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Case study: How Ericsson shows zero tolerance for bribery and corruption

Conducting its business in 180 countries across the globe responsibly and transparently is a key priority for Ericsson. Constantly strengthening and improving anti-corruption and compliance policies and procedures, Ericsson strives to be a trusted partner, committed to showing zero tolerance for bribery and corruption.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report by Ericsson published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing. 

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Abstract

The commitment to zero tolerance for bribery and corruption, demonstrating integrity and respect for employees and the communities in which it operates, is central to Ericsson’s approach to corporate responsibility. In order to show zero tolerance for bribery and corruption Ericsson took action to:

  • ensure top-level commitment
  • monitor compliance among business partners
  • raise employee awareness of corruption risks
  • enable employees and external parties to raise concerns through Ericsson’s whistleblower tool
  • comply with the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative’s (PACI) Principles

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report Ericsson identified a range of material issues, such as the right to privacy, product energy performance, responsible sourcing (including materials sourcing), occupational health and safety. Among these, showing zero tolerance for bribery and corruption stands out as a key material issue for Ericsson.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Ericsson engages with:   

Stakeholder Group
Customers
Shareholders
Employees
Suppliers
Governments
Civil society
Non-govern­mental organizations (NGOs)
Industry partners
Media
Academia
Gen­eral public

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify material issues and set priorities and goals Ericsson carried out, in 2016, a survey focused on sustainability and corporate responsibility among a representative sample of active employees and, also, sought feedback from customers and investors, through surveys and dialogue.

What actions were taken by Ericsson to show zero tolerance for bribery and corruption?

In its 2016 Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Report Ericsson reports that it took the following actions for showing zero tolerance for bribery and corruption:

  • Ensuring top-level commitment
  • Ericsson’s zero tolerance for corruption is solidly supported by top management  Tweet This! and emphasized during employee and executive-level meetings. In addition, Ericsson strives to ensure that anti-corruption is drawn attention to at every major leadership meeting.
  • Monitoring compliance among business partners       
  • In 2016 Ericsson tested an automated anti-corruption screening tool regarding supplier and third party due diligence, in the company’s operations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Ericsson also planned to set up, in 2017, “Business Partner Review Boards” to ensure business partners met Ericsson’s compliance and ethical standards.
  • Raising employee awareness of corruption risks
  • Over 95,900 active Ericsson employees completed, by the end of 2016, an anti-corruption e-learning course, while additional, specialized training is offered to key sales staff and other related functions, and to regional leadership teams. Moreover, in 2016 a new compliance e-learning course was introduced, concentrating on anti-corruption, competition law and trade compliance.
  • Enabling employees and external parties to raise concerns through Ericsson’s whistleblower tool
  • Ericsson employees and external parties can report suspected violations of the law or of Ericsson’s Code of Business Ethics through Ericsson’s independent whistleblower tool: the Compliance Line, available 24/7, 365 days a year, in 188 countries and in more than 75 languages.
  • Complying with the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative’s (PACI) Principles
  • Ericsson is a signatory, since 2012, to the World Economic Forum’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) and the latter’s Princi­ples for Countering Corruption, which commit companies to implementing a zero tolerance policy on bribery and an effective anti-bribery program.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicator addressed in this case is: G4-SO4: Communication and training on anti-corruption policies and procedures and the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

References:

1) This case study was compiled using published information by Ericsson which is located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses but made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original please revert to the following link:

http://static.globalreporting.org/report-pdfs/2017/0480374ed99048b4681d69db1ba1738b.pdf (March 2017)

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Ericsson: With each case study we send out an email to your listed address in request for a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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