Essity’s ambition is to promote sustainable and responsible business throughout its supply chain by choosing and rewarding partners who share our values and comply with our Code of Conduct and Global Supplier Standard.
Consumers and customers who use our products should feel secure in their safety and quality. They should also feel confident that the products are manufactured and supplied in a responsible and sustainable manner that never waivers in its respect for people and nature. To ensure this, our suppliers must sign our Global Supplier Standard and provide information about their health and safety agenda, working conditions, work environment and business ethics in the global database Sedex, and may be required to undergo an ethical audit depending on the results of our risk assessment. We constantly endeavor to further develop our procedures and processes in order to ensure that our sourcing is responsible.
Essity is one of the world’s largest buyers of pulp fiber. As such, we have the opportunity to promote sustainable forestry at the global level by ensuring that Essity only purchases fresh fiber derived through responsible forest management – forests managed under good working conditions and with respect for biodiversity and the rights of indigenous communities. All of the wood fiber that Essity buys and uses in its production must be certified in accordance with the FSC® or PEFC™ standard. At a minimum, the fiber must meet the requirements of the FSC standards for Controlled Wood, which guarantee that the origin of the fiber has been controlled by an independent party. The target includes all deliveries of fresh fiber (pulp, packaging, mother reels and goods purchased by Essity from other suppliers). We engage in an ongoing stakeholder dialogue in order to manage risks in the supply chain. During the year, for example, we were involved in a dialogue with Greenpeace regarding fiber sourcing from the boreal forest region.
We continuously work to optimize our supplier structure. In 2017, we approved additional suppliers, making it possible to purchase under central agreements, which give us the opportunity to purchase large volumes on favorable terms, and to purchase certain materials locally, thereby reducing transportation and contributing to the societies where we operate.
Our work with fiber suppliers
Customers and consumers must be able to trust that all of the fiber components in an Essity product are derived through responsible forest management. In addition to following FSC and PEFC standards, we always conduct our own risk assessments of fiber suppliers based on our fiber policy. Suppliers are also required to answer a questionnaire and present a traceability certificate for the fiber pulp. We also enlist external help, such as satellite technology, to gain an overall view of the suppliers’ operations and the challenges they present. We then carry out ongoing follow-ups with our suppliers and conduct site visits during which we inspect their work processes. Together, we can correct any deviations.
In conjunction with the FSC’s General Assembly, Essity signed the Vancouver Declaration, a public promise made by companies across the globe to work towards more sustainable sourcing of forest products.
In 2017, 3.7 million tons of fresh fiber were delivered as timber, pulp, packaging, mother reels and products from a third party. 65% of the fiber was FSC/PEFC certified and nearly 35% fulfilled FSC criteria for controlled fiber.
In 2017, Essity was recognized as a global leader for its action on water and wood fiber-based materials by CDP, an international not-for-profit charity that promotes a more sustainable economy. From thousands of participating companies, Essity is one of only four to qualify for the CDP’s A List for both Water and Forests. Essity also received a high score of A– for its management of climate-change risk.
Essity has shown its commitment to transparency by participating in the Environmental Paper Company Index 2017 (EPCI). The Group received an overall score of 78.7% and 94% for its responsible fiber sourcing.
At Essity, we are convinced that cooperation is a key aspect of ensuring that we are able to influence our suppliers. During the year, Essity joined the Better Cotton Initiative, which aims to improve the conditions for cotton growers.