In 2014, Systembolaget conducted an in-depth analysis during which material sustainability issues for the Group were identified ahead of the transition to the new G4 GRI guidelines. The starting point for the analysis were fifty or so aspects that could reasonably have an impact on sustainable development. The majority of these areas were standardised sustainability aspects in the GRI guidelines, but we also added a number of Systembolaget-specific sustainability areas, and the analysis work ended with the identification of 16 material sustainability areas.
This year’s sustainability analysis
We decided, ahead of this year’s report, simply to update the previous year’s materiality analysis, and in order to ensure that the sustainability areas identified correspond to our stakeholders’ expectations and understand our perceived position amongst stakeholders, we carried out a stakeholder survey.
The stakeholder groups to whom the questionnaire-based survey was addressed were:
- Our customers – everyone in Sweden (a nationally representative selection of people aged 15+)
- Systembolaget’s managers – departmental managers, unit managers, sales managers, area managers, and store managers (approximately 500 employees)
- A small number of specially selected suppliers
We also conducted a dialogue with our owners, but on a more general level that did not take every individual aspect into account.
The results showed that the areas identified in 2014 continue to be seen as important or very important, not only by external stakeholders, but by our owners and by Systembolaget’s managers. At the top of the list were the issues associated with Systembolaget’s purpose – limiting the harmful effects of alcohol – followed by social responsibility in the supply chain, with the environmental aspects of the supply chain, such as transportation and packaging, coming a close third. Organic products are rated as slightly less critical, but as still being important. The area regarded as least important by customers and managers alike, relatively speaking, was diversity.
Our questionnaire-based survey also looked at awareness of Systembolaget’s sustainability work. The results showed a relatively low level of awareness, with the exception of issues related to the harmful effects of alcohol and the organic products range.
From 16 to 7 material sustainability aspects
One thing that we realised during the year was that the previous breakdown into 16 material sustainability areas was unnecessarily complicated in that several of the areas were a mixture of goals and means. In an in-depth dialogue with both area managers and the company management, we decided to restructure the areas into 7 general areas and we have, for example, combined the activities and measures ultimately designed to limit the harmful effects of alcohol in a single, overall sustainability area. Another change saw sales of organically and ethically labelled products now being part of the Environmental improvements and Good working conditions in the supply chain areas.
See below for a comparison between the 2014 and 2015 material sustainability areas. The numbering in the lists is designed to show that 16 material sustainability areas have been transformed into 7, so as not to suggest any internal prioritisation. Limiting the harmful effects of alcohol will always be our top priority, based on our clear social mandate, but the other sustainability areas are not ranked in the Responsibility Report.
Previous breakdown into 16 material sustainability aspects (2014):
- Information on the harmful effects of alcohol
- Ensure that alcohol is not sold to minors
- Change society’s attitudes towards alcohol consumption
- Support research into the effects of alcohol
- Make it easier for customers to make informed, healthy choices
- Monitoring customer satisfaction
- Our impact on local society
- Indirect economic impact
- Make it easier for customers to make informed choices of organic or ethically labelled products
- Assessment of working conditions and human rights in the supply chain
- Projects and initiatives in social areas in the supply chain
- Evaluation of the supply chain’s environmental consideration
- Projects and initiatives in the environmental area in the supply chain
- Ethics and anti-corruption
- Know-how, responsibility and awareness
New breakdown into 7 material sustainability aspects (2015):
- Limit the harmful effects of alcohol – impact on the local community
- Good working conditions in the supply chain
- Environmental improvements in the supply chain
- Climate impact
- Ethics and anti-corruption
- Inclusiveness (formerly Non-discrimination)
The results of the materiality analysis have been used as the basis for Systembolaget’s Responsibility Report.