Management approach: Human rights

As a member of society, Electrolux recognizes its responsibility to contribute to the promotion and protection of human rights along its value chain. Work with human rights is designed to protect the inherent dignity of every individual, regardless of his or her culture or background. These rights are by nature universal, as set out in the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR). Human rights encompass areas such as eliminating under-age labor, non-discrimination, non-tolerance of harassment and freedom of association.

Conduct and policies

Electrolux aligns its management of labor and human rights with its principles of conduct through Group codes and policies, both internally and along the supply chain. Codes include the Electrolux Code of Ethics and the Workplace Code of Conduct, supported by procedures such as the Electrolux Workplace Standard, which includes mandatory practices to ensure compliance. Human rights-related training is incorporated into its curriculum.

Electrolux has four ways of ensuring that the Workplace Code of Conduct is fulfilled. Each one is described in detail in the Labor Practices section of this report. They are:

  • Code of Conduct assessments (formerly known as ALFA)
  • Ethics at Electrolux program
  • Internal Code of Conduct audits
  • Values training.

Additionally, in 2012 Electrolux will initiate a review of its human rights approach in light of changes to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and new UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the Ruggie framework).

Each line manager within Electrolux has responsibility for Code of Conduct implementation.

Investment and procurement practices

Group Purchasing is ultimately responsible for compliance with the Code of Conduct and Environmental Policy along the supply chain. As an integrated part of the purchasing process, purchasing teams ensure that high social and environmental standards are mandatory and non-negotiable parts of evaluating potential and existing suppliers. This management approach ensures that quality and cost are achieved, but not at the expense of Group standards.

To support monitoring and training, the Responsible Sourcing Program supports local purchasers and suppliers with training, audits and development activities in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific. The manager of the program reports to Group Sustainability Affairs.

The objective of the Responsible Sourcing Program is fourfold:

  • Create long-term, sustainable improvement among suppliers
  • Assure compliance to customers’ standards
  • Reduce risks to the Electrolux brand and reputation and
  • Reduce the risk of serious non-compliances that could lead to disruption in product deliveries.

Electrolux Code of Conduct auditors are in place in Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Electrolux places sharp focus on monitoring performance and compliance for suppliers classified as high- or medium-risk through risk mapping, and on particular activities - such as the supply of metalwork.

Human rights considerations are taken into account when Electrolux invests in new companies. See also case study LA10-12 Olympic strength.


In accordance with the Code of Ethics and Workplace Code of Conduct, Electrolux does not discriminate based on personal characteristics or beliefs such as, for example, age, race, ethnic group, religion, gender, political opinion, marital status, maternal/ paternal status or national or social origin. All Group and supplier employees are to be treated strictly according to his or her abilities and qualifications in any employment decision.

Moreover, Electrolux does not tolerate harassment in any form. This includes physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse, which take the form of written and verbal remarks, or offensive language and bullying. Neither does Electrolux tolerate behaviour in which people in authority abuse their position through insulting, intimidating or malicious conduct.

Abolition of under-age labor

Under-age labor is still common in some parts of the world, particularly in developing countries with high rates of family poverty and low law-enforcement levels. Electrolux strictly prohibits the use of child and forced labor.

Unless local law stipulates a higher age limit, no person younger than the age for completing compulsory education, or younger than 15 (or 14 where permitted by ILO convention 138) is employed by Electrolux. The company adheres to accepted international laws and practices as set out by the UNDHR and the UN Global Compact. Electrolux also requires suppliers to commit to these same standards.

As in accordance with the ILO Minimum Age Convention, suppliers and local management are responsible for providing working conditions, working hours and wages that are appropriate for the authorized minors’ age. They must also be in compliance with applicable local law as a minimum.

If a case of under-age labor is discovered in Group operations or those of suppliers, the focus is on the welfare of the individual, which may include providing her with access to schooling and job training and paying an ongoing wage.

Prevention of forced and compulsory labor

In accordance with the ILO Convention on the abolition of forced labor, forced or involuntary labor is not tolerated in any form.

During Code of Conduct audits, Electrolux makes sure that all employees are covered by an employment contract, and workers are interviewed regarding their working conditions. The audits check that overtime hours have been done voluntarily. In the case of apprentice programs, students are audited to ensure that they are there voluntarily and provided proper compensation.

Security practices

Stipulated in the Workplace Standard, the purpose of security guards is to ensure the safety of employees and protect the premises, not to stop employees from leaving the workplace.

Indigenous rights

Electrolux does not report on indigenous rights as these are not deemed to be among the most material issues to the company on the basis of the GRI Reporting Principles and according to Human Rights assessments conducted of its operations.