Ethics and compliance

Doing what’s right, not just what’s required

We’re committed to high ethical and business standards and expect all our employees to behave honestly and with integrity in every part of our business. We have embedded these principles into our ethics and compliance program and Code of Conduct.

Our program

Our global Ethics and Compliance program, led by the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, exists to promote ethical conduct and compliance with local laws and regulations.

To ensure our program reaches all employees, members of our Global Ethics and Compliance team, including a compliance officer based in the Netherlands, support the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer in implementing and evaluating Medline’s Ethics and Compliance program.

The Ethics and Compliance program includes oversight and enforcement of Medline’s Code of Conduct, monitoring Medline’s anonymous reporting hotline (Open Talk), training and communication, monitoring and evaluative activities, and a response mechanism.

The Medline Code of Conduct

Our Code of Conduct is the foundation on which our Ethics and Compliance program is built. The Code defines our core values and principles that govern our relationships with government agencies, customers, competitors, and each other. It covers a wide range of topics, including anti-discrimination, workplace safety, employee privacy, data protection, political participation, anti-bribery and anti-corruption. The Code aims to protect everyone and everything involved in our business as we strive to assist our customers.

Live by the Code

From our Code of Conduct, these are some of the guiding principles we expect every Medline employee to follow:

  • Act with integrity in all that you do
  • Watch for situations that seem unethical or could violate the spirit of the Code
  • Report suspected violations of the Code, compliance policies, or local laws and regulations to the Ethics and Compliance team
  • Cooperate fully in any investigation or audit of business practices, possible ethical violations, or illegal conduct
  • Ask questions and consult with the Ethics and Compliance team if you have concerns that a business activity may be unethical, illegal, or may violate the Code or other compliance policies

Protecting human rights throughout our supply chain

Slavery, forced labor and human trafficking are critical human rights issues. We’re committed to implementing systems and controls to prevent these phenomena from occurring. We conduct monitoring in our own operations, as well as those of our suppliers, to prevent and address abuses of workers’ human rights. In doing so, we aim to meet recognized international human rights standards and make meaningful contributions toward the fulfilment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Modern Slavery Transparency Statement reiterate our commitment to the protection of human rights throughout our global supply chain.

To advance our efforts, we formed an Ethical Sourcing Program in 2020 to consolidate and build on initiatives that ensure respect for human rights in our global operations and supply chains. The program is based on eleven pillars:

  1. Roles and responsibilities
  2. Ethical sourcing standards
  3. Risk assessment
  4. Supplier engagement
  5. Social compliance audits
  6. Grievance mechanisms
  7. Remediation
  8. Customer engagement
  9. Training and capacity building
  10. External reporting and communication
  11. Assessing effectiveness

Taking a risk-based approach to ethical sourcing, we’re focusing our efforts where the greatest risks exist—and where Medline can assert leverage to achieve positive change. Since 2015, our internal auditors conducted 631 social compliance audits, globally.

Also in 2020, we reviewed and enhanced our ethical sourcing policies and procedures, benchmarking ourselves against the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and international best practices.

WRAP-certified facilities

In 2018, Medline developed a new strategic partner in Medan, Indonesia, for the manufacturing of our SensiCare surgical gloves. To help the factory maintain and receive recognition for their high-quality labor standards, Medline worked hand-in-hand with them to achieve Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certification—the largest factory-based certification that ensures ethical working standards for manufacturers of clothing, footwear and other sewn products.

The factory completed the WRAP audit process in September 2019 and was awarded the Gold Certification of Compliance. This certification ensures safe, legal and ethical manufacturing processes, with ongoing monitoring and evaluation included in the certification process. As part of our ongoing evaluation, an on-site audit was completed by WRAP in December 2020 with zero infractions found. To date, our US customers have received approximately 60 million pairs of gloves produced from this WRAP-certified facility.

Standards we follow globally

Medline is committed to being law-abiding, honest and trustworthy in all of our business dealings. We practice good business by adhering to the highest standards to protect our company and the planet we all call home. We follow all legislation and regulations in the countries where we operate and comply with industry-leading standards.

MedTech Europe

We’re a member of the MedTech Europe trade association and comply with its Code of Ethical Business Practice. In compliance with MedTech Europe’s code, we avoid conflicts of interest when balancing our customer relations and charitable work. We also do not donate cash or products to, or at the request of, healthcare providers in Europe.

Advanced Medical Technology Association

As a member of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), we support its mission to advocate for the highest ethical standards and patient access to safe and leading medical technologies, and comply with AdvaMed’s Code of Ethics on interactions with US Health Care Professionals.

Explore more of our 2020 impact