Responsibility management

At Alko, responsibility is an integral principle that permeates all of our operations.

The Alcohol Act legally requires Alko to engage in the retail sale of alcoholic beverages with the aim of preventing the harmful effects of alcohol consumption. Alko must also pay particular attention to the rational use of natural resources and environmental protection standards.

Strategic responsibility management

Our responsibility management is based on the task specified for Alko by the Alcohol Act. We manage our responsibility strategically. Alko’s strategic focus areas are: customers, personnel, responsibility and finances. To support our responsibility management, we have a responsibility programme that contains policies for the focal areas of our planned measures. We set annual targets for both responsible operations and developing our responsibility management, and also measure our success in achieving them. We assess the responsibility of our operating methods in all of our operations.

The responsibility steering group handles any development projects or measures involving responsibility issues. The Executive Vice President, Communication chairs this steering group, and makes progress and action reports to the company’s Management Team and the Board of Directors. Alko's Supervisory Board approves an action plan for achieving this aim for one calendar year at a time. The President & CEO reports on overall responsibility management to Alko’s General Meeting.

The Board’s Alcohol Policy Committee prepares alcohol policy-related matters for presentation to the Board of Directors.  The leader of each business unit and support function is in charge of operative management in responsibility issues as well.

Results of the management approach

Alko sets strategic success indicators for responsibility on an annual basis. We have two company-level indicators: Alko’s score in the Confidence & Reputation survey and our success in responsible sales work.

The Confidence & Reputation survey measures factors affecting stakeholder support, including perceptions of companies’ responsibility. Alko’s target score for responsibility was 3.46 (3.42) and its actual score 3.31. The survey report does not give any single reason for this significant fall in Alko’s score. We assume that the debate surrounding Alcohol Act reforms has contributed to the downswing. In order to identify the actual reasons, Alko will be conducting a more in-depth survey of the factors influencing perceptions of Alko’s responsibility during spring 2018. The Confidence & Reputation survey indicated that Alko’s strengths were its extensive and high-quality product selection, and its good employer image.

Our second responsibility indicator is success in responsible customer service. In 2017, our stores exceeded the Mystery Shopping target of 92 per cent. Age checks were performed on 95 per cent of mystery shoppers (2016: 91 per cent), while five per cent were not checked. We have therefore already succeeded in our objective to raise our Mystery Shopping success rate from 91 to 95 per cent by 2020. Mystery shopping is a research method based on observation, in which professional test customers telephone, do business with or contact a company electronically as ordinary customers requiring service.

The results of our responsibility indicators are part of the strategic incentive scheme approved in 2017.

We want to do even better

At Alko, responsibility management forms part of our efforts to promote social wellbeing. Social wellbeing is a criterion that unites all of our stakeholders. We believe that discussion and open dialogue about responsibility themes should be easy and natural. However, on the basis of feedback from the Confidence and Reputation survey, it appears that Alko is not considered interactive. This is something we want to fix. Alko wants to be open, interactive, and transparent. In future, we intend to be more active in our cooperation with our customers, owner and business partners, with other organisations and associations, and with all of our stakeholders.

The responsible actions that had the most impact in 2017 were:
  • Successful sales supervision that exceeded targets 
  • Learn to Say No –sales supervision campaign
  • You Are Not Alone responsibility seminar 
  • Making environmental product information more visible in stores
  • Close and continual cooperation with beverage suppliers to promote responsible operating methods
  • Updating the online responsibility training courses targeted at Alko’s partners