Ericsson is one of the biggest manufacturers of telecommunications equipment worldwide. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Sweden, it has a presence in 19 countries through manufacturing sites, service delivery centres, and research and development (R&D) facilities as well as other countries through sales offices and other activities.
Ericsson’s alliance with the Girl Scouts of the USA has created a platform to facilitate STEM-badge related activities and internship opportunities for high school students. Of the girls who have attended the camp, 86% report being more interested in STEM fields.
Ericsson demonstrates leading practice through programmes that cover basic, intermediate and technical skills development as well as increased school connectivity. The company’s Connect to Learn programme has been increasing access to technology-related education opportunities for vulnerable users since 2007. Its Digital Lab initiative teaches students in India, Italy, South Africa and Sweden skills such as programming, game development, robotics, AI and automation. Further, Ericsson has partnered with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and UNICEF on the Giga initiative to map school connectivity across the world with the aim of connecting every school to the internet by 2030.
Ericsson fulfils good practice for cybersecurity, including ensuring high-level responsibility and having a security incident response team, publicly available information security certification and detailed security incident reporting. Ericsson considers information security and data protection as key material topics and has adopted the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as the global baseline for its user privacy.
The company demonstrates a commitment to open source projects and standards and is a founding member of the Linux Foundation Networking Fund, which drives open source networking projects. It supports the tech innovation ecosystem through venture capital investments and Ericsson Innovation Awards. The company has also adopted the European Commission’s Ethics Guidelines for Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence.
Ericsson has an opportunity to report on the number of its employees with disabilities and its steps to create an accessible workplace for them. The company can enhance transparency by clearly disclosing its economic value distribution as well as disaggregated data on income taxes paid and employment in its countries of operations.
While the company’s programmes in skills development are far-reaching, both in scope and international reach, metrics relating to the initiatives are limited. In addition, the company has not carried out a third-party assessment of its Connect to Learn programme. More detailed reporting and assessment of the programme can help the company better understand and communicate its impact.
Ericsson commits to respecting human rights as well as the ILO core labour rights. The company identifies, assesses and takes action to address salient human rights issues in its own operations and in its business relationships. Furthermore, the company provides grievance mechanisms accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints. The company also identifies and engages with the stakeholders whose human rights are or may be impacted by its operations. However, it can improve transparency by disclosing specific examples of how it has engaged with these stakeholders in the last two years.
Ericsson publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers, but it does not disclose quantitative health and safety information, such as the rate of high-consequence work-related injuries. The company discloses what proportion of its workforce is covered by collective bargaining agreements. However, Ericsson does not disclose a commitment towards paying its workers a living wage. The company has publicly committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment but has less than 30% women on its board. The company does, however, disclose a breakdown of employees by gender and age in various employee categories.
Ericsson has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption and takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption risks and impacts. The company has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns on the topic, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with business relationships. However, the company does not disclose a global tax strategy. Ericsson’s tax strategy only covers its UK business operations. Furthermore, the company does not disclose income tax payments in individual tax jurisdictions. The company also does not demonstrate a sufficient commitment to responsible lobbying and political engagement and does not report on key metrics under this topic.