Always act ethically and respect human rights
We continue to build an ethical, trusted company, where everyone impacted by our operations can feel confident that their rights are respected.
Electrolux will earn the trust of everyone impacted by our operations, demonstrating our commitment to ethics and human rights through our words and actions.
Read more about our progress on this Promise
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 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.
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 Human Rights Policy Statement, an integrated part of the Code of Conduct, and a Human Rights Directive guide our efforts to assess, manage and mitigate risks in these areas. Communication and educational efforts are used to ensure employees are aware of and understand what our Code and policies mean in practice.
Our Code of Conduct
The Electrolux Code of Conduct forms the platform for our efforts to ensure high standards of ethics and human rights within the Group. The Code summarizes our key policies and is a guide for employees on how to conduct our business in line with the principles of ethics, integrity and respect. It covers areas such as respect for people, anti-corruption, conflict of interest, fraud, privacy of information, health, safety and respect for the environment, and constitutes the basis of our Ethics program. 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.
Breaches of our Code and Group policies can lead to disciplinary action that can include dismissal.
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 awareness, learning, feedback and assessment (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 local 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-party experts on human rights and corruption.
The interviews typically 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, opportunities to increase local positive impacts and can include corruption risks.
Electrolux has a zero-tolerance policy toward corruption, and we are committed to complying with all applicable anti-corruption laws. We are guided by industry and regulatory best practices to continually enhance and strengthen our anti-corruption compliance program. The program is underpinned by our Group Anti-Corruption Policy, which applies to all persons who work with or on behalf of Electrolux. Our suppliers also abide by the Policy’s standards through our Responsible Sourcing program. The Group Policy is supplemented by more in-depth guidance for employees in certain areas, such as gifts, hospitality and events.
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 whistleblowing 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 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
- Share of Electrolux employees covered by the Ethics Helpline.
- Share of women in Tier 2 and Tier 3 positions.
- Level of trust in the Ethics Helpline according to our employees.
- Level of understanding of the Code of Conduct by our employees.
- The proportion of our employees that perceive equal treatment and opportunity to be supported at Electrolux.
We continued our work with local human rights impact assessments during 2019, and an assessment was initiated in Romania. The assessment has a focus on labor standards and will be completed in 2020.
Mitigation action plans are in place and followed up in the three countries where impact assessments have been conducted. Assessments were completed in Egypt and Thailand in 2017 and in Ukraine in 2018. The outcomes of these assessments included issues such as safety for service technicians, working hours, wages, corruption training, and risks in the supply chain. At the end of 2019, out of 10 remediating actions in Thailand, 8 had been closed out, in Ukraine 18 out of 22 action were closed, and in Egypt 15 out of a total of 19 actions were closed.
Our target is to have conducted local impact assessments in all high-risk countries where we have manufacturing operations by 2023.
Workplace Policy follow up
All manufacturing sites that were operational at the end of 2019 responded to the Awareness Learning Feedback Assessment (ALFA). See the results here – ALFA assessments of the Workplace Policy.
We conducted Workplace Policy audits in 15 (10) of our 20 facilities located in what we rate as high-risk countries (10 of the facilities were audited in 2019, whilst 5 that were planned for the year were postponed to January 2020). These audits took place in Brazil, China, Egypt, Mexico and South Africa. We also performed workplace audits in 8 manufacturing facilities located in what we rate as low-risk countries, to align with customer requests. The findings include non-compliances in the areas of health and safety, working hours and compensation. Local corrective action plans are addressing the identified issues.
Freedom of association
Freedom of association is one of our salient human rights issues. Find out more in Understanding and managing our human rights risks. In line with international conventions, employees are free to join unions. At the end of 2019, 60% of our workforce were covered by collective agreements. 46 of our 54 manufacturing units, including discontinued operations, also have local employee-management committees, which deal with work-related issues and sometimes work together with unions. Electrolux also has an International Framework Agreement in place with the global unions.
Inclusion and diversity
At Electrolux, inclusion strengthens our profitable growth journey and ensures that all employees are treated equally according to their abilities and qualifications in any employment decision. We have a particular focus on gender diversity, without forgetting to embrace the importance of recognizing all forms of diversity, and most importantly inclusion.
