Guidelines for ethical tradings

Bergen Group shall contribute to ensuring and promoting decent working and environmental conditions in our supplier chains.

Bergen Group’s guidelines for ethical trading are based on central UN and ILO conventions and documents. Bergen Group’s guidelines set out the minimum not the maximum standards. National legislation must be complied with. Where the guidelines and national legislation or regulations cover the same topics, the highest standard shall apply.  All Bergen Group’s suppliers are expected to comply with these guidelines.

1. Forced labour / slave labour (ILO Conventions 29 and 105)

1.1 There shall be no form of forced labour, slave labour or involuntary labour.

1.2 Workers shall not be required to lodge deposits or their identity papers with their employer and shall be free to leave their employer after giving reasonable notice.

2. Right to organise and collective bargaining (ILO Conventions 87, 98 and 135 and 154)

2.1 Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.

2.2 Workers’ representatives shall not be discriminated against and shall have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace. 

2.3 Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer shall facilitate, and not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.

3.  Child labour (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ILO Conventions 138, 182 and 79, ILO Recommendation 146)

3.1 Children and young people under the age of 18 years shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.

3.2 Children under the age of 15 years (14 or 16 years  in certain countries) shall not carry out work that can be detrimental to their education.

3.3 The recruitment of new child workers in violation of the above-mentioned conventions is unacceptable. If such child labour already takes place, endeavours shall be made to phase it out as soon as possible. At the same time, steps shall be taken to provide the children with educational opportunities and support until such time as the child is no longer of school age.

4.  Discrimination (ILO Conventions 100 and 111, and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)

4.1 No form of discrimination shall take place in the workplace on grounds of ethnicity, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, trade union membership or political affiliation.

4.2 Protection shall be established against sexual harassment, threatening, insulting or exploitative behaviour and against discrimination or dismissal on unfair grounds, for example marriage, pregnancy, parenthood or status as HIV-infected.  

5. Brutal treatment

5.1 Physical maltreatment or punishment, or threats of physical maltreatment must be prohibited. The same applies to sexual or other abuse, and different forms of humiliation.  

6. Occupational safety and health (ILO Convention 155 and Recommendation 164)

6.1 Endeavours shall be made to ensure that workers have a safe and healthy working environment. Necessary measures must be implemented to prevent and minimise accidents and harm to health as a result of, or in connection with, conditions in the workplace.

6.2 Workers shall receive regular, documented training in occupational health and safety. Health and safety training shall be provided for new employees.

6.3 Workers shall have access to clean sanitary facilities and clean drinking water. If relevant, the employer shall also ensure access to facilities for the safe storage of food.

6.4 If the employer provides accommodation, it must be clean, safe and adequately ventilated and have access to clean sanitary facilities and clean drinking water.

7. Wages (ILO Convention 131)

7.1 Workers’ wages must at least be on a par with national minimum pay provisions or the industry’s benchmark standard, and they must always be sufficient to cover fundamental needs.

7.2 Wage conditions and the payment of wages shall be agreed in writing before work begins. The agreement must be understandable to the worker.

7.3 Deductions from wages as a disciplinary sanction are not permitted.

8. Working hours (ILO Conventions 1 and 14)

8.1 Working hours must be in accordance with national legislation or the industry’s standard, and they must not exceed working hours that comply with applicable international conventions. It is recommended that the number of working hours per week should not exceed 48 (8 hours per day).

8.2 Workers shall have at least one day off a week.

8.3 Overtime shall be limited. A maximum of 12 hours per week is recommended.

8.4 Workers shall always be paid an overtime supplement that, as a minimum, is in accordance with applicable legislation.

9. Regular employment

9.1 Obligations to workers pursuant to international conventions and/or national legislation and regulations concerning regular employment shall not be circumvented through the use of short-term contracts (such as the use of contract workers, casual workers and day labourers), subcontracts or other types of employment.

9.2 All workers are entitled to an employment contract in a language they understand.

9.3 Apprenticeship programmes shall be clearly defined with respect to duration and content.


10. Marginalised population groups

10.1 The production and extraction of raw materials for production shall not contribute to destroying the resource and income basis of marginalised population groups, for example by occupying large areas of land or other natural resources on which these population groups depend.

11. Environment

11.1 Environmental measures shall be considered throughout the production and distribution chain, from raw material production to end sales. Endeavours shall be made to take local, regional and global environmental aspects into account. The local environment in the production location shall not be over-exploited or damaged by pollution.

11.2 National and international environmental legislation and regulations shall be complied with.

11.3 Relevant emission permits shall be obtained where necessary.

11.4 Hazardous chemicals and other substances shall be handled in a satisfactory manner.