Sustainability Report 2018

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Sustainability In Brief

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We are on a journey to better understand the human rights risks associated with our activities, and to establish the tools and processes to manage these risks. Our goal is to minimize any risk of our operations causing harm to people.

Read about our progress in our Promise Always act ethically and respect human rights.

Our commitment

Human rights are at the core of our Code of Conduct and our Promise Always act ethically and respect human rights, which is part of our For the Better sustainability framework. As our most important risk areas relate to our employees, and particularly those in our manufacturing operations, our human rights commitment focuses on labor standards and the rights of our employees.

Our new Code of Conduct includes a human rights policy statement, developed based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It also the considers outcomes of our human rights impact assessments as well as best practice in the field.

Human rights governance and responsibilities

Line managers, from Group management and down, are responsible for ensuring adherence with Group policies on human rights as part of our human rights governance structure. Our Ethics & Human Rights Steering Group oversees both ethics and human rights and is responsible for evaluating our human rights approach, including approving priorities and action plans. It consists of senior managers and Group management members, including the General Counsel SVP, SVP Human Resources & Organizational Development, SVP Management Assurance & Special Assignments, SVP Corporate Communications, and VP Sustainability Affairs. A Human Rights Coordination Group is responsible for identifying and assessing risks, and developing human rights action plans.

Identifying human rights risks

During 2016, we developed a methodology to identify and assess human rights impacts, which was launched at Group level. The methodology is in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and common practices for human rights impact assessments. The methodology considers the likelihood and potential severity of harm to people. The Group level assessment involved around 40 representatives from all sectors, regions and key functions within the Group, and was conducted using online surveys and workshops. The assessment incorporated input from employee representatives, customers, investors and NGOs.

This methodology was further developed in 2017 to conduct local human rights assessments, and was piloted at Electrolux operations in Egypt and Thailand the same year. In 2018, a local assessment was conducted at Electrolux sites in Ukraine. Our focus is on operations in high-risk countries from a human rights, labor rights and corruption perspective. Please see our Promise Always act ethically and respect human rights for more information.

Statement on our salient human rights issues

The Group assessment resulted in a list of our salient human rights issues, which are listed below with their likelihood and potential severity to harm people and context.
Electrolux has defined improvement areas for each salient human rights issue, with responsibilities allocated to relevant senior managers, and our progress is monitored by the Ethics & Human Rights Steering Group. The relevant local managers have the responsibility for implementing and completing actions to remediate the prioritized issues resulting from local assessments. The status and next steps for each human rights issue are also described in the table.

Human rights issues and context

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Industrial relations

Issue: Right to freedom of association

Potential impact on people – from a general perspective

  • Employees not being able to impact working conditions or negotiate compensation.
  • Employees discouraged from participating in union activities.
  • Conflict/strike might lead to loss of income and may affect living standards.

Electrolux context & high-risk countries

  • Electrolux has employees in countries with immature labor practices.
  • High-risk areas include the US, Latin America, China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

Status and next steps

Freedom of association and employee-management dialog are in scope for the local assessment and action planning.

Promote proactive leadership with local management.

Working hours and wages

Issues: Right to decent work conditions & 
adequate standards of living

Potential impact on people – from a general perspective

  • People unable to provide for themselves and their families due to low wages (e.g. lack of food, education, medical services, etc.)
  • People suffering from a lack of free time and family life due to excessive overtime, which also increases the risk of accidents.

Electrolux context & high-risk countries

  • Overtime is an issue in some areas.
  • Fair living wages is increasingly in focus for customers and other stakeholders.
  • Both issues are a potential reputational risk.
  • Wages and overtime are high-risk in all regions except Western Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Status and next steps

Programs to address overtime issues have been launched in China and Thailand leading to improvements.

A monitoring system for working hours was launched in 2018. Wage levels are part of our local assessments.

Diversity and non-discrimination

Issues: Equal rights and non-discrimination

Potential impact on people – from a general perspective

  • Discrimination in recruitment, promotion and other ways, violates the basic human right of equal treatment/opportunities.
  • Discrimination can have significant social and economic consequences. Individual quality of life and self-esteem suffer through unequal opportunities.

Electrolux context & high-risk countries

  • Electrolux works actively with equal rights throughout the company, however countering biases will always remain a challenge, due to societal structures.
  • Greater diversity will help draw on the full power of gender diversity.

Status and next steps

At Group level, we have defined 2020 targets for the proportion of women in leading positions – 35% at tier 2 and tier 3. We will work to identify improvement areas, set action and measure progress. Read more in our Promise Always act ethically and respect human rights.

Privacy and integrity

Issue: Right to privacy

Potential impact on people – from a general perspective

  • Mismanaged personal information (e.g. employee data, consumer data, market research data).
  • Privacy underpins human dignity, and people deserve freedom from interference or intrusion.

Electrolux context & high-risk countries

Privacy is important due to digitalization, the Internet of Things, and access to employee and consumer data. Processes to safeguard privacy must counter the increasing risks.

