We recognize the threat corruption poses to sustainable economic and social development. That is one reason why we endorse the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which in SDG16 set a clear goal to reduce bribery and corruption in all forms, and call for more accountable organizations.
With customers in 180 countries, many of which are considered at high risk of corruption, we are aware that prevention and accountability are paramount. That is why we are investing considerable time and resources – continuously and systematically – to strengthen our anti-corruption processes. And we are attentive and responsive to improvements that stakeholders and authorities may believe are necessary.
Our anti-corruption program, headed by the Group’s Chief Compliance Officer, is evaluated annually by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors. It has six central elements:
- Top-level commitment
- Risk assessment
- Due diligence of business partners
- Policies/directives and process
- Implementation (including training and communication)
- Monitoring and review of the program.
Our zero tolerance of corruption has strong top management support. Our approach to anti-corruption is continuously reinforced at employee and executive-level meetings. All Ericsson employees must periodically review and acknowledge the Code of Business Ethics.
Corruption risks are evaluated as part of Group Risk Assessment performed by all units to ensure that they are aligned with Ericsson’s strategy and targets. The Compliance Office also performs corruption risk assessment continuously. Furthermore, anti-corruption has been a focus of the Corporate Audit and has been covered by selected audits during the year.
Focus on due diligence
In 2016, an automated anti-corruption screening tool for supplier and third-party due diligence was tested in our regional operations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and is now being expanded. Ericsson’s Ethical and Compliance Board, comprised of several members of the Executive Leadership Team, was also established in 2016 to ensure overall governance of compliance within the Group.
Training and awareness
By the end of 2016, more than 95,900 active employees had completed an anti-corruption e-learning course aimed at raising awareness of risks, dilemmas and appropriate courses of action.
In order to ensure fair and ethical practices throughout our supply chain, anti-corruption training for our suppliers is available in 16 languages.
Through Ericsson’s Compliance Line, an independent whistleblower tool, employees and external parties can report suspected violations of law or the Code of Business Ethics via phone or a secure website. Ericsson Compliance Line is available 24/7, 365 days a year and enables people to report in 188 countries and in over 75 languages.
Handling of reported cases
In 2016, 145 cases of alleged violations of law or the Group’s Code of Business Ethics were reported to the whistleblower Systems and through certain other channels.
A united front
Since 2012, we have been a signatory to the World Economic Forum Partnering Against Corruption Initiative and its Principles for Countering Corruption, aimed at raising business standards and contributing to greater transparency and accountability. The PACI Principles commit signatory companies to: a zero tolerance policy towards bribery, and an effective program to counter bribery and ensure its implementation.