Human rights and labour standards - UN Guiding principles of business and human rights

The human rights perspective has been part of SKF’s for decades and was formalized in the first issue of the SKF Code of Conduct in 2002, which was originally based on the SA8000 standard. When the UN Guiding Principles was launched, SKF’s Code of Conduct was updated to fulfil the demands of the policy commitment.

With 45,000 employees representing many cultures and are stationed in countries with various degrees of human and labour rights enforcement by the local government, it is imperative for us to formulate our approach with reference to international principles and guidelines, communicate our principles clearly across the organization and to deploy measures to ensure compliance to those principles.

How do we address human rights and labour standard issues? - Our principles

We want to create a positive and engaging work environment for our employees where their inputs are valued, work performance is recognized, health and safety is assured, and wellbeing is enhanced. Our employees are given equal opportunities to develop their skills and competence in order to reach their full potential. In turn, they support our continued success by working towards agreed goals in accordance with our values and drivers.

This commitment requires that:

• we offer safe and healthy workplaces for all employees at all times, and for contractors and visitors while on SKF premises.
• all employees be treated equally, fairly and with respect regardless of race, gender, age, national origin or nationality, disability, caste, religion, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.
• we encourage diversity to support SKF’s continual success in the global marketplace.
• we do not tolerate any forms of sexual or other kinds of harassments, threats or intimidation.
• we do not engage in, and we actively work against, the use of forced labour. Nobody shall be required to lodge “deposits” or identity papers when commencing employment with SKF. Employees have the right to terminate their employment with reasonable notice to SKF.
• we do not engage in, and we actively work against, the use of child labour. Employees must not be less than the age of completion of compulsory schooling and, in any case, shall not be less than 15 years. Young workers (above the legal working age and under 18 years old) shall not be exposed to hazardous work environments as defined by national laws or regulations.
• we respect the right of all employees to form and join trade unions of their choice and to bargain collectively and individually. We strive to facilitate these rights when freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted. We ensure that official representatives of such trade unions are not subject to discrimination and that such representatives have access to the union members and their workplace. We respect the rights of an employee not to join a trade union.
• we ensure that wages and other related benefits meet at least the legal or industry minimum standard in the country in question. Wages and benefits are rendered in full compliance with laws and collective agreements.
• we comply with applicable laws and industry standards on working hours in each country where we operate. In addition to local legislations, we shall ensure that safety is not compromised through excessive working hours.
• SKF management is encouraged to find ways to promote employee wellbeing.
• we strive to give employees good opportunities to train for job enrichment and wider responsibility. Employees are entitled to regular performance review and competency management review as expressed in the Individual Development Plan.
all employees shall be given a fair chance to compete for job opportunities. Unless overridden by national legislation, only relevant skills and competencies shall be the differentiating factors in selecting the right person for the job.
• we safeguard company assets from loss, theft and misuse. Company assets shall not be used for personal gain, fraudulent purposes or in any other inappropriate manner.
• employee data are treated with confidentiality and in accordance with applicable data privacy regulations.

To respect and protect the rights of people is not a matter of "if" but a "must" and we abide by this commitment with conviction.

International Framework Agreement

SKF was among the first industrial manufacturing companies in Sweden to sign an International Framework Agreement on labour standards and human rights with its World Works Council (2003)

Similar high standards from our business partners
The SKF Code of Conduct has been used as a reference to establish other documents such as the SKF Code of Conduct for Suppliers and Sub-contractors, and the SKF Code of Conduct for Distributors, demanding similar high levels of commitment from business partners.
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