Sustainability Report 2018

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Sustainability In Brief

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We continue to build an ethical, trusted company, where everyone impacted by our operations can feel confident that their rights are respected.

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.

Roadmap 2015 to 2020

  • Develop and implement a cohesive, Group-wide approach to human rights
  • Provide guidance to employees on how to do the right thing by promoting the Electrolux Code of Conduct and Workplace Policy
  • Be responsive and respectful when dealing with issues of concern, building trust in our Ethics Helpline among employees
  • Continue to develop an effective global Anti-Corruption compliance program

The case for action

A strong culture of ethics is vital for stakeholder trust and long-term business success. Consumers are increasingly making purchasing choices based on whether a company is perceived as being trustworthy and how it contributes to society.  Additionally, employees prefer to work for a company with values that match their own. Corruption also increases the cost of doing business globally by up to 10% on average, according to the World Economic Forum.

Our approach

Our company is built on trust, which means everything we do and all decisions we make are governed by the principles of ethics, integrity, and respect for people and our planet – regardless of where in the world we operate.

Our policies

The Electrolux Code of Conduct, our Workplace Policy, our People Policy and our Anti-Corruption Policy are the foundation for our work with ethics, anti-corruption and human rights. Our newly launched Electrolux Code of Conduct, which includes our Human Rights Policy Statement, and a new Human Rights Directive, guides our efforts to assess, manage and mitigate the risks of non-compliance. It also helps define our expectations throughout the value chain. Communication and educational efforts are used to ensure employees are aware of and understand what our Code and policies mean in practice.

Workplace Policy self-assessments and audits

The implementation of the Workplace Policy and Directive is followed up by two main procedures – an annual self-assessment for all manufacturing sites (the ALFA survey), and bi-annual Workplace Policy audits of high-risk sites. Both procedures are central, not only for the follow up, but also for educating and reminding line managers of their responsibilities for making Workplace Policy alignment a part of their daily activities.

Human rights assessments

We conduct country-wide assessments of operations located in high-risk countries from a human rights and corruption perspective. This includes web-based, anonymous surveys and interviews conducted by Electrolux internal specialists and third parties on human rights and corruption. The interviews involve a broad range of workers, sales representatives and managers at Electrolux, as well as external stakeholders such as civil society and academia to understand the risks in the country. The assessment outcomes are agreed in interactive workshops with the local management.

The assessments focus on identifying the risk of harming people, as a direct or indirect result of our operations, and includes corruption risks as well as opportunities to increase local positive impacts.

Read more in Understanding and managing our human rights risks.

Whistle-blowing system

Through the Ethics at Electrolux program, employees are encouraged to report incidents to their manager, HR department, Internal Audit or another relevant person in the organization. They can use our whistle-blowing system – the Ethics Helpline – where incidents can be reported confidentially and in local languages.

Employee engagement survey

Electrolux evaluates the engagement of its employees through the employee engagement survey (EES). The survey includes metrics on important aspects of the company's efforts to act ethically and respect human rights, including the understanding of our Code of Conduct, trust in the Ethics Helpline and equal opportunities.


Accountability for the Ethics Program and oversight of Human Rights lies with the cross-functional Ethics & Human Rights Steering Group, which includes representatives from Group Management. Human rights procedures engage many functions throughout our organization, from Sustainability Affairs and Human Resources to Purchasing, Industrial Operations and Legal.


  • Bridging different countries, cultures and local practices in a global organization
  • Raising the bar on diversity – Identifying and addressing barriers to greater gender diversity

The progress on our promise 

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. Level of trust in the Ethics Helpline according to our employees.
  4. Level of understanding of the Code of Conduct by our employees.
  5. The proportion of our employees that perceive equal treatment and opportunity to be supported at Electrolux.

Human rights

Impact assessments

We continued our work with local human rights impact assessments during the year, conducting an assessment of Electrolux operations in Ukraine. In addition to interviewing 69 managers and workers throughout the organization, eight external stakeholders were interviewed, including advocacy groups for human rights, labor rights and corruption, as well as representatives from the Swedish embassy. Key risks identified include corruption, responsible sourcing and wage levels. An action plan has been formed around these risks in our organization in Ukraine.

In parallel, we followed up agreed actions from assessments in 2017 in Egypt and Thailand.

Workplace Policy follow up

All manufacturing sites that were operational at the end of 2018 responded to the Awareness Learning Feedback Assessment (ALFA). See the results here – ALFA assessments of the Workplace Policy.

During the year, 10 (9) of our 18 facilities located in what we rate as high-risk countries were subject to Workplace Policy audits. These audits took place in Brazil, China, Egypt, Mexico and Thailand. The findings include non-compliances in the areas of health and safety, working hours and compensation. Local corrective action plans are addressing the issues we identified.

Freedom of association

Freedom of association is one of our salient human rights issues. Please see Understanding and managing our human rights risks. All our employees have the right to join and be a part of unions. At the end of 2018, 57% of our workforce had collective agreements. 44 of our 53 manufacturing units also have local employee-management committees, which deal with work-related issues and sometimes work together with unions.

Diversity and non-discrimination

Freedom from discrimination is another salient human rights issue, and at Electrolux, we want to ensure that all employees are treated according to their abilities and qualifications in any employment decision. We have a particular focus on gender diversity, and aim to continuously improve the number of female leaders at all levels, and seek female applicants for every position as part of the recruitment process. Our overall gender division is 37% women and 63% men.

At the end of 2018, 27% (28) of Tier 2 managers and 35% (32) of Tier 3 managers were women. We remain committed to achieving our goal of 35% women for Tier 2 and Tier 3 by 2020, as well as focusing on having women in core business leadership positions.

