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Respect for human rights

Access to communications is a basic human need and this is embodied in our approach to human rights. Over the past several years we have worked to develop and strengthen our human rights framework to fulfil our responsibility to respect human rights according to the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Business and Human Rights.

Human Rights

We respect all internationally recognized human rights including the International Bill of Human Rights and the principles concerning fundamental rights set out in the International Labour Organization´s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. We strive to avoid infringing on the human rights of others and address adverse human rights impacts with which Ericsson is involved. We have implemented the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGP) on Business and Human Rights throughout our business operations, including UNGP on Business and Human Rights Reporting Framework.

By continually improving our approach to human rights, we are better prepared to confront new issues rising on the agenda and to better manage risks. In ICT and Human Rights, we describe some challenges for the ICT industry.

Defining salient issues

Salient human rights issues are those human rights that are at risk of the most severe negative impact through a company's activities or business relationships, according to the UNGP Reporting Framework. We have defined our salient human rights issues to be the right to privacy, labor rights and the right to freedom of expression. Our commitments to address and engage actively in our salient human rights issues are highlighted in our Code of Business Ethics (CoBE) and Code of Conduct (CoC). We identify and manage human rights issues in a number of ways, including Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA), stakeholder consultations in conjunction with HRIAs, and internal processes such as sensitive business and responsible sourcing.

Human rights impact assessment

Our Human rigths impact assessment (HRIA) process considers potential adverse human rights impacts that Ericsson may cause or contribute to through our own activities, or which may be directly linked to our operations, products or services via our business relationships. The aim is to ensure that we respect human rights within the scope of our business operations and analyze the social, operational and human rights context for doing business in a country. Over the years, we have carried out HRIAs in a number of countries starting with Sudan in 2009, and then continuing with Myanmar in 2013–14, Iran in 2014–15, Ethiopia in 2015–16, and other selected countries. Our HRIAs address all our identified salient human rights issues (right to privacy, freedom of expression and labor rights), and has provided us with valuable insights about how these issues arise and how they can be mitigated.

Conducting due diligence

We have worked with Shift, the leading non-profit center of expertise on the UNGPs, to systematically embed a human rights framework across our company since 2012. This work significantly strengthened our due diligence processes. We have integrated human rights due diligence into our sales process to help us assess, prevent and mitigate potential negative impacts on the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy – two of our most salient human rights issues. Specifically, we aim to reduce the risk that third-parties use our technology, services and knowledge directly or indirectly in a way that impacts negatively on these human rights.

Training and raising awareness

Raising employee awareness about human rights is key to our approach. We have a human rights and business e-learning available for all employees and it is mandatory training for certain functions, including Legal Affairs, Security and Corporate Audit. The training describes human rights issues, opportunities and challenges for Ericsson, international requirements, and key concepts used in the business and human rights framework.

Modern slavery and human trafficking

In Ericsson's Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement we describe how we are tackling the challenge of modern slavery and human trafficking throughout our operations and supply chain, in line with the UK Modern Slavery Act. Relevant Ericsson Group companies directly affected by the UK Modern Slavery Act arrange for local approvals of the Group statement. Signed versions will be available on file and a copy of the statement will be made available by the relevant Ericsson Group company to anyone who makes a written request for one.

Learn more about this topic in our latest Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility report