Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination.
All companies have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their value chains, regardless of a governments ability or willingness to protect human rights.
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights means that companies must avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. Simply adhering to local legislation or donating to charity is not enough.
To make it possible for grievances to be addressed early and remediated directly, you as an Ericsson Supplier shall also establish or participate in effective grievance mechanisms for individuals and communities who may be impacted by your operations.
- Have you analyzed your company’s actual and potential human rights impacts?
- What concrete actions have you taken to address, mitigate and prevent such impacts?
- Does your company have a way to handle complaints related to adverse human rights impacts and to provide remedy to affected stakeholders?
- Does your company evaluate barriers, such as local legislation or business practices, which would prevent you from ensuring the respect of human rights?
- Does your company have a process to ensure your suppliers, and sub-suppliers adhere to the same standards on human rights?
The human and labor rights requirements in the code
Freedom of association
The freedom to establish unions and workers’ ability to collectively bargain through a representative organization are important rights in and of themselves, but are also enabling rights, meaning that respecting these rights can, in many cases, lead to the fulfillment of a number of other labor rights.
As a Supplier to Ericsson you need to ensure that all workers are free to join, or not to join trade unions or similar external representative organizations and to bargain collectively.
In some countries independent trade unions are prohibited under law. Even in these countries, it is however still possible to allow for alternate forms of worker representation. Important to note is that it needs to be the workers themselves who elect their representatives.
Child labor prevention
No person shall be employed who is below the minimum legal age for employment.
Minimum age is the age of completion of compulsory schooling, or not less than 15 years.
However, a person below 18 years of age is considered a child. In case children between the ages of 15 and 18 are allowed to work, they shall not, under any circumstances, be employed for any hazardous work, or work that is inconsistent with their personal development. Personal development includes a child’s health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development. As a Supplier you are also required to ensure proper management of apprentice program attendees and student workers.
Humane treatment and non-harassment
At Ericsson we do not accept any forms of discrimination. As a Supplier you need to ensure that all employees are treated with respect and dignity.
Corporal punishment, physical or verbal abuse, bullying or other unlawful harassment and any threats or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.
All kinds of discrimination based on partiality or prejudice is prohibited such as discrimination based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, parental status, religion, political opinion, nationality, ethnic background, social origin, social status, indigenous status, disability, age, union membership or employee representation and any other characteristic protected by local law, as applicable.
In cases when land rights of communities might be impacted, Suppliers must ensure proper dialogue and consultation with local communities and affected stakeholders is initiated.
This requirement targets so called land grabbing, i.e. when the land of local communities and/or individuals, such as ethnic communities, villages, and/or farm land, is affected due to a company’s business operations. Even if a governmental permit has been obtained for the operation, community engagement shall always be carried out.
Community engagement should be carried out in an inclusive, equitable, culturally appropriate, gender-sensitive, and rights-compatible manner.
Artificial Intelligence, machine Learning, autonomous and intelligent systems (collectively “AI”) have the potential to contribute to sustainable development and are an important part of our business. It is however crucial to ensure that AI does not adversely impact human rights.
Suppliers that develop AI for or with Ericsson are expected to safeguard that the technology is trustworthy and developed in accordance with globally recognized ethics standards that address potential adverse impacts on human rights. For example, the EU Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy AI.
Before we move on to the next section, please take a moment to think about the topics that have been covered so far. If necessary, go back to ensure you understand everything. You should see the questions as a guideline with selected examples and not a comprehensive list of items.
- Does your company have process in place to continually ensure compliance with local and international labor standards?
- Are your company’s employees free to join, or not to join, independent trade unions and bargain collectively?
- Does your company analyze risks of modern slavery such as employing migrant or seasonal workers, the use of labor brokers, national legislation enabling poor labor practices etc.?
- Does your company provide clear information to your employees on their employment conditions, including a written contract?
- Does your company monitor average working hours and ensure employees do not exceed legal requirements?
- Does your company have process in place to ensure you do not employ under age workers?
- Does your company prevent all types of discrimination at the workplace?
- If supplying and/or sourcing materials/components that include raw materials, does your company have processes in place to trace the origin of such raw materials and ensure that are responsibly sourced?
- Does your company have procedures in place to identify, document, and follow up incidents and accidents in order to remedy and prevent future events from reoccurring?