At ICA, through openness and transparency, we take active responsibility for how production of the products we sell impacts people, animals and the environment. ICA Gruppen’s Sustainability Policy stipulates that our company respects human rights and that we expect the same from our suppliers. At the same time, we know that risks for human rights violations exist in our value chains. Through our risk-based work with Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD), we contribute to managing these risks and to improved conditions for the people who are impacted, directly or indirectly, by our operations.
The principles for Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) have been drawn up by the UN and pertain to an ongoing risk management process with focus on human rights across the entire value chain. In this process, companies work according to the size, character and context of their own operations to provide better conditions for people in their value chains.
ICA Gruppen began its work in line with the HRDD principles in 2021, and during that year a risk analysis was performed for ICA Sweden. The risk analysis was limited to ICA Sweden’s impacts among suppliers, where risks for human rights violations are deemed to be the greatest.
The risk analysis covers the main products, components and material associated with the greatest risk. A total of 14 risks have been identified, where human rights are at risk of being negatively impacted through ICA Sweden’s operations. The next step is risk management, where ICA Sweden makes an assessment of risks and begins working with risk mitigation and implementation of various types of measures.
Peonage and other measures that restrict a person’s freedom are the basis of forced labour and modern slavery. Degree of seriousness: Very high
Elevated risk for human trafficking and compulsory-like working conditions in the transport sector. Degree of seriousness: High
Sub-standard working terms is a sector-wide problem in the farming and manufacturing industries. Degree of seriousness: Medium
Hazardous working conditions are a natural part of farm work, and factory workers are subject to deficient health and safety. Degree of seriousness: Very high
Low wages contribute to insufficient access to food. Degree of seriousness: High
Deficient standard of living for farmworkers and factory workers. Degree of seriousness: Medium
Land rights and communities are impacted by large projects. Degree of seriousness: Medium
Poorer access to drinking water and pollution of land in neighbouring communities. Degree of seriousness: High
Union rights are limited to a large extent. Degree of seriousness: Medium
Women are particularly subject to discrimination in a majority of countries and industries. Degree of seriousness: Medium
Discrimination of migrant workers and other minorities. Degree of seriousness: Medium
Violation of indigenous people’s rights to land, self-provision, wellbeing and cultural heritage. Degree of seriousness: High
Child labour puts children’s lives and health at risk. Degree of seriousness: Very high
Children’s right to schooling and family. Degree of seriousness: High
Human rights are integrated in ICA Gruppen’s Sustainability Policy and purchasing agreements with sustainability appendices. To monitor compliance with the requirements, ICA Gruppen applies a risk-based work approach where all suppliers of ICA Gruppen’s corporate brand products in high-risk countries are to be verified and approved by ICA Gruppen or by a third party. ICA Gruppen adheres to the BSCI’s definition of high-risk country, which in turn is based on a number of indicators from the World Bank. This concerns, for example, how robust the official institutions of a country are, political stability, rule of law, democracy and freedom of speech, and presence of corruption.
If ICA Gruppen discovers irregularities at a production facility that the Group uses, a concrete action plan is drawn up, which is followed up in a new audit. The first time a supplier violates the requirements of an agreement, in general it is given an opportunity to remedy the problem. If the deviation is remedied in a satisfactory manner, the cooperation continues, but if it is repeated, the cooperation with the supplier is terminated. However, for certain areas, such as forced labour and child labour, the violations are regarded as being extra serious, and ICA Gruppen therefore has zero tolerance for deviations.
For many human rights matters, ICA Gruppen collaborates with other actors in the industry and in the value chain. Among other things, ICA Gruppen is a member of amfori, which provides tools for working with human rights in the supply chain and other areas, and of the ETI (see below). Other collaborations focus more on specific problems or value chains, such as the Bangladesh Accord for workplace conditions in textile production, and a collaboration in the Swedish food industry on conditions for berry pickers in Sweden.
ICA Gruppen has been a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) since 2022. ETI Sweden is a member-organisation that is open to and founded by companies, unions, civic society organisations and public sector actors. The organisation’s purpose is to promote sustainable business conduct in global supply chains with particular focus on human rights and workers’ rights. This is done by:
- Gathering and developing knowledge and methodologies for responsible supply chains with a rights-based focus
- Strengthening members’ work on risk management, sustainable business practices and social responsibility in the supply chain
- Working practically through cross-sector and cross-industry collaboration in producer countries and in Sweden
- Working for increased transparency and traceability throughout the value chain, from extraction/primary production through manufacturing to end consumer.
ICA Gruppen has defined a number of risk ingredients that are associated with extra-large challenges regarding the impact of their production on people, the environment and animal welfare. The goal is that these will be sustainability-certified in ICA Gruppen’s corporate brand products by 2025 at the latest. For several of the ingredients, such as palm oil, soya, coffee and tea, certification is already required today. The requirement is based on third-party labelling for certified plantations and sustainable purchases, such as KRAV, EU organic, Fairtrade, MSC, ASC, Rainforest Alliance, RTRS, RSPO and GOTS.
ICA Gruppen’s risk ingredients
• Palm oil
• Fish & shellfish
Examples of risks
• Human rights: Risk for sub-standard working terms, poverty due to pay below living wage, negative impacts on local populations, child labour and forced labour
• Climate impact and loss of diversity through deforestation
• Loss of biodiversity through e.g., overfishing
• High use of pesticides, with negative impacts on people and ecosystems
• High use of resources through e.g., large use of water and synthetic fertilisers