Can you describe your sustainability strategy?
Our sustainability strategy emphasizes six areas – public health, ethical business practices, equal opportunity, greenhouse gases, waste, and child labor, which are material to our Company as a whole and in the long term. Our vision of a world without cigarettes is central to our sustainability strategy and how we contribute to making the world a better place.
Our focus areas form the basis for our common roadmap; this is where we put extra effort and coordinate external reporting of our progress. Swedish Match is a global company made up of fairly autonomous local units. Our aim has been to establish a common group approach in our focus areas, while at the same time allowing for differences and tailored targets and actions at local operating unit level.
Sustainability work spans across a broad array of topics, and for best impact and transparency we believe that group-wide efforts and reporting are most effective if concentrated to key areas of focus. Other sustainability efforts relevant to our Company, outside the scope of our focus areas, will continue to be encouraged and are best managed locally. This includes, for example, operational health and safety and emphasizing the well-being of our employees.
Who is responsible for sustainability issues at Swedish Match?
Senior Vice President Investor Relations and Corporate Sustainability is responsible for sustainability issues at Swedish Match.
Swedish Match’s vision is a world without cigarettes. What do you mean by that, and what about cigars?
Swedish Match develops, manufactures, and sells quality products with market-leading brands. The Company’s product areas are Snus and moist snuff, Other tobacco products (cigars and chewing tobacco), Lights (matches, lighters, and complementary products), and Other operations. With its vision of “a world without cigarettes”, the Company is dedicated to the improvement of public health by offering attractive alternatives to cigarettes with its smokeless products.
Swedish Match is dependent on having relevance and size to reach new markets. A portfolio of various products is needed to be able to reach markets in the US and to successfully reach out with snus and nicotine products without tobacco.
Which are Swedish Match’s focus areas and goals?
Our six focus areas and overall goals are:
- Improve public health. Our goal is to eliminate cigarette use and tobacco related morbidity and mortality by offering smokers attractive sources of nicotine for recreational use (such as Swedish snus and other nicotine containing products like ZYN).
- Ensure ethical business practices. At Swedish Match, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that ethical business practices are maintained within our own company and in our relationships with all outside parties.
- Support equal opportunity. Our continuing objective is to be a truly open and inclusive employer. In this environment, with zero tolerance for discrimination, all employees have equal opportunity to achieve their full potential – resulting in a more diverse workplace.
- Reduce greenhouse gases. Our goal is to reflect the commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement and thereby reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in our value chain.
- Reduce waste. Our goal is to reduce waste generated at our own production facilities.
- Eliminate child labor. Our goal is the elimination of child labor in the Company’s value chain.
How did you come up with your 6 focus areas? What was the process? Aren’t other areas also important?
Our most recent stakeholder survey (with customers, consumers, suppliers, employees, the financial and scientific communities, as well as regulators) on sustainability topics was conducted in 2015. Results from the survey provided important input to a materiality analysis conducted in 2016. The process, resulting in our focus areas, was directed by the Group Management Team. Key internal stakeholders representing a wide range of departments and different operating units were involved and external expertise was consulted. Relevant sustainability frameworks were consulted in the process to define the issues that are material to Swedish Match. Materiality was assessed on the basis of the severity of issues in the global context, the Company’s actual impact, our potential to directly or indirectly influence the issue, as well as its impact on the long term viability of our business.
Our focus areas form the basis for our common roadmap; this is where we put extra effort and coordinate external reporting of our progress. Swedish Match is a global company made up of fairly autonomous local units. Our aim has been to establish a common group approach in our focus areas, while at the same time allowing for differences and tailored targets and actions at local operating unit level. Sustainability work spans across a broad array of topics, and for best impact and transparency we believe that group-wide efforts and reporting are most effective if concentrated to key areas of focus. Other sustainability efforts relevant to our Company, outside the scope of our focus areas, will continue to be encouraged and are best managed locally. This includes, for example, operational health and safety and emphasizing the well-being of our employees.
Do you do any risk mapping or analysis?
During 2016, we have mapped impact and assessed risk within important sustainability issues across units, with internal input and with help from external expertise.
For more information, please see Eliminate Child labor.
Does Swedish Match report on its sustainability efforts according to any global standard?
Successful sustainability activities require a methodical approach to reporting. Swedish Match has previously reported according to the GRI G3 guidelines at level B. We are currently not reporting according to a global standard, however we do have and are further developing a methodical approach to our efforts within sustainability and reporting.
