Environmental responsibility is about both major policies and everyday deeds

The most significant climate impacts of Alko’s operations as a whole come from the manufacture of the products and beverage packaging. The most significant climate impacts of our own operations come from the energy consumption of our head office and stores.

We are committed to reducing the environmental impact of our operations in order to fight climate change, and also to reduce any surplus use of natural resources both in our operations and in the supply chains of the products we sell. We implement the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, to which Finland is committed. Read more about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals in Alko’s operations.

The biggest climate impacts arise from supply chain

The biggest climate impacts arising from Alko’s business come from the production of beverages and beverage packaging in the supply chain. We are reducing climate impacts with the aid of recycled, bio-based and more lightweight materials, and with easily recyclable beverage packaging. We are supporting the increasing use of climate- and environmentally responsible practices in the beverage industry by listing more products with environmental and sustainable development certification as part of our Green Choice labelling.

Read more about environmental impact of alcoholic beverages and climate impacts of beverage packaging.

Everyday deeds – saving electricity and recycling waste

In Alko’s own operations, the most significant emissions are caused by energy consumption, in other words electricity and district heating consumption. Most of electricity consumption comes from lighting business premises. All of Alko’s signs and logos are lit by energy-efficient LED lights. In-store spotlights have also been changed from halogens to LEDs. Backroom areas have been equipped with motion sensors to save electricity. We are also actively seeking to minimise the number of refrigerators and cold storage spaces in our stores in order to save electricity.

We always take energy efficiency into consideration when renovating and modernising our store. After a renovation, the electricity consumption of the store decreases by about 10 per cent per square metre.

When it comes to waste, our stores mainly generate packaging plastic and cardboard. Pallet plastic (the transparent plastic wrap used to secure pallets) is a valuable raw material in the circular economy. It is collected separately and sent for reuse.

Cardboard boxes are sorted for recycling. At locations where there is no separate cardboard recycling container, we collect the cardboard and send it for reuse in our own returning delivery vehicles.

Wooden boxes, which are mainly used to deliver wines to our stores, are often given to customers for further use. Depending on local waste management guidelines, unused boxes are sorted as mixed waste or waste-to-energy.

Alko’s network for the collection of empty wine bags from boxed and bagged wines covers nearly all our stores in Finland, barring a few exceptions. Wine bags returned to Alko collection points are reused in cement production. Read more about collection points.

More efficient goods transport

We reduce emissions from goods transport within Finland by combining deliveries. For example, the cardboard bales, pallet plastic and wine bags collected by Alko stores are always transported on returning delivery vehicles. Many deliveries utilise equipment that can be reused – pallets and crates can be reused dozens of times.

Store personnel play a key role in putting responsibility into practice

At Alko, we continually maintain our personnel’s competence in environmental responsibility. Salespersons not only do everyday environmental deeds, but are also able to influence customers’ purchasing decisions. For example, telling a customer about Alko’s Green Choice labelling may help them make more environmentally sustainable choices. At the same time, by reminding our customers about the possibility for returning empty wine bags at Alko stores, we can encourage our customers to recycle these types of non-refundable and otherwise hard-to-recycle beverage packaging.

Environmental responsibility targets

Our objectives for 2030 are:

  • to reduce the climate impacts of beverage packaging by 50 per cent compared to 2020
  • to increase the percentage of Green Choice products in our selection to 70 per cent
  • to be carbon neutral in terms of our own electricity consumption and domestic deliveries by 2030.

Environmental system spurs continual improvement

Alko’s head office and store network use the ISO 14001:2015 international environmental system. It helps us to identify, reduce and – in the best case scenario – prevent the harmful effects of our operations on the environment.

Alko has been following the principles of this system since 2011. In 2014, certification was granted to the head office in Helsinki and regional offices and stores all around Finland.

Alko’s environmental policy

Our environmental policy specifies our environmental objectives and the principles we follow in our own operations and value chain. We adhere to our due diligence obligation in corporate responsibility and comply with the legislation and official regulations that apply to our operations. In addition, our operations are guided by the ISO 14001 environmental management standard.

Alko strives to be a pioneer in responsibility. To this end, each and every Alko employee must uphold responsibility in their day-to-day work. We constantly develop our product selection, expertise and service with a focus on responsibility perspectives.

We regularly assess the climate and environmental impacts of our entire value chain, and reduce these impacts in both our own operations and the value chain together with our stakeholders and partners.

We reduce the environmental impacts of our own operations by, for instance:

  • improving energy-efficiency,
  • enhancing store transport and
  • taking care of recycling.

We work together with the actors in our value chain, all the way from primary production with a view to ensuring responsible beverage production.

  • We expect our value chain to embrace best practices in terms of soil health, biodiversity, use of chemicals and fertilisers, the circular economy, water consumption, energy efficiency and climate emissions.
  • Furthermore, switching over to more responsible beverage packaging is one of the most important means of mitigating climate impacts.

In addition to reducing the climate and environmental impacts of our value chain, we want to enable and encourage our customers to make responsible product choices.

Alko’s Board of Directors and management are committed to reaching our responsibility targets and the continuous development of responsibility. Our responsibility targets include environmental objectives that extend up to the year 2030 – we proactively promote and monitor their realisation in line with the principles of continuous improvement.

We require all our partners to commit to environmental responsibility in accordance with the amfori Code of Conduct.

Alko’s Management Team and Board of Directors have approved our environmental policy.

Updated 05/2022