We have strengthened our commitment toward inclusion & diversity in the workplace during 2019 and a number of activities have been introduced, as described in the below.
However, our results indicate we still have a way to go, and the plan for 2020 is to introduce a clear roadmap to achieve our targets.
Gender diversity in numbers
We aim to continuously improve the number of female leaders at all levels, and to seek female applicants for every position as part of the recruitment process. At the end of 2019, 26% of all our leaders with direct reports were women. Our overall gender division is 39% women and 61% men.
By the end of 2019, 26% of Tier 2 managers and 27% of Tier 3 managers were women. Although we recognize it is a stretch, we remain committed to achieving our goal of 35% women for Tier 2 and Tier 3 by the end of 2020, as well as focusing on increasing the number of women in core business leadership positions. This is a key focus of the inclusion and diversity roadmap that is being developed.
Diversity Committees: Top-down commitment
During 2019, new Diversity Committees were created for all our business areas. The majority of these committees are led by their regional CEOs as a demonstration of their continuous support. The committees' mission and purpose is to identify clear and customized action according to their markets and local situations in order to promote all kinds of diversity around the globe. Targets for 2022 for gender diversity have also been set.
Employee communities: Bottom-up support
Since 2017, our local Women at Electrolux (WE) networks have thrived and Electrolux maintains strong support for them as they contribute to the company's financial success by unleashing the full power of inclusion and diversity.
During 2019, new employee networks were created and in various initiatives to promote equality and inclusion in the workplace took place across the world.
Global Internship programs to foster 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 young talent pool by offering internships throughout our global operations. In 2019, Electrolux recruited AIESEC 100 interns from 38 different countries. 53% were women, with a total global retention rate of 65%.
Also, as part of our Global Engineer Program (GEP), we search for talented young people, with focus on gender and nationality diversity, within the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). During 2019, Electrolux recruited 52 GEP interns from 28 different nationalities. 53% were women, with a total global retention rate of 60% of those who joined in 2018.
Employee Engagement Survey
The results from 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||2019||2018||2016|
|At Electrolux, the equal treatment of employees is both supported and promoted.||65%||65%||72%|
|In my team, people with diverse backgrounds, styles, and approaches have equal opportunities for development.||70%||69%||72%|
Human rights in acquisitions
In 2019, two acquisitions were completed. Human rights and corruption risks were considered in the due diligence as part of the projects. In parallel, final steps toward full alignment with our Workplace Policy and ethics program, have been taken by the business unit in South Africa, which was acquired in 2017.
Our Code of Conduct
In 2019, we launched a new Code of Conduct e-learning and a procedure for the electronic sign off of the Code. Our target during the year was that all office-based employees should have completed the e-learning and signed off on the Code. By the end of the year, 84% of Electrolux employees had completed the e-signature to confirm they had read and understood the Code, and 83% had completed the e-learning.
We also initiated a Code of Conduct educational campaign that specifically targeted our manufacturing employees, which covers the parts of the Code of Conduct that are relevant to them. This campaign will be rolled out during 2020.
A central part of the Code of Conduct educational activities centers around human rights including labor standards. An estimation of the number of hours spent on human rights training for employees in 2019 as part of this e-learning is approximately 2,200 hours in total.
Next steps will involve the roll-out of an e-learning on anti-corruption in the first half of 2020, with a Workplace Policy e-learning planned for the second half of the year.
The 2019 EES results indicate a high level of Code of Conduct awareness among our employees. Responses show that 90% of employees understand what the Code of Conduct means for them.
|Percentage positive answers||2019||2018||2016|
|I understand how I am expected to act in order to follow the Code of Conduct.||90%||90%||85%|
In 2019, Group Compliance initiated a global risk assessment exercise for all four business areas on our anti-corruption risks. At its conclusion in 2020, the company will be able to re-assess its compliance priorities and make targeted and cost-effective enhancements to the program.