Since 2007, Swedish Match contributes with data for greenhouse gas emissions in a global annual review administrated by the non-profit organization Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
What does Swedish Match mean when it talks about harm reduction?
“Harm Reduction” refers to policies, programs and practices that aim primarily to reduce the adverse health and social consequences of certain human behaviors. Swedish Match efforts in this regard are ultimately expressed in our Vision; A World Without Cigarettes. By offering smokers safe and attractive alternative sources of nicotine for recreational use, the prevalence of cigarette smoking can ultimately be eliminated and consequently its related morbidity and mortality.
Where can I find more information regarding the potential health risks associated with smokeless tobacco?
For information regarding the potential health risks associated with smokeless tobacco, please see the Snus and health section.
What do you think of the fact that youths use your products?
All products are not for everyone and some consumer groups should not use certain products. This is particularly true for tobacco products which are intended for adult use only. Certain other consumer groups are also deemed vulnerable.
Swedish Match has an Under 18 No Nicotine policy which firmly states that all tobacco (and nicotine-containing) products shall only be sold to adults of legal tobacco age in each market, and who are 18 years of age or older. This means that we shall not direct any marketing, advertising or promotion of tobacco or nicotine containing products to persons under the age of 18 or if any higher age restriction applies locally. To prevent the use of tobacco and nicotine by underage persons, we are committed to educating, informing and cooperating on an ongoing basis with retailers, distributors and public officials.
Does everyone at Swedish Match use tobacco products?
The use of tobacco by adults is a personal choice. Not everyone at Swedish Match uses tobacco products. Just like for adults working in all companies, some of our employees choose to use snus or smoke cigarettes.
Which areas do your Code of Conduct cover?
Swedish Match’s Code of Conduct is available on the Company’s website.
The Code consists of several topics related to the following four areas:
Our people: Swedish Match respects its employees and their human rights, and supports internationally proclaimed human rights conventions and guidelines wherever we operate. Our policy on human rights and employment practices is based on local and international labor laws, recommended practices and guidelines.
Our business: Swedish Match is committed to sound business ethics in all our business activities and relations with stakeholders, both within our own operations but also with regard to outside parties. We build relationships through honesty and integrity and we respect the laws and regulations in the countries in which we operate.
Our environment: Swedish Match promotes sound changes that reduce environmental impacts caused by our operations and we encourage our employees to be conscious and proactive in minimizing these impacts. We undertake programs to continuously improve our environmental performance.
Our job and workplace: Swedish Match is committed to responsible and safe practices and procedures in all business activities both on the job and in the workplace. We promote a working environment with high standards of ethics and morale, where our employees respect and care for one another, Swedish Match as well as the environment.
How can you be sure that your employees know and adhere to your Code of Conduct?
We keep track of our employees’ awareness of the Code, and whether our employees have reviewed or been informed about the Code, through employee opinion surveys. Mandatory training on the Code is done through e-learning to supplement town hall meetings and similar events. In 2017, 95 percent of the workforce has completed the training. (Relates to individual training for employees with personal e-mail accounts. In addition, group session training has been performed for employees in factories without personal e-mail accounts.) Our target is for all employees to have participated in the training on an ongoing basis. Matters addressed in the Code are continuously communicated to employees through, for example, the Company’s intranet.
How does Swedish Match work to prevent corruption and bribery?
At Swedish Match, we will take the necessary steps to ensure that ethical business practices are maintained within our own company and in our relationships with all outside parties. Our Code of Conduct provides the basic platform for the way we do business.
We have zero tolerance towards corruption and bribery. The Code states that Swedish Match shall not participate in, or through third parties, endorse any corrupt practices. The Code also provides clear guidelines on acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
For more information, please see the page Ensure ethical business practices on the website.
How does Swedish Match work to reduce its negative impact on the environment?
In our focus area Reduce greenhouse gases, we set out to do our part in reaching the global targets on climate change, taking into account emissions in our full value chain.
In our focus area Reduce waste, we work systematically to reduce waste in production. We enhance the effectiveness of our work by sharing best practice across the Group.
Why are not all of Swedish Match’s production facilities certified according to the ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 standards?
Swedish Match has focused on certifying those facilities that account for the largest part of the Company’s production and sales.
