The Volkswagen Group stands firmly against forced and child labor in connection with its business activities. The company takes its responsibility for human rights very seriously in all regions of the world, including China, adhering closely to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These principles form part of the company’s Code of Conduct. We maintain these values throughout our supply chain and have zero tolerance for any exceptions to this policy.
While in Chinese Joint Venture facilities the Joint Venture is responsible for all employee welfare, all partners agree that basic values and legal rights must be respected and protected. Ensuring good working conditions for all employees is of top priority.
Volkswagen and its partner SAIC are also in full agreement that human rights violations will not be tolerated in the Urumqi plant, which is operated by a subsidiary of the joint venture SAIC Volkswagen.
In February 2023, Volkswagen China’s CEO Ralf Brandstätter, also a member of the Supervisory Board of the SAIC Volkswagen joint venture, visited the Urumqi plant to gain a first-hand impression of the plant and meet employees. Of the 238 employees at the plant, 41 ( 17 percent) belong to the Uyghur ethnic group. There is no indication of any human rights violations or wider issues around working conditions at SAIC Volkswagen (Xinjiang) Automotive Co. Ltd.
The MSCI ESG report, which contains allegations of human rights violations in Xinjiang, is factually incorrect and wholly misleading. Volkswagen is actively addressing this issue with MSCI.
An ESG Audit has been performed by Loening – Human Rights & Responsible Business GmbH and adequate documentation has been obtained. The audit targeted ESG topics and encompassed the enquiry whether ILO Conventions C029, C111 and C155 are being adhered to with regard to the employees at the Urumqi plant. Due to the audit scope, Loening has decided to apply the internationally renowned Audit Standard SA8000. The actual audit execution was undertaken by a Shenzhen law firm with extensive experience in social audits and international and Chinese labor law, and accompanied on site by Loening.
As of November 1, 2023 the legal entity had 197 employees with the following ethnicities: Han: 150 (76,1%), minorities, including Uighurs: 47 (23,9%). The employees are well qualified, have belonged to the company for a long period of time of up to ten years, have a low work intensity and are being remunerated above average. Overtime is next to non-existent.
No violations of ILO Conventions C029, C111 or C155 could be detected as a result of the audit. There were no indications of any use of forced labor or forced laborers among the employees at the plant of the audited legal entity.
Our joint ventures have an own Code of Conduct, a whistleblower and an external ombudsmen system to prevent or detect possible wrong doings or violations.
Volkswagen has built a long history with China and will remain firmly committed to its presence in China.
On December 11, 2023, MSCI ESG Research raised the assessment of the Volkswagen AG from Red Flag (Score 0) to Orange Flag (Score 1) to reflect the recent completion of the ESG Audit of SAIC-Volkswagen (Xinjiang) Automotive Company Limited in Urumqi/China. The “Global Compact Status” was upgraded from “Fail” to “Watch List”.Link to the Website: "Menschenrechte im Volkswagen Konzern"