Founded in 1987 in China, Huawei is a leading manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. The company serves telecommunications carriers, enterprises and consumers. It has a global presence, with employees in more than 170 countries and 14 research and development (R&D) centres around the world.
Huawei has a number of activities aimed at closing the digital gender gap, including training programmes and scholarships. The company has several products catering to children with disabilities. It also supports access through a project that converts shipping containers into networked medical centres for remote communities in New Zealand, supporting real-time consultations with doctors and specialists.
Huawei’s TECH4ALL programmes supports skill development across different levels. In Kenya, Huawei works with several global and local partners to provide classes to students in remote communities. The classes are delivered in converted shipping containers on wheels, equipped with laptops, virtual reality headsets and built-in Wi-Fi. Furthermore, the Huawei ICT Academy provides technical training, partnering with over 600 universities.
The company’s cybersecurity practices follow industry norms. It has clear policies on cybersecurity, including defining internal processes for dealing with security issues and having an incident response team and information security management certification.
Huawei has a high-level statement supporting open source initiatives and standards. It contributes to open source platforms and is a member of numerous open source communities. The company also shows evidence of using technology for sustainable purposes, such as cloud technology and sound monitoring to detect illegal logging.
Huawei has an opportunity to enhance disclosure on its access-related initiatives by reporting the number of people with disabilities it employs, as well as whether it works with people with disabilities to improve its products. The company should also demonstrate how the economic value it creates is distributed among its stakeholders.
Huawei has an opportunity to support intermediate digital skills development to fill the gap between its activities for basic and technical skills development. Additional metrics on its existing programmes, including third-party assessments, can help the company better understand and communicate programme impacts.
The company has an opportunity to make a high-level commitment to child online protection. No evidence was found that the company publishes a transparency report about government requests for its data. In contrast to the previous benchmark, no evidence was found that Huawei disclosed its number of data breaches.
Huawei has an opportunity to demonstrate support for social or non-profit start-ups. The company can also increase transparency regarding the diversity of its R&D activities by reporting on the number of women it employs in R&D roles and the locations of its R&D facilities. While there is evidence of Huawei’s academic collaboration on AI ethics governance, no evidence was found of how the company considers ethics in product development.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Huawei commits to respecting human rights, but does not have a commitment to respect all the labour fundamentals outlined in the ILO core labour rights, including the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Furthermore, the company does not disclose a process to identify, assess and take action on salient human rights risks in its own operations and in its business relationships. While the company has a grievance mechanism accessible to both workers and external stakeholders to raise human rights concerns and complaints, it is unclear if complainants are able to choose to identify themselves or remain anonymous.
Huawei publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers, and it places health and safety expectations on its business relationships and monitors their performance. Furthermore, the company publicly states an expectation that its business relationships will not require workers to work more than regular and overtime hours. However, it does not provide a similar public statement in relation to its own workers. In relation to workforce diversity, the company provides a breakdown of employees in different employee categories by age and gender. However, it does not disclose against any other indicators of diversity per employee category. The company lacks disclosure on the topics of living wage and collective bargaining.
Huawei has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, and it includes anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in contracts with its business relationships. It also has a grievance mechanism for stakeholders to raise concerns and complaints on the topic. However, while the company has a UK-specific tax strategy, it does not have a global tax strategy. Nor does it disclose income tax payments in individual tax jurisdictions. Huawei specifies that it does not make political contributions, but it does not disclose its approach to lobbying and political engagement or its lobbying expenditures.