Sustainability issues are reflected throughout the organisation
The strategic direction for ICA Gruppen’s sustainability work is set by the Board of Directors through the Sustainability Committee and is managed through strategic planning and business planning processes. The Sustainability Committee’s mandate is based on the Code’s rules on the responsibility of a board of directors to set the guidelines for how ICA Gruppen should behave in society. The Committee’s duties include preparing policies on business ethics and sustainability and preparing sustainability reports (annually and quarterly), and following up business ethics and sustainability issues.
Furthermore, the Board of Directors annually review ICA Gruppen’s sustainability work. The review involves risk analysis, a focus on ethical dilemmas and providing an in-depth training in specific identified areas. Although the CEO has ultimate responsibility for sustainability issues within the Group, the day-to-day sustainability work has been delegated to the Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, who is part of the ICA Gruppen Management Team (IMT).
Sustainability work based on tools and standards
ICA Gruppen works on sustainability in a structured way, using tools and models to follow up and ensure that the products sold and processed by the Group meet both internal and external requirements.
One element of this is certification of large parts of the sourcing, logistics and store processes to relevant standards for quality and the environment. The environmental standard ISO 14001 is used to certify operations, and in the stores the Swan eco-label is used along with the Group’s own environmental support tool ICA Retailers for the Environment. ICA Real Estate’s target is for all new wholly owned facilities to be certified by the Sweden Green Building Council’s environmental certification “Miljöbyggnad” at the Gold level. The quality standards ISO 9001, ISO 22000 and BRC S&D are used to certify operations, while stores use the Swedish standard for food handling in stores. ICA Gruppen is working on several fronts to prevent food fraud, including through quality certificates, analyses and unannounced audits as well as collaboration with others in the industry. Animal welfare is a central issue in quality aspects. Animals shall be treated well and protected from unnecessary suffering and be kept in an environment that promotes their health and allows them to behave naturally.
ICA Gruppen has produced its own tool for social auditing of corporate brand suppliers in high-risk countries: the ICA Social Audit. The requirements are based on similar criteria to the Amfori BSCI. The combination of the ICA Social Audit, carried out by the Group’s own employees or consultants, and third-party audits, such as Amfori BSCI, ETI or SA8000, has successfully shortened the often time-consuming process of obtaining a social audit. The ICA Social Audit helps suppliers to improve working conditions in production more quickly. In a long-term perspective, ICA Gruppen works to ensure that all suppliers of corporate brand products in high-risk countries use a third-party system, which also benefits the suppliers in their other customer relationships.
Every employee is responsible for compliance with ICA Gruppen’s business ethics policy and is encouraged to report any serious irregularities that are in violation of legislation or rules or ICA Gruppen’s policies and guidelines.
An externally based whistleblowing service exist, so that employees who become aware of irregularities and do not wish to report them through normal channels, can report them anonymously.