Salient human rights risk
We have identified the following areas below as salient, and therefore prioritized. Salient human rights issues are the human rights at risk of the most severe negative impact through the company’s activities and business relationships. The identified risks refer to internationally recognized human rights as laid out in the International Bill of Human Rights and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
Ericsson has developed the list of salient supply chain human rights issues based on internal and external expertise and stakeholder consultations, audit results, and comprehensive analysis of our supplier categories, including factors such as relevant industry, type of activities, country of operations, nature of the workforce, including potential vulnerable groups, etc. While we currently prioritize the below identified salient risks, through focused efforts and collaborative engagements, the full scope of human rights risk is continuously managed through our Responsible Sourcing Program.
By integrating learnings from the Responsible Sourcing Program, our focused efforts related to the salient risks, and ongoing stakeholder engagements, we will revise this list when needed. The below risks do not necessarily indicate a particular order of priority.
Trade union rights
Freedom of association and right to collective bargaining
In addition to being fundamental rights in and of themselves, trade union rights are also recognized as enabling rights, in ensuring that other rights are enjoyed and protected. In many countries, the right to form and join trade unions and bargain collectively is not fully realized. These rights are in some cases restricted by law, and/or challenged by attitudes and practice.
This is an issue that cuts across most of our supplier categories, from hardware manufacturing to site services and logistics. A significant portion of our supplier base is located in countries where these rights are restricted. Many people are therefore affected, and a lack of these rights can lead to severe impacts on other rights.
Women, migrant workers, ethnic, racial or other minorities and contract workers are at heightened risk of impacts on their trade unions rights, increasing already existing vulnerabilities. Human rights defenders, including trade union representatives, are particularly facing risks in countries where trade union rights are prohibited and/or actively suppressed.
Right not to be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labor
Forced labor is regrettably still prevalent on a global scale, affecting workers across a wide range of industries, including ICT. Ericsson has a zero-tolerance policy against the use of forced, bonded or compulsory labor, or child labor, and will act on any potential or actual case in our supply chain.
The risk of forced labor is especially present in hardware manufacturing, site services such as catering and cleaning, and logistics, and industries where there is widespread use of labor brokers, temporary contracts, or business practices that put workers in precarious forms of employment. The scale of these impacts is particularly grave, because forced labor practices severely limit the realization of many other human rights.
Vulnerable groups such as migrant workers, ethnic, racial or other minorities, contract workers, women and children are among those especially at risk of becoming targets for this kind of exploitation.
Each year Ericsson publishes a Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement describing how the Ericsson Group is tackling the challenge of modern slavery and human trafficking throughout its operations and supply chain.
Occupational health and safety
Right to life, right to health and right to work
Occupational health and safety risks materialize in different forms across our supply chain. For site services the risks are related to working at heights, with electricity, road safety and handling of heavy products. For manufacturing and logistics suppliers, risks include handling of hazardous materials, operating heavy machinery and handling heavy products, and road safety. Further upstream in the supply chain, when extracting raw materials, the risks relate to lack of personal protective equipment, handling of hazardous materials, and hazardous work in general.
Many people in the supply chain are affected by these risks and the potential impacts on the right to life and right to health are particularly grave. Which in turn can also impact the right to work. Temporary workers, contract workers and, in the case of the mining industry, artisanal miners are among those who may be at heightened risk for these impacts.
Right to enjoy just and favorable conditions of work and right to an adequate standard of living
In many countries, including the ones we source from, the legal minimum wage is not sufficient to ensure a decent standard of living. Elements of a decent standard of living include food, water, housing, education, health care, transportation, clothing, and other essential needs including provision for unexpected events. The lack of a living wage impacts the realization of many other human rights.
This is an issue that cuts across most of our supplier categories, affecting many people, but also a global multi-industry challenge. Women, migrant workers, temporary, contract and self-employed workers and ethnic, racial and other minorities are among those at heightened risk of not earning a living wage.
Right to rest and leisure, right to health and right to a family life
Excessive working hours is one of the most common non-compliances identified through our supplier audits. Although most of the countries we source from have laws regulating working hours and payment of overtime, these laws are often poorly implemented, enforced and/or not in line with ILO standards. There are many potential root causes of excessive working hours: seasonality, low wages, production lead time and capacity, culture choices, business practices, and political, economic and external pressures can all impact the number of hours worked.
Non-compliances related to excessive overtime are particularly common in our supply chain related to hardware manufacturing, but the risks cut-across other categories such as logistics and site services as well. These impacts are not unique for our supply chain, but rather a systemic issue in the ICT industry and beyond, which should therefore also be addressed through joint efforts and collaboration. Overall, many people are impacted by these practices, which in the end also impact the right to health and right to a family life. Migrant workers, temporary, contract and self-employed workers and women are among those at heightened risk.
Right to life, right to health, right to liberty and security of person, right not to be subjected to slavery, servitude or forced labor, rights of the child, Indigenous Peoples rights, land-related rights and right to water and sanitation
As with all electronic products, our hardware contains many different minerals and metals that are required for the functionality. Some of these raw materials can originate from conflict-affected and other high-risk areas. The illicit trade of such minerals and metals might finance armed groups, and the extraction is often linked to severe human rights impacts. In certain countries, especially related to artisanal mining, child labor is also a risk. The scale of these impacts is particularly grave.
These conflict-related impacts are present further upstream in our hardware manufacturing supply chain. There are often several tiers of suppliers between Ericsson and any smelters or refiners of minerals; even more when tracing a mineral all the way back to the mines. We therefore do not have direct business relationships with extractive companies in the supply chain.
Individuals from groups or populations that may be at heightened risk of vulnerability or marginalization at this stage of the supply chain, include women, children, indigenous people, migrant workers, local communities, and human rights defenders, including trade union representatives.
For more information, see the Ericsson Statement on sourcing of minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. As a publicly traded company on the U.S. stock exchange, Ericsson annually publishes a Conflict Minerals Report, in accordance with Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Right to non-discrimination and rights of minorities
Discrimination, the importance of diversity and the need for equal access to opportunities is a cross-cutting issue across all the other identified salient human rights risks. As stated above, a wide range of individuals may be at heightened risk throughout our supply chain. Being treated unequally and facing systemic barriers to opportunity, such as structural racism, enhances risks and potential impacts further. Discrimination, harassment or violence based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, and birth status, disability, marital status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, and health status, is still an issue in many countries we source from
We therefore include the lens of discrimination when addressing human rights risks in our supply chain, especially in relation to individuals from groups or populations that may be at heightened risk of vulnerability or marginalization.