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Focus Topics – Social issues

Social issues:

Promoting ethical and transparent business practices in our partnerships

As a global company, we aim to guarantee high ethical standards when doing business with our partners. We are committed to minimising negative impacts and to creating a positive change that benefits both the people in our supply chain and the countries we source raw materials from. We see strong supplier relations based on transparency and trust as an opportunity to achieve a higher product and sustainability performance.

This is a cross-cutting topic affecting different stakeholder groups. In this chapter we focus on Sustainable purchasing, addressing the material matters “Supplier relations management”, “Pollution & substances of concern” and “Water use & quality” which have been identified in our double materiality assessment. Related social aspects are presented in the chapters Employee related issues and Respect for human rights.

Impacts, risks and opportunities


In complex supply chains like ours with thousands of suppliers, potential negative impacts are inherent. In addition to the environmental impacts referred to above (Environmental matters), the production of our raw materials implies potential negative social impacts, such as health and safety issues, forced labour, child labour and modern slavery along our supply chain.

Risks and opportunities

Identifying and addressing these issues requires substantial resources and introduces a new dimension to the role of procurement, as each new supplier may mean new risks and vulnerabilities. These changes make procurement more complex. At the same time, cost efficiency is key to economic sustainability – while customers are not necessarily willing to pay the cost of sustainable products. Not addressing the identified issues entails the risk of potential reputational damage.

By promoting fair labour practices, adequate protection of vulnerable groups and transparent governance we can meet our sustainability targets and further strengthen our reputation as a fair and ethical business partner. In addition, there are opportunities to work with large, established suppliers that help us minimise the above risks, receive premium products and implement sustainability measures together in a trustful partnership.

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