Code of Conduct

Essity’s Code of Conduct is the main steering document in responsible business operations. Essity’s Code of Conduct applies to all employees within the Group.

Essity’s Code of Conduct is based on international standards, including the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Core Conventions, the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN Global Compact Principles and related legislation. All employees are provided with the necessary training and other prerequisites to comply with Essity’s “Beliefs & Behaviors” and Code of Conduct.

Essity expects its joint-venture companies to implement a Code of Conduct and guidelines equivalent to those stipulated in Essity’s Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct training

Systematic activities, such as risk analyses, regular training, audits and other monitoring processes are in place to ensure compliance with the Code. All employees are regularly trained in the Code of Conduct, including human rights, and what to do if they wish to report a breach. In addition to this, the Code of Conduct is included in all on-boarding programs across the company.

Procedures for reporting breaches

Essity offers its employees a number of channels for reporting breaches of the law or the Code of Conduct, such as through their line manager, HR Director, legal counsel or the compliance function. Employees also have the opportunity to use a whistleblower system managed by an external party. Employees are able to report breaches anonymously, where permitted by law. The external whistleblower system is currently available for use in some 30 countries.

Code of Conduct audits

Essity’s internal audit unit monitors compliance with the Code of Conduct. The facilities to be audited are determined by such factors as the social and environmental risks in the country of operation, whether the facility is a recent acquisition or if there are any indications of non-compliance with Essity’s policies.

The content of the audits emanates from Essity’s Code of Conduct, while the approach and methods are based on the SA8000 standard. The audits are conducted by cross-disciplinary teams from Essity, and include representatives from the internal audit, human resources and sourcing functions. The audits involve a review of documentation, inspection of the facility with a focus on health and safety, and interviews with managers, employees and union representatives.

Every audit results in a report and action plan for the audited unit, which are followed up. The results of the audits are reported to Essity’s Board via the Audit Committee.

Competition rules

Essity has a comprehensive program for compliance with competition rules. The training program is mandatory for employees who encounter these issues during the course of their work.

The program includes risk analysis, e-learning, guidelines and recurring training sessions.

Business practice audits

Essity’s business practice audits are conducted by the internal audit unit. The audits focus on business ethics and Essity’s relationships with customers, suppliers and authorities. A large number of interviews are performed with managers and employees to ensure the effectiveness of the control environment and challenges in the local environment.