Management approach: Society

An ethical approach to conducting business is vital to the success of Electrolux and it ensures the company’s continued societal license to operate.

As a sustainable brand, Electrolux is accountable to many stakeholders – customers, consumers, employees, shareholders and others that affect or are affected by the Group’s business practices.

Electrolux is enhancing its positive contributions and minimizing its negative impact on communities it is entering, operating in and exiting in a number of ways, including:

  • Compliance to the Workplace Code of Conduct
  • Mandatory ISO14001 certifications
  • Continuous evaluations of how local operations meet group-wide expectations
  • Training and
  • Stakeholder dialog.

(See also Management approach, labor practices).

Goals and performance

For 2011 achievements and future objectives in regards to areas of anti-corruption, see the performance reviews for People and Operations (Ethical business) and Stakeholders and society (Dialog) as well as SO1, 9 and 10 Community.


The Electrolux Foundation, the company’s operational values, articulates the Group’s aim to be a trusted partner in the local community.

The Code of Ethics formalizes the principles by which the Group conducts its relations with employees, shareholders, business partners and communities.

Contributing to society

The Group’s most significant contributions to local society are twofold:

  • Economic and social development tied to our operations and employees; and
  • Awareness raising of sustainability issues and promoting behavioral change among consumers, together with partners along the value chain.

The opening of new plants in emerging economies creates opportunities for economic, social, and environmental development. Among the benefits are jobs, opportunities for local suppliers, technology transfer and improved social and environmental standards.

The Workplace Code of Conduct and Environmental Policy underscore the Group’s commitment to realize these benefits and maintain high standards wherever it is active. New facilities are aligned with Group practices through Code of Conduct training and monitoring procedures together with requirements for ISO14001 certification of plants. (See case study LA10-12 Olympic strength).

Responsibilities for upholding these policies and maintaining strong relationships with local communities lie primarily with each business area and local management.


Whether Electrolux is setting up new operations, leapfrogging to new technologies or managing organizational change, the aim to do so responsibly, by striving to be transparent and inclusive, in dialog with those affected.

A decision to close a plant or downsize production affects both individuals and communities. When a factory restructuring is under evaluation, a procedure is followed to establish the business case for production at that location. If a decision to close or downsize has been made, the company shifts its focus to lessen the negative impacts of the decision and ensure that the best interests of employees are met. Employees are offered assistance such as alternative jobs, pre-retirement schemes, training programs and career coaching.

Restructuring is managed locally within each business area and operational unit, supported by the Group Human Resource function.

See more in the performance indicators SO1, 9 and 10 Community.

A stronger voice

Raising awareness on the importance of sustainability issues such as climate-smart living is central to the business. In addition, Electrolux supports initiatives through communication. Examples include recycling and causes close to the hearts of consumers, such as supporting cancer research. These types of engagement are the responsibility of each business area.

'Vac from the sea' aims to put the spotlight on plastic waste in the oceans, inspire consumers to increase recycling efforts and encourage suppliers to introduce more recycled materials that are viable for production. The  initiative received considerable recognition in 2011. (See case study SO1 Vac from NZ).

Supporting not-for-profits

Importantly, community initiatives and financial support for not-for-profit organizations are primarily coordinated on the local level in order to respond to, and deliver on, local needs.

Community involvement projects are therefore managed through business sectors, product lines and operational units. See SO1, 9 and 10 Community for 2011 examples of local community initiatives and their outcomes.

Electrolux also demonstrates its commitment to local communities by contributing Electrolux products to worthy causes, supplying appliances to emergency relief efforts, and by supporting financial contributions initiated by employees in times of humanitarian need.


Electrolux does not tolerate bribery and corruption in any form, whether direct or indirect. This extends to all business dealings and transactions in all countries where Electrolux operates.

To counter corruption, the Group’s Policy on Corruption and Bribery prohibits the offering and accepting of bribes, kickbacks or any other improper benefits.

Training and guidelines for gifts and events is conducted for relevant employee groups in order to support the policy.

The rollout of the Group’s ethics program has begun, designed to enhance all employees’ understanding of Group expectations for personal and corporate ethical accountability.

Responsibility for the ethics program lies with a steering committee, comprising the respective heads of Group-level including Sustainability Affairs, Corporate Communications, Group Legal Department, Group Management Assurance and Special Assignments (internal auditing) as well as Human Resources and Organizational Development.

The program includes an ethics helpline operated by a third party through which employees can confidentially register incidents of non-compliance to codes and policies. Rollout of the program began in 2011 in Latin America, with 8,100 blue- and white-collar workers receiving e-learning and facilitated training. (See more in the case study SO2 Anti-corruption, Ethics for all).

Employees are encouraged to speak to their manager, HR Department, internal audit function or another appropriate person in the organization if they wish to report an incident of potential non-compliance or, if it feels more comfortable, to use the helpline. An additional route for reporting is to contact the Electrolux audit committee anonymously.

According to the Group’s policy statement, employees who violate a Group policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, depending on the facts and circumstances. Employees are never subject to retaliation for reporting suspected misconduct in good faith.

More is provided in the performance indicators SO2-4 Anti-corruption and public policy.

Public policy

Electrolux Corporate Communications has responsibility for the Group’s public policy agenda. Political lobbying is carried out by authorized employees of Electrolux. Each Business Area is responsible for pursuing government contacts in their region.

As outlined in the Code of Ethics, Electrolux observes neutrality with regard to political parties and candidates. Neither the Electrolux name, nor any resources controlled by Group companies may be used to promote the interests of political parties or candidates. Training on the Code of Ethics in regards to political involvement is part of Ethics at Electrolux training.

Anti-competitive behavior

Every employee is expected to abide by the rules of fair competition. The Group’s Code of Ethics and Policy on Anti-trust underline its commitment to counter anti-competitive behavior. Training is conducted for relevant employee groups and the ethics program, which is being rolled out among all employees, includes training and information relating to this area.

The Group has also developed internal guidelines on anti-trust to further inform employees’ conduct. Every employee is expected to abide by applicable anti-trust rules. Electrolux does not allow its employees to enter into unlawful agreements and under­standings that are anti-competitive or to unlawfully exchange non-public or sensitive information with customers or other third parties.