Understanding and managing our human rights risks
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.
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
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.
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.
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