During 2018, our networks promoting diversity and inclusion (Women at Electrolux) have thrived. New networks have been established, which brings the total to six networks across Sweden, US, Brazil, Poland and Italy. Our vision is to contribute to the company's business success by drawing on the full power of gender diversity.

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 operations. In 2018, Electrolux recruited 68 interns from 32 different countries. 56% were women, with a total global retention rate of 65%. We also focus on finding talented women within the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics together with AIESEC, as part of our Global Engineer Program.

The results on the Employee Engagement Survey (EES) on diversity and equal treatment still indicate room for improvement, and our work with diversity aims to address this.

 Percentage positive answers 20182016 2015 
At Electrolux, the equal treatment of employees is both supported and promoted. 65%57% 67% 
In my team, people with diverse backgrounds, styles, and approaches have equal opportunities for development. 69%72% 68% 


A new Code of Conduct

In 2018, we developed and launched a new Electrolux Code of Conduct as part of a project to update our Group Policies. The work involved clarifying our commitments and expectations by reducing our number of policies from 36 different policies to one overarching Code of Conduct and 15 Group Policies.

The new Code of Conduct summarizes our key policies and is a guide for employees in how to conduct our business in line with the principles of ethics and integrity. Covering areas such as respect for people, anti-corruption, conflicts of interest, fraud, health, safety and respect for the environment, it forms the basis of our Ethics program. New Code of Conduct e-learning and communication materials to inform employees of the new policies has been developed with a planned launch in early 2019.

The 2018 EES results point to an increased awareness of employees with regard to our Code of Conduct. The responses from employees indicate that the level of understanding of the Code of Conduct has increased to 90%, which means that we have reached our 2020 target one year early. We will continue to build on this as we launch our educational campaign in 2019.

 Percentage positive answers 20182016 2015 
I understand how I am expected to act in order to follow the Code of Conduct. 90%85% n/a

Anti-corruption & anti-trust

The Group's commitment to anti-corruption and anti-trust is highlighted in the Code of Conduct e-learning which will be rolled out to all white collar employees in 2019. In addition, Electrolux has a separate anti-corruption compliance program. One element of this program is training, and in 2018, Electrolux conducted in-depth training on anti-corruption and the related legislation. Training was undertaken via a dedicated online e-learning course, as well as via face-to-face meetings. Legal teams conducted in-person training and webinars at our sites in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China and the US. In-person training focused on employees with the highest exposure to risk, such as those in the purchasing, sales, and finance functions. In total, 3,400 employees were trained, either face to face, or through webinars or our e-learning modules. Additionally, 6,200 employees conducted the anti-trust e-learning. Training requirements are continuously monitored and evaluated based on business needs, and the legal and risk context.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment and procedures for handling severe misconduct have been on the agenda of the Group Management since the #metoo movement began in late 2017. During 2018, we have reinforced guidance and launched mandatory education for HR professionals, who in turn are responsible for the education of line managers. The education includes examples of unacceptable misconduct, key principles for dealing with reports of harassment, and emphasizing the responsibility of HR and line managers to act promptly on any information of potential harassment.

Ethics Helpline cases

By the end of 2018, 98% of our employees had access to the Ethics Helpline, our whistle-blowing system.

In 2018, 247 (186) cases were reported through our whistle-blowing system. 142 (118) reports led to investigation, and 105 (68) cases were considered outside the scope of the Helpline or lacking sufficient detail to allow investigation. The highest number of reports related to discrimination and harassment, such as the use of abusive language or disrespectful behavior. Typically, these cases result in warnings and retraining, but in some severe cases to dismissal. A proportion of the cases fell into the category ‘Other’ including complaints related to compensation and promotion, as well as workplace conduct, and working hours. Nineteen cases of breach of business integrity were reported – including fraud, theft and corruption.

In 2018, three (17) people were dismissed from the company as a consequence of investigations into Helpline cases.

During the year, 142 reports were deemed to be in the scope of the Ethics Helpline and were investigated. Discrimination and harassment and conflicts of interest are the most common issues reported.

Ethics helpline reports 2018

mination & harass-
Conflicts of interestOtherBusiness integrityAlcohol/
drug abuse
Health & Safety

The level of trust in the Ethics Helpline has been addressed since our previous employee survey in 2016 (67%) and the result increased to 76% in 2018. Our target for 2020 is 80%.

The fact that there is an increasing number of employees that use the Helpline, combined with the perceived higher level of trust in the whistle-blowing system as per the EES, indicate that our efforts with the Ethics program are progresing in a positive direction.

 Percentage positive answers 20182016 2015 
I trust that the concerns reported through the Ethics Helpline are handled confidentially and fairly. 76%67% n/a

Next steps

 Roadmap 2015 to 2020Next steps in 2019 Status 
Develop and implement a cohesive, Group-wide approach to human rights. 

Continue to conduct local assessments and follow up assessments conducted in 2017 and 2018.

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

Maintain the global reach of the Ethics at Electrolux program.

Educate employees in the new Code of Conduct and our key policies.

Be responsive and respectful when dealing with issues of concern, building trust in our Ethics Program among employees. Further develop our process for handling Ethics Helpline cases, through training and shared learning, and common principles of integrity and confidentiality. dot2
Continue to develop an effective global Anti-Corruption compliance program.Align and improve corruption prevention efforts throughout the company through various methods, including e-learning and face-to-face training. Emphasize the zero-tolerance message for bribery and corruption throughout the organization. dot2

On track

Additional effort is required 

Off track

Work has not yet begun


Electrolux shapes living for the better by reinventing taste, care and wellbeing experiences that make life more enjoyable and sustainable for millions of people. Through our brands, including Electrolux, AEG and Frigidaire, we sell more than 60 million household and professional products in more than 150 markets every year.

S:t Göransgatan 143

SE-105 45 Stockholm, Sweden

Terms & Conditions 2018