Responding department: Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility
Stock Exchange Symbol: (ERICB:SS)
Does your company have a publicly available commitment to respect human rights?
Ericsson has a 1. Code of Business Ethics [link]
2. A Code of Conduct including a Supplier Code of Conduct [link]
Showing, for example, the commitment of Ericsson to implementing the UNGP, identifying our salient human rights issues etc. For more general information on Ericsson and Human Rights, see [link]
How are human rights governed in your company?
Head of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility is responsible for Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility defined as the integration of social, environmental and economic issues in a triple bottom line context. Operational responsibility for labor areas: Head of Group Function Human Resources. Head of Human Resources of Ericsson companies are responsible for labor practices in their respective company. A cross-functional Sustainability and CR Steering Group meets regularly to follow up on strategic and operational issues and the Ericsson Board of Directors is briefed twice a year on sustainability and CR matters including human rights issues. During 2013 Board of Director briefings were held on sustainability and CR strategies and risks, performance of internal operations, human rights progress and strengthened Sales Compliance Board processes. Ericsson has Group-wide policies, processes and directives in place for responsible sourcing, environmental management, Occupational Health & Safety, anticorruption, labor standards and human rights. The Ericsson Group Management System (EGMS) includes the Code of Business Ethics, Code of Conduct and Sustainability Policy. We are committed to uphold the UN Global Compact Principles, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Partnership Against Corruption Initiative principles. Policies are embedded into our operations and supported by employee awareness activities including training. Ericsson Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility including human rights issues is one of the functional group strategies.
How are human rights managed within your company?
Ericsson has Group-wide policies, processes and directives in place for responsible sourcing, environmental management, Occupational Health & Safety, anti-corruption, labor standards and human rights. The Ericsson Group Management System (EGMS) includes the Code of Business Ethics, Code of Conduct and Sustainability Policy. A cross-functional Sustainability and CR Steering Group meets regularly to follow up on strategic and operational issues such as CR issues including human rights. One example is the Ericsson Sales Compliance Board which addresses human rights risks as an integrated part of the sales process. Similarly, a Group-wide process is in place for trade compliance. Ericsson’s Sales Compliance Board is a cross functional forum of senior executive members, for more info, see [link]
In 2013, Ericsson initiated a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, with assistance from Shift, for more info: [link]
In 2014, to support our approach to responsible business, it was decided by the Sales Compliance Board that a Human Rights Impact Assessment would be conducted for Iran. Social, labor practices, human rights, employment, occupational health and safety, diversity and equal opportunity awareness is part of the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility e-learning for all employees. Supplier Code of Conduct training also includes human rights issues. Specific trainings on human rights issues are also provided for staff that might encounterhuman rights issues in their regular work. Ericsson implements the recommendations from the HRIA process into the management processes and systems to ensure continuing attention to addressing and tracking human rights challenges.
What is the company’s approach to the engagement of stakeholders (including workers, and local communities impacted by the company’s activities), on human rights issues?
Ericsson consult stakeholder via questionnaires and surveys on general sustainability and CR issues including human rights. In addition, Ericsson had for example two stakeholder consultations in conjunction with the human rights impact assessment for Myanmar, for more info, see [link]
Priority human rights issues: What are some of the priority human rights issues for your company?
The company selected the following from a check list:
- Health (including environmental health,workplace health & safety)
- Workplace diversity / non-discrimination
- Forced labour and human trafficking (including in supply chains)
- Sexual harassment
- Freedom of association and trade union rights
- Freedom of expression and/or right to privacy/ digital rights
- Conflict minerals
- Transparency in payments to governments / responsible tax practices
- Product Misuse
- Children (including child labour)
Actions on 'other' issues
For comments and examples of how Ericsson is working, see Sustainability Report [link]
How are human rights commitments and information about how the company addresses its human rights impacts communicated, internally and externally?
Ericsson also reports according to GRI as well as UN Global Compact Advanced Level.
What provisions does your company have in place to ensure that grievances from workers and affected communities or individuals are heard, and can you provide examples of remedies provided?
Reporting violations Employees are encouraged to report any conduct that they believe, in good faith, to be a violation of laws or the Code of Business Ethics to their manager or in accordance with locally established procedure. If the manager is involved in the situation or cannot or has not adequately addressed the concerns, employees are advised to report to a manager of higher rank or in accordance with locally established procedure. Other persons than employees, such as suppliers, customers and other partners involved with Ericsson, may report suspected violations of laws or the Code of Business Ethics to the local operations manager or in accordance with locally established procedure. If none of the above mentioned reporting channels is available or appropriate the violation may be reported through either e-mail to Corporate Audits e-mailbox: [email protected]
Which external and collaborative human rights initiatives does your company participate in, and what is the nature of your involvement?
With the aim of embedding a human rights framework across the company, during 2013 Ericsson completed the first of a two-year engagement with the Business Learning Program of the non-profit center for business and human rights, Shift.
For Ericsson, there are four specific aims of the program:
- Strengthen our human rights framework
- Develop a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) process
- Increase internal competence
- Gain an external view on how we implement our human rights commitment.
Ericsson is also part of Global E-Sustainable Initiative (GeSI) and UN Global Compact. For other examples, of collaborations with international organizations in order to improve human rights, see Sustainability report chapter Communication for All for some examples [link]
Which are the key one, two or three elements of your approach to human rights that been developed or amended since June 2011? Please indicate if these actions were in response to the UN Guiding Principles.
Since 2011 Ericsson has reported according to UN Communication on Progress. As of 2012 Ericsson has reported according to UN Global Compact Advanced Level. Ericsson was also part of a newly published report by the Institute for Human Rights and Business. A researcher from the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) was embedded at Ericsson for a period of time to observe how we are working on implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We also shared examples of our human rights due diligence processes as well as some of the challenges Ericsson has faced with respect to the risk of misuse of telecommunications systems, in particular relating to lawful interception systems. The report expresses the view of IHRB and Ericsson did not edit nor provide financial support to this report. Ericsson firmly believes that transparency around these complex issues is important. [link]