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Back Declaration of principle on social responsibility and human rights

As a member of United Nations Global Compact, Kuehne+Nagel has made a commitment to uphold human rights, to respect the rights of employees and their representatives and to protect the environment.

This declaration of our commitment is explicitly laid out and published as part of the Kuehne+Nagel "Human Rights Policy", and is therefore also applicable without exception to Kuehne+Nagel (AG & Co.) KG and group companies.

Kuehne+Nagel has made a commitment to prevent, end and minimise any negative impact on compliance with human rights within our global business operations. This is why we asked our suppliers and subcontractors to make a commitment to comply with the "Supplier Code of Conduct" and to maintain its compliance.

Ensuring respect for human rights and social responsibility

It is our firmly-held belief that social responsibility is an important factor for the long-term success of our organisation. The same is true for our shareholders, suppliers, partners and customers, as well as our employees and social partners. In order to make an active contribution to social peace and global prosperity, as well as fulfil this responsibility, we need to be—and remain—competitive. Taking responsibility for sustainability along both domestic and international supply chains is part of our corporate culture. We do this by working closely with our customers and partners in designing and implementing global sustainable logistics and transport solutions. 

We provide information to our suppliers about the goals of our Human Rights Policy and their legal obligations arising from the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act. We also monitor compliance.

Risk assessment

Evaluating the initial risk analyses on human rights and environmental risks at Kuehne+Nagel (AG & Co.) KG was a collaborative effort. Experts in supplier management and control from business and function areas, as well as contributors from relevant central offices, were among the parties that played a key role. There was also close involvement from the management team. Taking into account our extensive network with transport companies, logistics partners, personnel service providers and strategic procurement partners, we were able to focus on specific countries— including some outside the EU (although these only constitute a small proportion of the supplier portfolio overall). No specific, concrete risks have been identified thus far.

Prevention and follow-up

Our risk analyses and assessments take place in our supply management system, which has been in operation for many years. If a supplier or partner does not have approval in the system, or lacks the appropriate authentication, they are not considered for operational use. To ensure we fulfil our corporate due diligence obligations more robustly in the future, we have revised the human rights and environmental criteria that form part of the supplier review. The system is then amended accordingly.

The cross-functional and cross-business unit network of experts will continue to perform regular risk analyses and assessments. Our Human Rights Officer, who reports to the Chair of the German Executive Board, coordinates these measures. We therefore ensure that the prevention or ending of human rights violations and environmental risks—as well as the implementation of preventive or remedial measures—can be coordinated with and supported by the Executive Board.

Should any risks of human rights violations, environmental risks, or potential violations of laws be suspected, identified or reported, the management system shall guarantee appropriate remedial measures are developed, coordinated and followed-up on until any risks have been decisively eliminated. The same applies for any concerns over integrity arising in any form and if there are violations of our Code of Conduct for Suppliers.
Within the contractual framework, we reserve the right to check on compliance. Should there be any violations, consequences that may include legal steps or even lead to the termination of the business relationship will be implemented. The "Confidential Reporting Hotline" also provides support in this respect. The procedure to submitting a complaint or documenting information is anonymous for both internal and external persons. A strict management process is in place to guarantee the follow-up of any tips and reports provided through this mechanism, including the involvement of compliance experts. At the same time, the strict anonymity of the Reporting Hotline provides protection to whistle blowers.

If any specific risks are discovered or suspected regarding individual suppliers, we will carry out an in-depth supplier due diligence process.

Checks and reporting

We have decided to carry out annual risk analyses and assessments in order to check that the measures in place are appropriate and adjust them if necessary. We critically and regularly scrutinise both the quality of and the process for performing the risk analyses. This results in potential improvement and ensures any anomalies are all dealt with at management level.

Reporting is carried out in accordance with legal requirements.


The above-mentioned measures and processes are shared with the workforce via internal company channels and especially with the responsible employees via their respective departments. Furthermore, training sessions are developed and rolled out so that responsible employees can become more familiar with the regulations and processes.

Risk management

Our suppliers are obligated to respect internationally recognised human rights. This clause is represented in contractual agreements agreed upon by all involved parties as well as the Code of Conduct for Suppliers.

Our goal is to set and share these requirements within the framework of our existing supplier on-boarding and evaluation processes to ensure they are guaranteed for all suppliers. As part of this process and based on the above-mentioned binding principles—particularly requirements related to good working conditions—we have defined how to comply with human rights, environmental protection and safety, business ethics, minimum wages, data protection and compliance.

Implementation of this declaration of principle

The German management team at Kuehne+Nagel (AG & Co.) KG is responsible for the implementation of this declaration of principle.

By appointing a Human Rights Officer, we are able to meet our extended responsibility and have started to highlight and analyse human rights and environmental risks within our supplier and partner networks, as well as including this as an integral part of our everyday work.