Act ethically, lead in diversity and respect human rights
- Better solutions
- Better company
- Better living
- For the better 2020 Results
We continue to build an ethical, diverse and trusted company, where everyone impacted by our operations can feel confident that their rights are respected.
We will earn the trust of everyone impacted by our operations, demonstrating our commitment to ethics, diversity and human rights through our words and actions. This includes working to ensure the health and safety of our employees, and promoting societal benefit through community investment activities.
Roadmap 2020 to 2030
- Continue to build a Group-wide approach to human rights and ensure strong management of human rights issues.
- Drive a company culture based on ethics, integrity and respect by providing leadership that demonstrates and nurtures inclusion and accountability. This will foster an environment where people feel safe to speak up.
- Take proactive measures to ensure that various elements of the global anti-corruption compliance program are effective in practice.
- Ensure a pathway to industry leadership in diversity & inclusion by developing and implementing a global roadmap.
- Electrolux will be the leader on health and safety in the appliance industry, wherever we operate in the world.
- Continue to invest in the communities in which we operate in around the world.
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.
The wellbeing and safety of our colleagues is of course extremely important. We have a duty of care toward every individual working for Electrolux, and we take this seriously. Our commitment applies wherever Electrolux operates in the world, and goes beyond local regulations.
It is well known that diversity and inclusion (D&I) can support profitability and innovation, and that more diverse companies outperform organizations that do not invest in this area.
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 approach involves working within our company through health, safety and diversity, and promoting societal benefit through community investment.
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 themselves 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 our 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. The assessments focus on identifying the risk of harming people as a direct or indirect result of our operations. They include 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.
Read more in Understanding and managing our human rights risks.
Electrolux has a zero-tolerance policy toward corruption, and we are committed to complying with all applicable anti-corruption laws. Improvements and enhancements to our compliance program are guided by recommendations issued by industry and regulatory bodies, including those based in the UK, France, U.S. and the OECD. Executive and senior management throughout the company oversee the implementation and effectiveness of the program, and their efforts are coordinated at Group level.
The Group Anti-corruption Policy (in addition to the Code of Conduct) is key to the anti-corruption compliance program, which applies to all persons who work with or on behalf of Electrolux. Our suppliers are subject to anti-corruption requirements as part of 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.
Governance for ethics and human rights
Accountability for the Ethics Program and oversight of human rights lie 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, Operations and Legal.
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.
Diversity & inclusion
The HR Executive Team (HRX) owns the Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Framework, including the setting of priorities, establishment of global objectives and monitoring progress. A central taskforce organized in workstreams develops proposals for initiatives, for review and approval by HRX, prior to implementation.
Health and safety
Health and safety have long been a fundamental part of our values and our sustainability agenda, with clear targets and processes in place to ensure real progress.
All employees and contractors in production are covered by a reporting system to track incidents and hours worked, and apply the same occupational, health and safety (OHS) management system throughout the Group and among our contractors. All manufacturing sites have Central Safety Committees that include managers, workers and worker representatives. All employees receive safety training when they start at Electrolux and annual training tailored to their function.
We established the Electrolux Food Foundation in 2016, as we focused our community investment efforts on the challenge of feeding the growing global population sustainably. We want to contribute with our skills and resources, and together with our Feed the Planet partners, to train, engage and inspire people to cook and eat more sustainably, and also to support people in need. Read more here.
- Bridging different cultures and local practices in a global organization.
- Raising the bar on Diversity & Inclusion – identifying and addressing barriers to greater inclusion.
- Ensure that our approach to community investment leverages our global presence and our partnerships, while at the same time allows local adaption and delivers tangible societal benefit.
- The most significant health and safety risks occur in our warehouses and technical departments, and when working with external contractors.
The progress on our promise
How we measure progress
- Level of trust in the Ethics Helpline according to our employees
- Level of understanding of the Code of Conduct by our employees
- Share of women leaders, and internal survey results on equal treatment and opportunity
- Number of people educated (trained and participants) and meals donated through our community investment projects
- Global injury rate (TCIR) per 100 employees per year.
We continued our work with local human rights impact assessments during 2020, although our work was affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The assessment at our production facility in Romania had to be adjusted to the prevailing situation, and the latter part of the project was conducted digitally. The main issues identified related to labor relations and work environment.
Mitigation action plans are in place and were followed up in Egypt, Thailand and Ukraine where impact assessments have been conducted in recent years. The outcomes of these assessments included issues such as safety, working hours, wages, corruption training, and risks in the supply chain. At the end of 2020, the actions from the assessment in Thailand were fully closed, in Ukraine 21 out of 22 action were closed, and in Egypt 17 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.