The majority of our production facilities (10 of 13) are ISO 14001 certified. Non-certified factories are our match factories in Curitiba and Piraí do Sul, Brazil, as well as the Silkeborg factory for smokeless products in Denmark.
What is your position on the Paris agreement regarding greenhouse gases?
In our focus area Reduce greenhouse gases,
our goal is to reflect the commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement and thereby reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in our value chain.
We commit to do our part in addressing climate change and to set science-based targets for our business’ value chain.
For more information, please see Reduce greenhouse gases.
Swedish Match is a major supplier of matches. What can you say about sustainable forestry practices and biodiversity? What about FSC certification?
Timber for our match production is grown and sourced locally, close to our factories in Sweden and Brazil. Approximately 98 percent of the timber for production of matches in Brazil is grown in Swedish Match’s own plantations. The remaining volume is sourced from local suppliers. Our plantations consist of roughly 6,000 hectares of planted poplar and pine in the south of the Paraná state and in the north of the Santa Catarina state. Our plantations adhere to strict growing requirements beyond those levels set by laws and regulations.
Aspen used for the production of matches in Sweden is sourced from the southern part of Sweden in the vicinity of our splint factory and is primarily sourced through major timber suppliers. Relatively small quantities are also sourced directly from individual forest owners. Swedish Match Industries AB, the entity producing matches in Sweden, is certified according to FSC’s standards for Chain of Custody and Controlled Wood.
What kind of packaging does Swedish Match have for its snus and snuff cans and can you recycle them? What about other products?
Swedish Match strives to use environmentally adapted materials in its packaging.
For both Swedish snus and US moist snuff, the plastic cans and lids are made from polypropylene. Rolls of cans are mostly shrink-wrapped in polyethylene. At complete combustion, only carbon dioxide and water remain from these plastics. All coloring agents in the plastic are approved for food packaging.
Paperboard is the standard snus packaging used for loose snus. It is made from recycled paper and the inside is covered in paraffin wax to keep the product separated from the packaging. Using paperboard means that the packaging materials will biodegrade easily.
For cigars, the usage of FoilFresh® packaging has provided longer shelf life of products, reducing the need for returns of old or stale product, which in turn can reduce waste to the landfill.
Also, the use of 100 percent recycled paperboard within certain packaging formats has increased significantly over the past years. All byproduct paper from the production of packaging material used in the Company’s factory in Dothan (Alabama, the US) is returned to the supplier, who converts it to an energy source.
For matches, post-consumer recycled fibers are being used for the vast majority of the production of inner and outer match boxes. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified materials are increasingly being used for match cardboard.
For lighters, packaging for utility lighters has been developed which helps to minimize the use of material. This also helps to maximize the amount of units that can be loaded on freight containers when distributing the products.
What is Swedish Match’s view on littering and recycling of products?
Swedish Match works to facilitate consumers’ disposal of the Company’s products after use. Swedish Match also strives to design product packaging for this purpose.
In 2003, Swedish Match introduced a new double lid, a disposal lid, for some of its snus products, creating an extra space in the lid where used portion bags can be placed. The design enables consumers to store their used snus pouches if they cannot find a trash can in close proximity where they can dispose of them. In 2012, the disposal lid was introduced the for moist snuff pouch products in the US. The lid was the first of its kind for the product category. In 2013, Swedish Match introduced a new can design for snus pouch products in Scandinavia. The new design includes a larger disposal lid enabling consumers to store a larger quantity of their used snus pouches than before. The design is now also available in the US.
Swedish Match strives to use environmentally adapted materials in its packaging. For both Swedish snus and US moist snuff, the plastic cans and lids are made from polypropylene. Rolls of cans are mostly shrink-wrapped in polyethylene. At complete combustion, only carbon dioxide and water remain from these plastics. All coloring agents in the plastic are approved for food packaging.
Tobacco is grown on fertile land where other crops, for example food could be grown. What is Swedish Match’s view on the alternative uses of land currently used for tobacco production?
Swedish Match acknowledges the importance of sustainable agriculture, and that support and collaboration from national governments as well as international organizations is essential in order to address these issues.
It has been estimated that less than 0.1 percent of the agricultural land in the world is devoted to tobacco farming, and that this land may also be used to grow non-tobacco crops, such as food, during certain months of the year. Swedish Match’s standpoint is that tobacco farmers are best positioned to choose the composition of crops they grow. Tobacco farming is also a valuable and predictable source of income, which contributes to increase the welfare of farmers and can enhance food security in the middle run.
