Menu Download Search
Annual Report 2015 CEO statement Strategic priorities Performance Snapshots Our approach GRI & UNGC

6. Always act ethically & respect human rights

Progress on our promise

Electrolux will earn the trust of everyone impacted by our operations, demonstrating our commitment to ethics and human rights through our words and actions.

The roadmap to 2020   Next steps
Develop a cohesive, group-wide program for our approach to human rights. ​​

Develop our governance of human rights, including how we assess, manage and account for human rights risks and impacts, in 2016.

Provide guidance to employees on how to do the right thing by promoting the Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics. ​​

Achieve global rollout of the Ethics at Electrolux program.

Continue the rollout of the Code of Conduct educational campaign, with the aim of reaching all employees in 2016.

Be responsive and respectful when dealing with issues of concern, building trust in our Ethics Program among employees.  ​​

Measure the degree of employee trust in the Ethics Helpline, starting in 2016.

Further develop our process for handling Ethics Helpline cases, through shared learning and common principles of integrity and confidentiality.

​​ On track

​​ Additional effort is required

​​ Off track  

​​ Work has not yet begun  

How we measure progress

  1. Share of Electrolux employees covered by the Ethics Helpline.
  2. Share of women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 positions.
  3. Awareness and trust in Ethics Helpline, Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct (mode of measurement to be determined in 2016).

The launch of the nine Electrolux promises reinforces the importance of softer issues such as human and labor rights, ethics and anti-corruption.

Building a cohesive approach to human rights

The aim of our work with human rights includes providing a safe environment where workers are free from harassment or discrimination, providing fair working conditions for employees and respecting freedom of association.

In 2015, we set up the Human Rights Reference Group, with representatives from a selection of sectors and functions across the company. This group is tasked with developing our governance framework, based on existing processes such as auditing, risk assessments and management-labor relations. Labor rights is a central part of our human rights agenda, and 42 of Electrolux 53 sites have labor and management committees in place, for dialogue on issues of mutual interest. Additionally, all sites have occupational health and safety committees. Constructive dialogue with employees helps us address the concerns of our employees at an early stage and handle potential labor issues at site level.

Providing guidance to employees

We have been working to build on and communicate ethics and human rights across our company, through both the Ethics at Electrolux program and training on specific Group policies. The Ethics at Electrolux program began its rollout in 2011, and includes training on a wide span of ethics related topics. In 2015 we launched more in-depth training campaigns on our Code of Conduct and our policies on anti-corruption and anti-trust.

This year, The Ethics at Electrolux program was introduced in Egypt and relaunched in Asia. Over 10,000 employees have taken part in the Code of Conduct e-learning training, corresponding to approximately 5,000 hours of training.

Group-wide e-learning courses on anticorruption and antitrust were also made available to employees. This initiative is a complement to the more tailored training that certain functions such as sales, procurement and senior management receive.

In 2015, employees in the US continued to receive locally adapted e-learning training on ethics-related themes, including anticorruption and antitrust. In 2015, approximately 12,000 employees completed these courses, corresponding to approximately 10,000 hours of training.

Dealing with concerns

Through the Ethics at Electrolux program, we encourage employees to speak to their manager, HR department or another relevant person in the organization if they wish to report an incident. Or, if it feels more comfortable for them, they can use our whistle-blowing system, the Ethics Helpline (Alertline in North America). Incidents can be reported in local languages. By the end of 2015, 98% of our employees had access to the whistle-blower system. In France, the last remaining major country, the plan is to launch the program in 2016.

This year, 153 (119) cases were reported through this whistle-blowing system. 48 (27) cases were considered beyond the scope of the Helpline or lacking sufficient detail to enable investigation. 105 (92) reports led to investigation. The majority of reports relate to discrimination and harassment, such as use of abusive language or disrespectful behavior. This type of misconduct most often results in warnings and retraining. Three cases led to termination of employment. (See graph).

Supporting diversity

In 2012, we set Group objectives to increase female representation in Tier 2 positions (reporting to a Group Management member) to 25%, and in Tier 3 positions (reporting to Tier 2) to at least 30% by 2017 (revised from 2015 as reported last year). Electrolux proactively seeks female applicants for every position as part of the recruitment process.

At the end of 2015, 23% (22) of Tier 2 managers and 27% (25) of Tier 3 managers were women, indicating an improvement but still falling short of our goal. Towards the end of 2015, we launched a pilot project with the European R&D department to emphasize diversity across all tiers of the function, focusing on recruitment.

Our partnership with AIESEC, an international platform for young people to explore and develop their leadership potential, allows us to tap into a diverse talent pool by offering internships throughout our Global industrial operations. In 2015, 65 interns from 32 countries were hosted by Electrolux, 53% of whom was female. The global retention rate for interns was 69% in 2015.

The challenges

  • Developing our corporate culture, bridging different countries and diverse backgrounds in a matrix organization.
  • Improving labor conditions: Audits point to recurring non-compliance with working hour restrictions.
  • Raising the bar on diversity: Identifying barriers to greater gender diversity among senior managers.

Our approach

The Code of Conduct, Code of Ethics and Policy on Corruption and Bribery are the starting points for our work with ethics, anticorruption and human rights. The Code of Conduct constitutes our human rights policy, and guides efforts to assess, manage and mitigate risks of non-compliance. It also helps define our expectations along the value chain. The Code was revised in 2014 to better reflect our responsibility to respect human rights, based on a corporate risk assessment, and taking into account the expectations of employee representatives, customers and investors.

Accountability for the Ethics Program lies with the Ethics Steering Group, comprising representatives from Group Management. Human rights procedures engage many functions across our organization, from human resources to purchasing and compliance. A task of the new Human Rights Reference Group is to establish an appropriate governance framework suited to cross-functional responsibilities.

Helpline cases 2015


‘Business integrity’ includes cases relating to anticorruption, fraud, theft and anti-trust. ‘Other’ includes cases that cannot easily be categorized into one area, often a mix of allegations of misconduct.

2015 outcome of the Employee Engagement Survey


Survey statement Share of non-production employees responding positively to the statement Share of production employees responding positively to the statement
At Electrolux, people with diverse backgrounds, styles and approaches have equal opportunities for development 68% (63)  
At Electrolux, equal treatment of employees is both supported and promoted 67% (61) 43% (37)

Salient human rights issues for Electrolux