Human rights abuses are incompatible with the purpose of the HealthTech sector and ABHI is committed to taking action to increase transparency and promote the human rights debate widely, collaborating with governmental, health organisations and NGOs within an open, no blame culture.
The reputation of the HealthTech industry has been fundamental to ABHI’s work since its inception in 1988. The primary aim of our first formal Code of Business Practice (COBP) introduced in 2008 was, and remains today, to supplement legislation and to provide a framework to support ethical interactions between industry and healthcare professionals.
Increasingly other ethical concerns, such as environmental protection, community engagement and human rights have risen up the corporate agenda. Due to the diversity and complexity of HealthTech supply chains and presence in high risk locations, there is heightened potential for adverse human rights impacts. ABHI, along with our Members, has worked constructively with the NHS and Department of Health in the implementation of the Labour Standards Assurance Scheme which covers policies, procedures and practices that an organisation employs to identify and manage labour standards within their own organisation as well as in their supply chains to mitigate risks and drive improvement.
These activities have led to significant improvements, but there is still more that can be done. ABHI is fully aware of the obligation of commercial organisations to respect human rights and it supports its Members in an environment of increasing public scrutiny and legislation.
A Board-led taskforce is currently taking forward industry activity on managing Human Rights in Supply Chains. Its remits is as follows:
- To build awareness of the impacts on society and business and the reputational risks associated with mismanagement of human rights
- To work with ABHI Sector Groups, focusing on high risk sectors, to help foster a collective approach across industry on due diligence processes to identify and remediate risks and adverse impacts
- Develop co-working arrangements with other Trade Associations to address global supply chains
- Develop “no blame” systems and culture with regulators, NGOs, the NHS and government to help businesses implement improvement projects
- Identify and support best practice and create opportunities for Member companies to act collectively to detect and address potential human rights risks
- Continue work with purchasing organisations to ensure that ethical practices are recognised within the procurement process
- Lead a dialogue on the development of the ABHI Code of Business Practice, and other relevant international codes, to determine necessary expansion to cover human rights issues.
We have also produced a discussion document that outlines the current situation regarding human rights and our sector. We seek to stimulate the debate, increase awareness of the issues and bring together like-minded organisations to help continually improve human rights standards.
Download the ABHI Reputation, Ethics & Human Rights in MedTech Discussion Document here.