Swedish Match believes that its sustainability efforts will provide tangible benefits to the environment, society, and a sustainable business. The Company’s vision of a world without cigarettes demonstrates the commitment to contributing to improved public health by providing products that are recognized as safer alternatives to cigarettes. Beyond this, Swedish Match looks forward to further developing and communicating its sustainability activities in a clear and consistent manner.
Swedish Match’s sustainability activities aim to provide value and includes, for example, a reduced negative environmental impact, adherence to high standards of conduct within the supply chain, an improved working environment for employees, and helping to improve the general welfare of local communities.
Swedish Match is in the midst of a transition from reporting according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G3 guidelines toward reporting in a manner that is based on GRI G4. One aim of this new reporting is to provide more in depth information for those areas that the Company considers to be of greater importance, and a clearly defined strategic direction and approach. Swedish Match’s focus and approach emphasizes issues most impactful to People, Product, and Planet.
What is Swedish Match’s view on sustainability?
Sustainability entails generating value for the Company and its stakeholders while addressing environmental impacts – in order to assure long term and sustainable growth.
Swedish Match creates shareholder value by offering tobacco consumers enjoyable products of superior quality in a responsible way. By providing products that are recognized as safer alternatives to cigarettes, Swedish Match can contribute significantly to improved public health.
For Swedish Match, a sustainable and responsible business goes hand in hand. Consistent with the Swedish Match vision, the Company works systematically with Corporate Sustainability across the organization – a work that provides many long term benefits to the Company. It helps to make Swedish Match more competitive, to identify and reduce costs and risks, as well as to strengthen the corporate reputation and brand. It also enables the Company to be an attractive employer. Working with sustainability is thus an important element for Swedish Match’s value creation and future growth.
Does Swedish Match engage in corporate social responsibility?
For Swedish Match, social responsibility implies working conscientiously and responsibly in relation to the Company’s external stakeholders.
Value creation derived from working closely with external stakeholders can have direct positive benefits on the Group as well as to the stakeholders themselves. Swedish Match has chosen to structure its social responsibility communication towards four stakeholder groups/areas external to the Company: suppliers, consumers and the marketplace, communities, as well as regulators and scientific bodies.
Swedish Match has a long history of social investments and community involvement. The Company’s approach is to conduct community projects that are relevant to local business operations and to make investments in other independent projects. These include providing support for children, the disabled, and people in need. Other important initiatives include safeguarding cultural heritage, enriching public community life (such as supporting the arts and educational institutions), and restoring public spaces. Swedish Match may also decide to provide emergency relief in the event of natural disasters.
In Sweden, Swedish Match has supported The Solstickan Foundation for 75 years through its sales of certain lights products. For every product sold under the Solstickan brand, a portion of sales goes to the Solstickan Foundation. The Foundation works primarily towards the benefit of children and the elderly who are chronically ill or disabled.
In Brazil, Swedish Match continues its community involvement by supporting the “Bom Menino” (Young Boy) project, which is a skill building program that enables youths, ages 14 to 18, from low income families to develop educational, employment, and social skills.
For more examples, see the 2014 Sustainability Report, pages 32-33.
Child labor within the tobacco supply chain still exists. What is Swedish Match’s view on child labor and what actions have been taken to combat it?
Child labor is indeed a difficult issue to tackle, but one that needs to be addressed.
Swedish Match does not tolerate child labor and our view on this issue follows the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 32.1.This article defines child labor as economic exploitation of children and states that children should not perform work that is likely to be hazardous or harmful to the child’s health as well as physical, mental, spiritual, moral, or social development or interferes with the child’s education (Code of Conduct, section 22.214.171.124).
Among tobacco farmers, there is a known risk for incidents of child labor. The Company therefore continuously works with its tobacco suppliers and through industry collaboration to ensure that the issue of child labor is addressed.
The Company’s tobacco purchasers visit suppliers and tobacco markets on a yearly basis to proactively discuss social issues. In addition to promoting responsible farming practices, the respect of human rights and other important matters, Swedish Match partners with suppliers in its efforts toward the elimination of child labor in the supply chain.
Swedish Match is a small purchaser in the global tobacco market; the Company buys less than one percent of the world’s total tobacco supply. The Company’s tobacco leaf suppliers are all audited by other large international tobacco companies as well as Swedish Match. The suppliers also have own strict policies with regard to human rights, child labor, and farming practices.
In 2013, Swedish Match entered into an agreement with AB Sustain (previously LeafTc), an independent and experienced consultant, in order to enhance the supplier responsibility process within the Company’s tobacco leaf supply chain. For more information, please see 2014 Sustainability Report, pages 22-23.
Furthermore, Swedish Match is since 2008 represented on the Board of the ECLT Foundation, Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco Growing. ECLT is an international alliance of several parties active in different parts of the tobacco industry (trade unions, growers, and companies) with the ILO and Save the Children as advisory bodies. The aim is to eliminate child labor on tobacco fields. Swedish Match’s major tobacco suppliers are also members of ECLT and in many cases have programs of their own to help enable young people to receive education. Swedish Match believes that eliminating child labor in tobacco is an issue that is better handled in a joint effort between trade unions, the corporate sector (manufacturing industry), and the tobacco growers (ITGA, International Tobacco Growers’ Association). Most of the other larger tobacco companies are also members of the organization. For more information, please see 2014 Sustainability Report, pages 22-23.
How does Swedish Match decide on which GRI measures to report?
For the past years, Swedish Match has conducted a sustainability stakeholder survey among prioritized stakeholder groups (consumers, customers/retailers, employees, legislators/regulators, investors/financial analysts, the scientific/health community, and suppliers). This methodical engagement helps the Company to consider the views of stakeholders and to examine whether the Company is focusing on sustainability activities that are material to stakeholders.
Based on recent sustainability stakeholder surveys, Swedish Match has chosen to conceptualize and focus its efforts on seven strategic sustainability focus areas deemed to be material to the Company. The Company has set overall ambitions within each area, and going forward the focus will be to set clear objectives and targets. Swedish Match works to encourage positive changes through its activities toward each stakeholder group.
Is the Company listed on any Sustainability Index?
Swedish Match is listed on the OMX GES Sustainability Index Sweden, which rates Swedish companies on their preparedness on environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG).