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Case study: How Huawei promotes product safety

As a leading international provider of information and communications technology (ICT) solutions, whose ICT products, solutions and services are used in over 170 countries and regions across the globe, Huawei tries to effectively address the safety challenges presented by ICT products and services, delivering safe and reliable products to customers and consumers.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Huawei 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

As users of ICT services and products are increasingly concerned about product safety, Huawei has developed strict product safety standards and systems  Tweet This!, focusing on areas such as reducing electromagnetic and laser radiation, and increasing electrical safety. In order to promote product safety Huawei took action to:

  • control electromagnetic radiation
  • improve electrical safety
  • promote the safety of laser products
  • promote safe product design
  • reduce product noise

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Huawei identified a range of material issues, such as broadband inclusion for all, compensation and benefits for employees, actively responding to cyber security challenges, green products and services, communications for all. Among these, promoting product safety stands out as a key material issue for Huawei.

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 Huawei engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers/Consumers

 

·         Customer satisfaction surveys

·         Customer meetings

·         Huawei Fan Club (for consumers)

·         Participation in audits, surveys, and collaborative projects on sustainability (e.g., joint audits with the ICT industry’s Joint Audit Cooperation [JAC])

Employees ·         Meetings with employee representatives

·         Employee surveys (e.g., organizational climate survey)

·         Manager feedback process

Suppliers ·         Supplier meetings and audits

·         Supplier contracts and questionnaires

·         Supplier training sessions and conferences (e.g., the Huawei Global Supplier Sustainability Conference)

Governments

 

 

·         Government policy meetings

·         Inputs to government standards and consultations

·         Governmental and inter-governmental conferences

·         Participation in government projects (e.g., green projects of the Chinese government)

Industry/Standards

Associations

 

·         Industry forums and working groups (e.g., ITU, GeSI, EICC, and QuEST Forum)

·         Industry standards workshops

·         Publication of research reports (e.g., the ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark Report )

NGOs and Communities ·         Participation in community projects

·         Attending conferences organized by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and inviting them to attend Huawei’s conferences

·         Meetings on specific issues of mutual concern

·         Responding to requests for information

Media and Opinion Leaders ·         Individual meetings and interviews

·         Specific events for the media and opinion leaders in key markets (e.g., the Huawei Global Analyst Summit)

·         Inviting the media and opinion leaders to attend Huawei’s events

·         Engagement through social media

Research Institutes/

Academia

 

·         Joint research projects and technology collaboration (e.g., cooperating with a research institute on the ICT Sustainable Development Goals Benchmark Report)

·         Participation in events

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To assess and prioritize material issues, identifying issues of highest concern to the company’s stakeholders, Huawei asked, through surveys, multiple stakeholders to rank issues according to importance.

What actions were taken by Huawei to promote product safety?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Huawei reports that it took the following actions for promoting product safety:

  • Controlling electromagnetic radiation
  • Huawei has, among others, a dedicated lab for testing the radiation levels of products (for example, mobile phones, tablets and wireless routers) and, also, works together with third-party verification organizations, to make sure that the company’s products comply with security laws and regulations in various countries.
  • Improving electrical safety
  • To improve the electrical safety of its products Huawei:
    • implements a systematic electrical safety assurance system
    • actively participates in standards initiatives by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC)
    • has a dedicated electrical safety lab certified by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS)
    • has strategic partnerships with major testing and certification organizations like UL, TÜV and ITS
    • carries out product design and testing according to international safety standards and separate national standards
  • Promoting the safety of laser products
  • To promote the safety of its laser products Huawei:
    • designs, tests and verifies all laser products according to the IEC 60825 security standards
    • has a dedicated laser safety lab for testing the safety of all laser products
    • makes sure that all laser products are certified by major international certification organizations like UL and TÜV
  • Promoting safe product design
  • Huawei’s ergonomic design team promotes safe product design, on the basis of real user scenarios. Ergonomic design is integrated into all phases of product planning, design, development and testing, to reduce health and safety risks.
  • Reducing product noise
  • To reduce the noise of a number of products Huawei – whose Environmental Acoustics Lab has achieved ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) and the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment (CNAS) – implements industry-leading noise simulation technology and redesigns product sizes and shapes, to minimize noise.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicator addressed in this case is: G4-PR1: Percentage of significant product and service categories for which health and safety impacts are assessed for improvement and the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 416-1 Assessment of the health and safety impacts of product and service categories

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Huawei, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we 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 original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

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/

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