Can you describe your approach to your sustainability strategy?
Our approach in developing the Company’s sustainability strategy may be summarized as follows:
- Our overarching goal in our sustainability efforts is to help making the world a better place and to secure Swedish Match’s long term business success.
- Our vision of a world without cigarettes is central to our sustainability strategy and how we contribute to making the world a better place.
- 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.
- Sustainability efforts are integrated throughout the organization with strong commitment and involvement by the Group Management Team and other leaders.
- Sustainability efforts outside the focus areas will continue to be encouraged and are best managed locally.
- While the Company has already achieved a lot in the sustainability area, there is still much work to be done.
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 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 tobacco derived 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.
- Eliminate child labor. Our goal is the elimination of child labor in the Company’s value chain.
- Reduce greenhouse gases. Our goal is to reflect the commitments outlined in the Paris Agreement and thereby reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from our value chain.
- Reduce waste and emissions. Our goal is to eliminate undesired emissions to air and water flows, as well as waste, from our production facilities.
How did you come up with your 6 focus areas? What was the process? Aren’t other areas also important?
In 2015, we conducted a stakeholder survey (with customers, consumers, suppliers, employees, the financial and scientific communities, as well as regulators) on sustainability topics based on the GRI framework and industry benchmark. Results from the survey provided important input to a materiality analysis conducted in 2016. The process, resulting in our six focus areas (Improve public health, Ensure ethical business practices, Support equal opportunity, Eliminate child labor, Reduce greenhouse gases, and Reduce waste and emissions) 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 (such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the UN Global Compact, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the GRI G4 framework) were consulted in the process to define the issues that are material to Swedish Match. Materiality was assessed on the basis of 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. We will continue our dialogue with identified stakeholders to confirm and further develop our sustainability efforts.
Our focus areas form the basis for our common roadmap; this is where we put extra effort and coordinate external reporting of our progress in the coming years. We will continue to work, based on a more decentralized approach, within other sustainability areas relevant to our Company. We will for example continue to maintain high standards for operational health and safety and emphasize the wellbeing 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.
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).
Is the Company listed on any Sustainability Index?
Swedish Match is listed on the OMX GES Sustainability Sweden and OMX GES Sustainability Nordic among other, which rates Swedish companies on their preparedness on environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG).
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 Tobacco policy which firmly states that all tobacco products shall only be sold to adults of legal tobacco age in each market, and who are 18 years of age or over. This means that we shall not direct any marketing, advertising or promotion of tobacco 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?
Through employee opinion surveys, we keep track of our employees’ awareness of the Code of Conduct (the Code) and whether the employees have reviewed or been informed about the Code. Mandatory training on the Code has taken place through e-learning to supplement town hall meetings and similar events. During 2016, 60 percent of the workforce completed this e-learning. The target is 100 percent participation and we will follow up on this during 2017. Ongoing communication on matters referred to in the Code is communicated to employees primarily through the Company’s intranet and also in conjunction with performance reviews and development discussions.
How does Swedish Match work to prevent fraud and corruption?
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 and emissions, we work systematically to reduce waste, as well as other emissions to air and emissions to water from our production facilities. We enhance the effectiveness of our work by sharing best practice and processes for target setting 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. All factories that produce tobacco products (snus, moist snuff, chewing tobacco, and cigars) are certified according to both ISO 9001 and ISO 14001. During the past years, the Company has also started to certify those facilities that produce lights products (matches and lighters).
Of twelve production facilities, ten have both ISO 9001 certification and ISO 14001 certification. This represents products that account for more than 95 percent of Company sales of its own produced products.
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 set out to do our part in addressing climate change and commit to map and actively reduce emissions in our business value chain.
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 95 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.
Considering the type of products you sell, and the business you are in, is it not contradictory that you regard social responsibility and corporate sustainability to be important issues?
Some people may question whether a tobacco company can be sustainable in the long term. For Swedish Match, sustainability and tobacco are not incompatible, and the Group strives to conduct business in a responsible and sustainable manner towards its stakeholders and the environment.
At Swedish Match we have a vision of a world without cigarettes. Offering tobacco consumers alternative products to cigarettes is at the core of what we do. Pursuing our vision represents a great commercial opportunity as well as a significant contribution to society. By providing products that are recognized as safer alternatives to cigarettes, we can contribute considerably to improved public health. From a total impact perspective, this is where we are likely to have the largest positive impact on society.
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 in our value chain.
Our goal is the elimination of child labor in the Company’s value chain.
At Swedish Match, we respect universal human rights and support internationally proclaimed human rights conventions and guidelines. We recognize the role we play in respecting these rights and in making sure that they are upheld and respected for the people impacted by our business, in the areas where we operate and source materials from. In our efforts, we put special emphasis on child labor and related human rights issues. Swedish Match does not consent to child labor anywhere in our value chain. We acknowledge the fact that child labor is not a stand-alone issue and tackling the issue requires a holistic approach. Our efforts are continuous, and the timeline and goal of this focus are long term.
For more information on our efforts within this area, please see Eliminate child labor pages on the website.
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 processes in place, and under development, to emphasize sustainable supply chain management. Our Supplier Code of Conduct, aligned with the Company’s Code of Conduct, forms the basis for this work and for our relationship with suppliers. 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.
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, 2016, 35 percent of Swedish Match’s total workforce were female employees. Of all managers with direct reports, 22 percent were female managers.
In 2016, two members (25 percent) of Group Management were female. Five members (45 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.
How can you be sure that your products are safe and of consistently high quality for your consumers?
The safety and quality of our products is an important component for Swedish Match.
For more information on product quality and safety, please see Quality standards.
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.