Following protests at one of our factories in Juarez, Mexico, at the outset of the pandemic in 2020, Electrolux commissioned an external assessment of the events. The conclusion of the assessment was that the handling of the situation was not fully in line with our Workplace Directive, and remediating actions were agreed. See the full statement here.
Workplace Policy follow up
Our work to follow up the Electrolux Workplace Policy was severely limited due to the coronavirus in 2020.
We conducted Workplace Policy audits at 6 (15) of our 20 facilities located in what we rate as high-risk countries. These audits took place in China, Egypt and South Africa. Additionally, a number of customer audits were performed at our production sites in both high risk and mid-risk countries. The findings included non-compliances in the areas of health and safety, working hours and compensation. Local corrective action plans were developed to address the identified issues and ensure continuous improvement.
All manufacturing sites that were operational at the end of 2020 responded to the Awareness Learning Feedback Assessment (ALFA). See the results here – ALFA assessments of the Workplace Policy.
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 2020, 68% of our workforce were covered by collective agreements. 37 of our 40 manufacturing units 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.
Diversity and Inclusion
As part of our ambition to become a leader in D&I, we continue to measure the proportion of qualified women, with a further commitment to broaden our focus beyond gender. At the end of 2020, 27% of all our leaders with direct reports were women. Our overall gender division is 38% women and 62% men. The target of achieving 35% women in Tier 2 and 3 is a continued work in progress – the results in 2020 were 33% and 28% for Tier 2 and 3 respectively.
The results from our most recent Employee Engagement Survey (EES) on diversity and equal treatment in 2019 indicate there is still room for improvement, and our work with D&I aims to address this. 65% of employees responded that equal treatment is supported in the company, and 70% perceived there is equal opportunity for people with diverse backgrounds. The next EES will be conducted in 2022.
In 2020, we launched the commitment to become a leader in D&I. Building on our existing D&I initiatives, a D&I governance structure was established, including a D&I taskforce and workstreams.
To promote engagement and alignment, we launched a D&I declaration and ambition, outlining that D&I is critical to the success of our company and also how we define diversity. The declaration and ambition will guide our efforts throughout the Group, ensuring the work considers both the broader aspects of diversity, and the building of an inclusive culture.
Work has been ongoing in 2020, and will continue into 2021, to establish the Group D&I framework, which will include people processes, D&I learning, communication and objectives.
During 2020, for example some 380 leaders and 600 employees in Latin America, the leadership team and 470 employees in North America and 53 (or 97%) of IT leaders in Europe took Diversity and Inclusion training. From January 2021, the virtual Unconscious Bias workshop is available globally. It enables employees to acknowledge and address cultural and social conditioning that can subconsciously affect their decision-making and attitudes toward others.
In 2020, we have three local Women at Electrolux (WE) networks in North America, Latin America and one based in Stockholm that increasingly began working globally during the coronavirus pandemic. A Diversity Week is celebrated each year in Latin America, and 2020 saw the launch of a Diversity and Inclusion Employee Resource Group in North America.
|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 2020, no acquisitions were completed.
Our Code of Conduct and Group Policies
Educational campaigns and e-learnings on the Anti-corruption Policy and the Workplace Policy were rolled out during 2020, with a specific focus on our manufacturing employees. 79% of eligible employees completed the anti-corruption training, and 72% and 64% of the eligible managers and employees respectively, completed the Workplace Policy e-learning. A central part of the Workplace Policy centers around human rights including labor standards, and thereby the e-learning corresponded to approximately 2,600 hours of training in human rights during 2020.
The most recent EES in 2019 indicated 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%|
Since at least 2015, anti-corruption risks have been continually assessed through formal and informal channels – site/factory assessments, surveys, in-person interviews, etc. In early 2020, an external law-firm assessed anti-corruption, anti-trust and trade sanctions risks, as well as the overall compliance program. Recommendations from the risk assessment are being implemented via a prioritized action plan to improve and enhance existing compliance activities.
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.
Besides bribery-related corruption risks, Electrolux also takes fraud seriously, and has a training in place for face-to-face anti-fraud training. During 2020, these activities were put on hold due to the pandemic.
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.
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.
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.
In 2020, we focused on training HR professionals on how to handle concerns reported by employees, both within and outside our whistleblower system - the Ethics Helpline. The emphasis has been on how to handle reports in an independent, professional and confidential manner, ensuring that there is no retaliation directed at the reporter. Management training has also taken place in certain parts of the organization, covering ethics and anti-harassment.
