Article: Systembolaget sells 25% of the world’s Fairtrade wine
Systembolaget sold one quarter of all the Fairtrade-labelled wine produced in the world in 2015. ONE QUARTER! And behind the scenes, Systembolaget is working, day in, day out, to ensure good working conditions throughout the supply chain. This is how we do it.
A great many people worldwide work to produce and deliver the drinks that Systembolaget sells. And ensuring that these people enjoy good working conditions is one of our most important areas of responsibility.
Substantial interest in ethical products
Our customers’ interest in ethical products, for example, meant that 25 per cent of all Fairtrade-labelled wine worldwide was sold at Systembolaget in 2015. And the ethical products sold at Systembolaget generated over SEK 5 million that was returned to the vineyard workers.
Who picks the grapes?
These figures are obviously good news, but working to ensure good working conditions in the supply chain is about much more than selling ethically-labelled wine, for example. And the challenge we face is not an insignificant one.
“The biggest challenge in ensuring good working conditions is, without doubt, the complexity of our supply chain. We have over 700 active drinks suppliers who have, in turn, numerous different subcontractors and partners. Which makes finding out where a particular component of a bottle of wine was originally produced and who actually picked the grapes, for example, a very complex process,” says Tommy Nykvist, who is the Sustainability Director of Systembolaget’s purchasing department. Tommy emphasises that we have made some progress, but that much still remains to be done.
So how do you take global responsibility for good working conditions? The agreements between Systembolaget and all of our suppliers of alcoholic drinks include Systembolaget’s Code of Conduct. The Code is based on international agreements, such as the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation’s conventions on human rights in working life.
“Our general purchasing terms and conditions oblige our suppliers of alcoholic drinks to comply with these requirements on working conditions and human rights,” says Tommy Nykvist.
Increasing the number of audits
Systembolaget does not rest on its laurels when a supplier of alcoholic drinks undertakes to comply with the rights mandated in the agreement. We also carry out audits all over the world every year in order to check that they are also complying with the demands imposed by Systembolaget.
“In 2016, we carried out just over 100 audits, and next year, Systembolaget will be doubling that figure. Most of the audits are carried out by external auditors, but we have also started carrying out our own audits during the past year. This enables us to ensure that the information we receive from the audits and suppliers is accurate,” says Tommy Nykvist.
Who do we audit?
We have drawn up a model for selecting which producers to audit in order, as far as possible, to ensure that Systembolaget is auditing the right places. This is how it works:
- We start by mapping our entire fixed range and seeing how many products are produced in “at risk countries”. In 2016, 590 products matched this criterion.
- The 590 products are then individually reviewed by Systembolaget, after which we assess every single product on the basis of, amongst other things, our “at risk country” analysis, our knowledge of the region, and other factors relevant to the product in question (for example if it has undergone a generally accepted sustainability certification process).
- We then audit the producers of the products where there is, in our opinion, an elevated risk of deficiencies in the production conditions.
“At risk countries” increasingly important
Our efforts to ensure good working conditions in the supply chain are now being further intensified, as will become clear in 2017.
“Our goal in 2017 is to carry out 200 audits, and we will also be improving the way we follow-up on suppliers by appointing a person who will primarily be working with those of our suppliers who sell products from “at risk countries” and which sell in large volumes, that is products in our fixed range,” says Tommy Nykvist.