Most common areas for development in occupational health and safety in wine production

Alko and its partners regularly audit producers from so-called high-risk countries to ensure their compliance with ethical operating principles. In spring 2017, a total of 12 production facilities and vineyards in South Africa, Chile and Argentina were audited.

Alko has engaged in social responsibility cooperation as a member of Business Social Compliance Initiative BSCI since 2012.  Auditing is part of responsible acquisitions. A trained auditor checks that workers’ conditions in wine production facilities and vineyards comply with the agreed principles. To conclude the audit, each producer draws up a plan and schedule for the rectification of any deficiencies, naming the persons responsible for making the changes. Alko monitors the realisation of these plans together with the importer.

The audits in spring 2017 showed that working conditions had improved at individual producers and subcontractors, though challenges remain to be tackled from the perspective of the entire wine industry. The most common areas for development concerned deficiencies in occupational health and safety. Overtime work exceeding the legal maximums is also regrettably common, especially during harvesting. Deviations were also noted in the use and storage of chemicals, adequacy of safety markings, general cleanliness and accessibility, and the weaker position of seasonal workers. The inspections did not reveal serious zero-tolerance deficiencies, such as child or forced labour.


*) Completed auditing reports included: 10/12.

Alko is participating in the Sustainable Wine Programme launched by BSCI, which tackles systematic deficiencies in the industry. The programme provides support to producers and subcontractors in their efforts to develop their operations to comply with internationally recognised ethical criteria, such as BSCI’s Code of Conduct. The programme will be piloted in Italy in the autumn.

Long-term cooperation to improve working conditions

Alko wants to do its part in safeguarding the rights of all employees in cooperation with the Nordic alcohol monopolies, goods suppliers and local influential parties in the industry. Our work to improve working conditions is both long term and systematic. Next year, we will carry out audit follow-up measures particularly in South Africa.

For years, Alko has been developing responsible procurements with other Nordic alcohol monopolies. Alko requires all importers of alcoholic beverages to commit to the BSCI Code of Conduct. In addition to ensuring the ethical nature of their own business, importers must also guarantee that the entire supply chain is aware of the principles underlying human and workers' rights.

Alko stocks dozens of internationally certified ethical trade products. Ethical trade is based on the principle that workers should receive appropriate compensation for their work, and that they have proper rights and working conditions. A generally accepted auditing system is in place for Fair Trade, Fair for life and For life certified products. Certified ethical trade products can be found in the wine, brewery and spirits product groups.