explains the Head of GRC. "The Compliance Management System rather spans an umbrella over all activities and strengthens communication between the departments. We have already started this in 2021 and will intensify the exchange in 2022. In addition to this coordinating role, however, the Compliance department will also develop and implement measures on its own responsibility, for example training courses for employees or conducting a risk analysis."

Growing acceptance of S-Rating

MAN is a globally active company and is so able to bring its full weight to bear on human-rights issues in the field of procurement. The Sustainability Rating (S-Rating) that was launched in November 2019 plays a decisive role in its efforts towards this end. The S-Rating assesses suppliers, including subcontractors, service providers, and other providers, in terms of their sustainability, both in the area of compliance and in the area of environment/social issues. Companies with which MAN places orders that are worth more than €50,000 must possess positive S-Ratings.

More than 2,000 suppliers currently meet this criterion – this progress was achieved through the support of the procurement sustainability team. “The team’s dedicated qualification offensives and the intensive exchanges with suppliers have helped raise awareness of the issue at our partner companies,” says Thomas Wimmer, Head of Risk-Management & Purchasing Sustainability.

The sustainability team in procurement repeatedly faces the challenge of preventing supply problems that may result from negative S-Ratings. “We’ve managed to prevent bottlenecks to date by entering into discussions with the respective suppliers and offering them intensive training. For example, we have provided guidance to some on the basics of a code of conduct,” reports Thomas Pfister, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at MAN Truck & Bus.

Special commitment for risk commodities

MAN has joined the VW Group in concentrating more intensively on the procurement of raw materials to reinforce sustainability and human rights in their own supply chains. VW has bundled its cross-brand activities in a working group that is overseeing responsible raw materials procurement and that focuses on a total of 16 types of raw materials that are exposed to corresponding risks.

MAN recently assumed Group-wide responsibility for activities relating to copper as a raw material.. It has been the group leader in the field of natural rubber for some time together with the Volkswagen brand. New developments have taken place here: Both brands have represented the entire VW Group in an industry initiative – the Global Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber (GPSNR) – since the middle of 2021. “Within GPSNR, we are developing, among other things, a reporting standard related to the risk management of natural rubber supply chains, to which all members commit. In addition to sustainable forestry, the commitment to human rights and anti-corruption, among other things, is crucial,” explains Thomas Pfister.

MAN has also joined the ‘Shared Responsibility’ working group within the GPSNR. The aim here is to set sustainable and human-rights-compliant standards for supply chains and to distribute the sustainability effort fairly among all those involved. “The effort and the costs that are associated with transparent supply chains should not have to be borne by small farmers,” says Thomas Pfister. “We want to utilise joint resources to advance projects that underpin sustainability and human rights.”

Human rights abuses are deal-breakers

MAN recently responded to human rights violations in Myanmar and Afghanistan. All sales activities to the countries in question have been suspended until further notice. "In addition, we have asked our contractual partners to do the same," says Andreas Ansel. "An additional contractual clause has been agreed, according to which sales activities to the governments concerned are inadmissible. Anyone who does not comply will lose MAN as a customer."

Ambassadors for sustainable action

The issue of sustainability will significantly impact business success across the board in future. Further training for suppliers is crucial to the development of sustainable procurement relationships.

We want to use joint resources to drive forward projects that strengthen sustainability and human rights.

Thomas Pfister
Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at MAN Truck & Bus

But the competence profile for sustainability is also being enhanced on an ongoing basis within MAN’s procurement staff. “We receive regular training in compliance and sustainability,” says Thomas Pfister. “The question of how to demand sustainability standards, on the one hand, while simultaneously reducing costs, on the other, plays a particular role here. The latter is naturally decisive to procurement.” But the BSV expert says he’s certain that it no longer pays to think purely in terms of cost: “Sustainability will be a competitive advantage in the future. Customers and stakeholders are already increasingly demanding it.”

MAN has also established the ‘Green Lions Ambassador Programme’ to further raise awareness of sustainability in procurement. It was launched in October 2021. One colleague from each of the seven departments has signed up to be a Green Lion for the programme. “They will meet regularly, discuss issues, and then disseminate information and tips on topics such as S-rating to their teams, as well as implement their own procurement initiatives,” explains Thomas Pfister.

More than a ‘feel good’ topic

Awareness is also being continuously raised throughout the remainder of the company. “Colleagues occasionally tell me that MAN is not sufficiently active in the field of human rights. That’s actually not true. A great deal is being done in this regard within the company as well as the VW Group. But the process will, of course, never be concluded,” says Andreas Ansel. “Sustainability and human rights is not simply a ‘feel-good’ issue for MAN. Our company and its workforce bears a social responsibility that is taken very seriously and that will help determine the success of our future business.”

Text   Susanne Theisen
Photos   Getty Images

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