Does Swedish Match use genetically modified tobacco in your products?
No, Swedish Match does not use any kind of genetically modified tobacco in its products.
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?
In our focus area Eliminate child labor, we recognize that child labor represents a serious human rights violation in many parts of the world, including areas where we have suppliers. We are committed to improving our risk analyses and processes to proactively reduce and eventually eliminate child labor and related human rights issues with regard to this focus area in our value chain.
Our goal is the elimination of child labor in the Company’s value chain.
For information on our efforts within this area, please see Eliminate child labor.
How do you work with ethical, social, and environmental issues within the supply chain?
In our efforts to contribute to a more sustainable world, managing our supply chain sustainably is fundamental to long term success. We have procedures in place, and under continuous development, to further emphasize sustainable supply chain management. Our Supplier Code of Conduct specifies what we expect and require from our suppliers in terms of employment and labor practices, workplace practices, ethical business practices and environmental management practices. The Supplier Code of Conduct forms the basis for our relationship with suppliers and is an integral part of most of our significant business agreements.
Activities to assure sustainable supply chain management include active dialogue and communication of Swedish Match’s requirements, follow-up on adherence, and proactive community investments.
For information on Swedish Match’s efforts within the supply chain, please see Eliminate child labor.
What action does Swedish Match take when the Company finds out that its suppliers do not adhere to the Company’s policies?
During the supplier engagement process, Swedish Match may recommend that certain actions be taken to improve a supplier’s sustainability efforts. Should a supplier fail to comply with the Company’s recommendations, Swedish Match shall strive to resolve the situation through cooperation and information or, if deemed necessary, terminate the relationship.
What does the gender distribution look like in Swedish Match’s workforce? In the management team? In the Board of Directors?
At December 31, 2017, the share of females among Swedish Match’s total workforce was 39 percent. The share of female managers with direct reports were 22 percent and the share of females in senior management (defined as participants in the Company’s LTI program) was 15 percent.
In 2017, two members (22 percent) of Group Management were female. Four members (40 percent) of the Company’s Board of Directors were female, including employee representatives but not deputy employee representatives.
How does Swedish Match work to promote trade union rights?
Swedish Match complies with the eight International Labour Organization (ILO) Core Conventions (Nos. 87, 98, 29, 105, 100, 111, 138, and 182). Within the area of freedom of association and collective bargaining, the Company specifically complies with convention number 87 (Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention) and number 98 (Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention).
Swedish Match recognizes and respects employees’ rights and freedom to join or form (non-violent) assembly or associations of their own choice and to bargain collectively. No employee shall be subject to dismissal, discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or retaliation for exercising these rights. Swedish Match shall facilitate open communication and direct engagement between employees and management in situations where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining are restricted under law.
Employee representation structures are in place on all sites in Sweden. In accordance with the Act on Co-Determination at Work (MBL), Swedish Match has an agreement concerning collaboration with trade union organizations active in the Group´s Swedish business units. Under this agreement, a council comprising management representatives and employee representatives appointed to the board of Directors meets in advance of scheduled Board meetings and on other ad hoc occasions. The council focuses on particular issues that could result in MBL negotiations. A reference group also meets in advance of such Board meetings, comprised of local trade union representatives on waged and salaried employees.
In the US, union rights are protected by law under the National Labor Relations Act. Swedish Match complies with all legal requirements of the Act by respecting employees’ freedom of association, mutual aid or protection, self-organization, to form, join or assist in labor organizations, to bargain collectively for wages and working conditions through representatives of their own choosing and to engage in other protected concerted activities with or without a Union.
In Brazil, union participation is mandatory according to the Brazilian Labour Laws. Annual negotiations of agreements and labor conditions are conducted within each professional category.
Does Swedish Match conduct animal testing?
No, Swedish Match does not conduct animal testing of its products or product constituents.
Does Swedish Match comply with any conventions and/or guidelines on human rights and labor conditions?
Swedish Match Code of Conduct complies with international conventions and guidelines on human rights and labor conditions. The international conventions and guidelines referred to here are the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the eight ILO Core Conventions (Nos. 87, 98, 29, 105, 100, 111, 138, and 182), and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.