Ethics Helpline cases
In 2020, 258 (215) cases were reported through the Ethics Helpline. By the end of 2020, 54 (61) cases had been found as either being outside the scope of the Helpline or lacking sufficient detail to allow investigation. 204 (154) reports had led to further investigation, out of which 160 had been closed by the end of the year. The most common categories of reports in 2020 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 not following guidelines or instructions. 16 (19) cases of breach of business integrity were reported – including for example accounting, fraud, theft and corruption. 26 cases were related to the coronavirus, stretching across different categories, including concerns relating to safety measures.
Typically, case investigations that result in the confirmation of a wrongdoing, lead to warnings and retraining, but in some severe cases to dismissal. During the year, 11 employees were dismissed from the company as a result of investigations into Helpline reports.
Ethics Helpline reports
In the last EES in 2019, the level of trust in the Ethics Helpline increased to 77% from 76% in 2018 and 67% in 2016.
The fact that the number of employees that use the Helpline has increased in recent years indicates that there is a high level of trust in the whistleblowing system and 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 investigations by authorities regarding personal data resulting in administrative fines or other corrective actions. Various privacy access requests have been submitted to the Electrolux Group Data Protection Officer function by for example consumers, which have been processed and responded to, in line with internal procedures, our Code of Conduct and applicable legislation.
Health and Safety
Since 2015, our injury rate has declined by at least 6% every year throughout the Group. The Total Case Injury Rate at Group level is now at 0.5 per 100 employees per year. This means that if we had a factory of 100 people, we would have a single injury after two years on average.
First-class health and safety practices are an essential step for building trust among employees, their families and local communities. Our work with OHS (Occupational Health & Safety) focuses primarily on the safety of workers in production areas and also raises awareness of the health and wellbeing of office workers.
During 2020, the safety systems and processes within different business sectors have been aligned in a Group-wide approach – the Electrolux Safety Management System.
A tragic death occurred in one of the plants in the Asia-Pacific region in 2020. The incident has been thoroughly investigated but it has not been possible to determine the root cause.
In 2020, we managed the coronavirus pandemic to minimize the health risks and impact on our employees based on a detailed risk assessment that also identified the most essential areas for us to focus on. Many procedures and operative instructions were applied to safeguard the health of the employees.
Non-manufacturing employees were encouraged to work remotely while compulsory face mask use and daily temperature checks were implemented for people working in factories. Safety entrance controls were applied at all sites, and visits were discouraged. In manufacturing, workplaces were re-arranged to ensure social distancing of at least 1.5 meters and plastic dividers were installed where appropriate. Measures to allow social distancing in company canteens and bus services were also implemented. In offices, common areas were re-arranged to ensure social distancing. Sanitation materials were made available in multiple locations at all sites. In general, business travel was prevented.
Electrolux invests in community programs both centrally and at a local level. SEK 10 million was donated to the Electrolux Food Foundation in 2020. Additionally, SEK 2.6 million was spent on managing community programs around the company, SEK 27 million in in-kind donations and SEK 8.8 million in cash donations. The pandemic had a negative impact on the opportunities for volunteering, but in total, Electrolux employees volunteered over 1,200 hours of their time to support local activities.
|Roadmap 2020 to 2030||Next steps||Status|
Continue to build a Group-wide approach to human rights and ensure strong management of human rights issues.
Continue to conduct local assessments and follow up assessment action plans.
Drive a company culture based on ethics, integrity and respect by providing leadership that demonstrates and nurtures inclusion and accountability. This will foster an environment where people feel safe to speak up.
Engage leaders at all levels in activities to build an ethical culture.
Ensure employees in all parts of the organization are educated in the Code of Conduct and relevant key policies.
Take proactive measures to ensure that various elements of the global anti-corruption compliance program are effective in practice.
Align and improve corruption prevention efforts throughout the company through various methods. This includes the implementation of relevant policies and instructions, trainings, audits, and internal inquiries. Emphasize the zero-tolerance message for bribery and corruption throughout the organization.
Ensure a pathway to industry leadership in diversity & inclusion by developing and implementing a global roadmap.
Establish and drive four workstreams: (1) Objectives development; (2) Review of people processes; (3) Training; and (4) Communications.
Electrolux will be the leader on health and safety in the appliance industry, wherever we operate in the world.
Continue to reduce our accident frequency. Attain safety certifications of our manufacturing facilities.
Continue to invest in the communities in which we operate in around the world.
Continue to adapt, re-create and launch our community investment programs in digital formats.
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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