Status and next steps

During 2018, we have implemented awareness programs, risk review and regulatory alignment.

Purchase of sexual services during business travel/representation

Issue: Right to life & Right to liberty

Potential impact on people – from a general perspective

  • Exploitation as a result of employee actions during business travel causes severe harm to the victim and contributes to a system that perpetuates such behavior.
  • According to research, around a third of all purchases of sexual services occur during business travel.

Electrolux context & high-risk countries

As part of the human rights assessment, it was identified that Electrolux needed a clear zero-tolerance policy.

Status and next steps

A Group policy project in 2018 led to the clarification of our zero-tolerance policy for the purchase of sexual services, including visits to strip clubs.

Corruption or bribery

Issue: Right to adequate standards of living

Potential impact on people – from a general perspective

  • Corruption fuels inequality, diverts expenditure away from public services and holds back economic development.
  • Bribery undermines the rule of law and the principle of fair competition.
    Corruption distorts the division of economic resources and hinders social and economic development.

Electrolux context & high-risk countries

We operate in high-risk markets such as Southeast Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Egypt and Russia, and need to constantly educate our employees and monitor risks. Risk areas include obtaining licenses/permits, sales, purchasing, gifts and events.

Status and next steps

Promotion of the corruption and bribery policy is ongoing through e-learning and face-to-face training.

Corruption risks are considered in our local human rights assessments.

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Additionally, we have identified three business processes that are crucial to ensure the protection of human rights: supply chain management, acquisitions, market entry and partners. The table below summarizes their human rights risk and the status of our work with each process.

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Supply chain management

Human rights risk

  • Risk related to our supply chain – first tier suppliers and beyond.
  • Non-compliance with labor standards such as: health and safety, working hours, wages, forced labor and child labor, and freedom of association.
  • Poor conditions for migrant workers and their families, including impact on the right to family life due to living far from children, and additional work permit fees.
  • Exploitation further upstream, particularly in the extractives industry.


Our Responsible Sourcing team is part of all regional sourcing board decisions, approving all new suppliers and new projects over 50,000 USD. We also have a comprehensive approach to migrant labor.

Implementation of OECD guidelines to reduce risks related to conflict minerals.

Supply chain risks form part of our local human rights assessments.

Read more in our Promise Improve sustainability in the supply chain.


Human rights risk

  • Inheriting human rights issues and sub-standard operations as part of acquisitions.
  • Harm to people in acquired businesses (e.g. labor conditions, health and safety, environmental impact, land rights and expropriation).


A guideline has been established for the integration of human rights and corruption considerations in acquisitions. In 2019, the focus will be on ensuring a structured approach to sustainability aspects when integrating newly acquired businesses.

Market entry and partners

Human rights risk

  • Distributors, agents and other business partners harming people (e.g. labor conditions, health and safety, environmental impact negatively affecting people, land rights and expropriation, corruption, etc.).


Improved screening procedures for new partners is underway.

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Additional important potential impacts on human rights are related to health and safety in our operations and product safety. However, these are deemed to be well-managed by existing programs and are therefore not included in our salient human rights. See our Promise Ensure the best health and safety to read more about how we work with health and safety.

High-risk locations

We map our operations using the Verisk Maplecroft Human Rights and Corruption Risk Atlas. Historic audit results, industry risks and customer requests also feed into our overall risk mapping. This forms the basis for our audit programs, the prioritization of countries for local human rights risk assessments, and also risk screening for acquisitions, market entry and new partners.

Read more in our Promise Always act ethically and respect human rights.

Please see the list of our high-risk countries here.

Stakeholder engagement

Our approach to assessing local human rights impacts includes interviewing employees, employee representatives and experts on human rights, labor rights and corruption – including advocacy groups, local representatives of international organizations, academia and embassies. The context these external stakeholders provide is essential for understanding expectations on us as a responsible company and employer, as well as assessing potential human rights risks. This includes information regarding the protection of human rights in the country in question, the situation for labor organizations, and other information regarding specific human rights that are at risk.

Read more about our stakeholders.

Human rights in acquisitions

'Acquisitions' is one of the salient human rights issues identified at Group level, where human rights could be better embedded. During 2018, a guideline for human rights and corruption screening was established as part of the updated Group Policies framework. The screening was an integral part of the acquisition process of three companies that were acquired during the reporting period, as well as in a number of potential acquisitions that did not result in a deal. During 2019, the focus will be on ensuring a structured approach to sustainability, including ethics and human rights, and how they are part of the integration processes of new organizations into the group.

Implementation, monitoring and follow up

Education of employees in our human rights principles takes place through training and communication activities. Following the restructuring of our Group policies and the launch of our new Code of Conduct, new and updated e-learning modules and communication campaigns have been developed, with launch planned for 2019. We currently monitor our human rights performance through internal and external audits, our Ethics Helpline, employee-management dialogue, health and safety committees, and the Code of Conduct mailbox for suppliers.

These approaches are complemented by local human rights impact assessments, which provide further details about the risk of negative impact on people by focusing on our activities at the country level.


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