Risks, external dialogue and materiality analysis
Essity is active in working together with various stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations on us and on our products and solutions. By working closely with our customers and consumers, we can develop long-term and sustainable relationships and can also gain valuable input for continuous improvements and ways of working.
Risks and opportunities
Essity is exposed to risks that could exert a greater or lesser impact on the company. The annual strategy process includes an analysis phase and assessment of the risks present in the business units. Risks may have a positive or negative impact on Essity. Correctly handled, they may entail business opportunities.
The responsibility for long-term and overall management of strategic risks follows the company’s delegation scheme, from the Board of Directors to the President, and from the President to the Business Unit Presidents. A description of the most significant risks that impact Essity’s opportunities to achieve its established targets, and how these risks are managed, is presented in the chapter Risks and risk management.
An active stakeholder dialogue is one way of ensuring that Essity’s priorities and ways of working are relevant in today’s society. Essity seeks to actively engage with customers, consumers, employees, investors, suppliers, media, NGOs, governments, politicians, decision-makers, regulators and academics. Millions of people across the globe have an impact on, and an interest in Essity’s business. We must act in harmony with the society in which we operate in order to be relevant. An ongoing and responsive dialogue with our stakeholders helps us understand the expectations on us as a company and how we can develop and improve. It also helps us to understand the needs of our customers and consumers, build long-term relationships and to formulate and implement our business strategy.
Key areas for Essity and our stakeholders
The materiality analysis highlights the areas that are significant to us at Essity and to our stakeholders. It also forms the basis of Essity’s strategy and sustainability work. The analysis is based on a survey conducted in 2017 of about 1,000 stakeholders including customers, consumers, suppliers, investors, analysts and employees. The stakeholder groups’ results were weighted to provide a balanced view of the results.
Business ethics was ranked as the most important area. Free and fair competition is an important cornerstone in every society, and for every sustainable business operation. We have zero tolerance for all forms of corruption and unethical business practices and expect our suppliers to adhere to the same rules, in accordance with our Global Supplier Standard.
Innovation was ranked as the second most important area. By maintaining close proximity to our customers and consumers, understanding their needs and transforming this knowledge into products and solutions, Essity makes a positive difference in people’s everyday lives, which strengthens our market positions and brands.
Customer and consumer satisfaction was ranked third. Customer understanding and consumer insight determine the innovations Essity develops and how finished products and solutions are delivered to the market. A dialogue with consumers is conducted through focus groups, in-depth interviews and other alternatives. Our sales representatives provide a great deal of know-how to the development work.
Health and safety are important to our stakeholders and critical for Essity’s business. Essity’s aim is zero workplace accidents. The health and safety of employees in the workplace has the highest priority. In addition to promoting health and safety at our own sites, we check suppliers’ practices and collaborate with them to improve safety performance.
Strong brands and market positions are built on innovative products and solutions that simplify everyday life. Strong brands mean the company can increase the impact of its innovations. A strong corporate brand also enhances the company’s potential to attract new employees.
Other key areas highlighted in the survey include transparency, human rights, resource efficiency, corporate governance and product safety. For more information, read the chapter Materiality analysis.