Besides the formal risk assessment process, we assess information gathered from our employees through formal and informal channels - such as meetings, phone calls, discussions and anonymous surveys, to improve our anti-corruption program. On the International Anti-Corruption Day in December 2019, our General Counsel spear-headed an internal communications campaign, to encourage employees to be transparent and open about any pressure they might face to act contrary to our anti-corruption commitment. This campaign also included simultaneous training and discussion sessions for over 360 employees in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and the United States, led by our internal Legal Counsel. These workshops were in addition to other face-to-face trainings carried out throughout the year for key employees in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Besides bribery-related corruption risks, Electrolux also takes fraud seriously, and conducted anti-fraud training for over 150 employees in Sweden, the United States, Malaysia, Thailand and Brazil. Almost all face-to-face training sessions are designed to reach those employees that are most likely to face corruption risks, such as in purchasing, sales and finance. Our executives and senior management engage in separate and structured discussions around anti-corruption compliance and challenges. Anonymous reports via the Ethics Helpline, as well as non-anonymous reports alleging non-compliance with our anti-corruption policy are promptly investigated and remediated.
Training, internal communication, investigations and other elements that effectively implement our anti-corruption commitment are undertaken cross-functionally, between Group Compliance (under the General Counsel’s office), HR, Sustainability and Internal Audit. This is true not only at Group level, but also within our four business areas to ensure global coverage of all initiatives and activities.
Electrolux trains its employees on anti-trust compliance via an online training session. All new white-collar employees are required to take the training as part of the onboarding process. In addition, face to face trainings were carried out for employees in Sweden and Central and Eastern Europe.
Countering discrimination and harassment
Building on our work against sexual harassment in recent years, we have developed a general approach to anti-harassment training. This has involved guidance and mandatory training for HR professionals, who in turn are responsible for the education of line managers and employees.
The training 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 such reports.
Ethics Helpline cases
By the end of 2019, 98% of our employees had access to the Ethics Helpline, our whistleblowing system.
In 2019, 215 (247) cases were reported through the Ethics Helpline. 154 (118) reports led to investigation, and 61 (105) cases were considered outside the scope of the Helpline or lacked sufficient detail to allow investigation. The largest categories of reports in 2019 were related to workplace conduct, verbal abuse and other types of disrespectful behavior.
A proportion of the cases fell into the category 'other' including complaints related to favoritism, compensation and promotion and working hours. 19 (19) cases of breach of business integrity were reported – including for example accounting, fraud, theft and corruption.
Typically, these cases result in warnings and retraining, but in some severe cases to dismissal. In total, 6 employees were dismissed from the company, as a result of investigations into Helpline reports from 2019.
Ethics Helpline reports 2019
The level of trust in the Ethics Helpline increased to 77% from 76% in 2018 and 67% in 2016. Our target for 2021 is 80%.
The fact that the number of employees that use the Helpline has stabilized at a higher level than before 2017, and that the level of trust in the whistleblowing system is also at a stable high level indicates that our efforts with the Ethics program are having a positive impact.
|Percentage positive answers||2019||2018||2016|
|I trust that the concerns reported through the Ethics Helpline are handled confidentially and fairly.||77%||76%||67%|
Privacy and integrity
During the year, there have been no substantiated complaints concerning privacy or the loss of personal data, or any related investigations by authorities. A number of requests for information have been submitted by for example customers, which Electrolux has processed and responded to, in line with internal procedures, our Code of Conduct and applicable legislation.
|Roadmap 2015 to 2020||Next steps||Status|
|Develop and implement a cohesive, group-wide approach to human rights.|
Continue to conduct local assessments and follow up assessments conducted since 2017.
|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.
|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.
The next steps towards 2030 will be announced in the 2020 report.
Additional effort is required
Work has not yet begun
Electrolux is a leading global appliance company that has shaped living for the better for more than 100 years. We reinvent taste, care and wellbeing experiences for millions of people around the world, always striving to be at the forefront of sustainability in society through our solutions and operations. Under our brands, including Electrolux, AEG and Frigidaire, we sell approximately 60 million household products in approximately 120 markets every year. In 2019 Electrolux had sales of SEK 119 billion and employed 49,000 people around the world.
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