Collaboration for sustainability

The BSCI Code of Conduct requires a proactive approach by companies on the different tiers of the supply chain to make sure the ethical principles are adopted. Importers of alcohol beverages have to know their supply chain thoroughly and also to challenge their partners to assess and identify each company’s own and their sub-suppliers’ possible social risks. Supply chain monitoring and social audit visits will maintain their important role also in the future.

In Alko we systematically collect background information about products and organize social audits. Development of responsible purchasing was started in Alko already in 2008 and an important part is coordination with the other Nordic alcohol monopolies: Systembolaget in Sweden, Vinmonopolet in Norway and the monopolies of Iceland and Faroe Islands.

Our social audits focus on the s.c. risk countries of alcohol beverage production where legislation and/or its enforcement are not always up to the standard of international agreements and thus the position of workers is less than adequate. Agriculture, viticulture included, is a challenging sector in these countries due to e.g. use of seasonal and migrant workforce.

Our objective is to make sure that also in risk countries all producers in our supply chain at a minimum comply with national legislation or the international labor-related treaties, depending on which one grants workers a better position.

As of 2012 all Alko’s suppliers have been obliged to commit to responsible and ethical practices as a part of purchasing terms and conditions. This applies to wines, spirits, beers and other products. Social audits are arranged at all kinds of producers in addition to beverage sector, e.g. the Turkish producers of t-shirts worn by shop personnel were audited in 2014 before supplier selection.

Sustainability cooperation within the alcohol beverage sector

In Alko we support the capacity building of our suppliers by organizing training and workshops as well as by a purpose-built online e-learning about BSCI Code of Conduct. Training and information is also available directly from BSCI and we actively guide suppliers and producers to utilize the offering that best suits their needs.

The power of sector collaboration must be used for improvements. In 2016, BSCI has started a specific development pilot called Sustainable Wine Programme for the wine sector to bring together different alcohol retailers and producers, local sustainable certifiers and forums to improve the working conditions in wine production in selected risk countries: South Africa, Argentina and State of California in the US. Systembolaget and Alko are participating in the programme.