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.

Previous targets for the end of 2020 were:

  • Forty per cent of the products in Alko’s selection will carry at least some Green Choice environmental data.
  • Single-use plastic products, including plastic bags, have been replaced with a range of more sustainable auxiliary products.
  • A ten per cent reduction in the amount of packaging waste (cardboard and transparent pallet plastic) compared to 2017.
  • Electricity consumption (kWh/m2) in stores and at head office has been reduced by ten per cent compared to 2017.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions caused by electricity consumption have been reduced by 50 per cent compared to 2017.

Read more about how we achieved our goals in Alko’s Annual Report for 2020.

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

Alko seeks to be Finland’s best retail store in terms of both service and responsibility. Achieving this will require the continual development of our selection, expertise, service and responsibility.

In our business development, we consider environmental perspectives such as preserving natural resources and reducing their consumption. Our goal is to identify and reduce environmental impacts, both in our own operations and our supply chain.

As in all of our operations, Alko complies with legislation and follows legislative amendments governing environmental issues. We also operate in accordance with the expectations placed upon us by our customers, stakeholders and society in general.

Alko’s environmental programme includes the following areas:

  • The materials we use are chosen with environmental perspectives in mind.
  • We are economical in our energy consumption and seek to use renewable energy.
  • Our transport logistics are efficient, and we make sure that materials are recycled.
  • We highlight ecological and ethical products in our selection (Green Choice and ethically certified products).
  • We make sure that products are safe.
  • We ensure the safety of our customers and personnel.
  • We continually develop our personnel’s competence.
  • We inform our stakeholders of our targets, and work in close collaboration with our stakeholders.