News; Jun 12, 2009 CET

Thinking green

Swedish Match works with reducing the negative burden on the environment. Inside Magazine looks at some of the facilities to see how they are reaching the targets.

Cecilia Wiksfors, Engineering & Quality Manager and Camilla Engdahl, Environmental Coordinator, both working at the Gothenburg plant in Sweden, say that their work involves conscious decisions both large and small.

“Swedish Match is a company that has been doing business for a long time and we have continuously been working to improve our environmental efforts. Today, it is more about dealing with issues in the daily work,” Engdahl says.

These could include anything from introducing organic coffee in the staff canteens, to choosing less environmentally harmful business trips, or how to deal with and reduce waste in the factories.

“We constantly improve our daily operations and make our environmental work an integrated part of our business,” Engdahl says. Engdahl views information and training as important parts of reaching the environmental targets within Swedish Match.

“We have training for all our employees about what we can do on a daily basis,” she says. “If you start talking about the environment, it increases awareness around these issues. That becomes a positive effect in itself.

When major new constructions or new installations are to be assembled in the factories, it is natural to come up with a holistic solution that takes into account business demands and the environment at the same time.

One example is to gradually install measuring equipment to calculate the actual electricity usage of machines and production lines.

“It gives us a method where we can continuously measure and see the usage. We make efficient evaluations in order to improve finances and guidelines,” Engdahl says.

Swedish Match has a relatively low effect on the environment and Swedish Match North Europe Division is ISO 14001 registered since 2003. Although that is a good thing, there is always more to do. The Distribution Center in Solna Sweden, has replaced fuel oil with heating fromhousehold waste.

“Transport and greenhouse-gas emissions are of course a constant challenge we work with, ” Wiksfors says. “Transporting our products from factories to the distribution centers as effectively and as environmentally friendly as possible requires action, and not just from us. We also evaluate our haulers’ environmental work.”

John Danhauer, Manager Utilities & Machine Shop at the Owensboro plant in North America, says great efforts have been made in all environment areas including reduction of energy, waste reduction, reductions in water use and reduction of discharges to air, land and water.

“The production facilities in the North America Division work very closely in the environmental area. All of the production facilities are ISO 14001 registered and share a common commitment to environmental excellence. We share resources and ideas regularly,” Danhauer says.

“Business trips affect the environment, so we are trying to choose travel by train instead of flying when it’s possible and also replace physical trips with video, telephone and web meetings,” Wiksfors says.

For example rail transport is prioritized, which is less environmentally harmful than truck transports, but unfortunately the railroad network is not always extended to areas where the company needs it.

”Thinking environmentally is here to stay. What we have to do is to prioritize the right activities and follow up the results. You can’t do everything at once. But small, gradual improvements make a big difference in the long run.”

"Thinking environmentally is here to stay"


Important to reduce environmental impact

Swedish Match believes that environmental efforts contribute to long-term sustainable development of the environment and business operations.

“It’s important for Swedish Match to contribute to a better environment by measure and to reduce our environmental impact,” Nina Hanses, Vice President Management Resources and responsible for environmental issues at Swedish Match, says. “A co-operation, called the Environment Council, works across divisions and aims to identify environmental measurements applicable to the organization. The result provides the possibility to benchmark towards other companies.

“This co-operation is a way to strengthen our efforts. By working across divisions, we utilize our knowledge and expertise in the best way. We create a structure where we can easily improve, develop and follow up our work.”

Swedish Match is a company of subsidiaries and a player in international markets. The factories round the world all share high environmental standards.

“Our philosophy is that environmental efforts should be carried out in the local processes. Our targets should be based on identified environmental impacts relevant to that specific operation,” Hanses says.

“And they have to be clear, relevant and easy to measure.”

Many environmental efforts are achieved in the local day-to-day business in close connection with customers, consumers and employees.

For Swedish Match it is important to contribute to a better environment for society at large.

“As a responsible business we continuously strive to limit our negative impact on the environment. As important as reducing environment impact is the result it brings in terms of great cost savings for our operations,” Hanses says.


Environmental council

The Group Environmental Council, with representatives from all divisions, is responsible for environmental issues and for reporting environmental results. The Environmental Council has formulated a common working platform for environmental issues. Its task is to safeguard compliance with Swedish Match’s stated policy and the Environmental Management System.