Questions and answers

Do you have questions about ICA Gruppen's sustainability work? Start with checking our list of frequently asked questions.

How is ICA’s sustainability work governed?

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 rules in the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance on the responsibility of a board of directors to set guidelines for how the company should behave in society. The committee’s duties include preparing policies on business ethics and sustainability, preparing sustainability reports (annual and quarterly), and following up business ethics and sustainability issues. In addition, the Board conducts a yearly review of the Company’s sustainability work, covering risk analysis, ethical dilemmas, and in-depth training in specifically identified areas.

The CEO is responsible for sustainability issues within the Group, however, management of the day-to-day sustainability work has been delegated to the Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer. This position is part of ICA Gruppen’s Management Team (IMT). Under the leadership of the Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, the IMT is tasked with developing and, if need be, monitoring the Company’s sustainability work. To support the IMT and Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer in this work, the Company has established a Sustainability Work Group, which is a cross-functional committee that addresses matters regarding sustainability. The IMT recommends sustainability priorities to the Board and monitors ethical dilemmas, risks and public opinion. The IMT is also tasked with proposing policies to the Board and revising existing ones.

Read more about governance of ICA’s sustainability work ›

What is ICA’s sustainability strategy?

Sustainability is an integrated part of ICA Gruppen’s strategy, which is based on five long-term strategic objectives which together form the foundation of all of ICA Gruppen’s operations. One of these objectives is "A positive force" – We lead the development towards a more sustainable and healthy society. The strategic direction is set out in more detail in Ambition 2025, which states where ICA Gruppen needs to be in about five years’ time in response to identified changes and drivers in the world around us. “Healthy and sustainable” is one of four themes within the ambition, which is then made more tangible in the form of the group-wide step-change areas “Climate beyond neutrality” and “Make healthy choices easy”.

Read more about ICA Gruppen’s strategic priorities ›

What does “För en god morgondag” (”For a good tomorrow”) entail?

“För en god morgondag” (“For a good tomorrow”) is a platform to structure and communicate ICA Gruppen’s sustainability work, and is broken down into five defined areas: local, environment, health, inclusion & diversity and quality. Clear ambitions and goals have been set for each of these areas, and all parts of ICA Gruppen have activities in the respective areas. “For a good tomorrow” signals that the work with sustainability will never cease – it is something that we must work with continuously and as an integrated part of everything we do.

Is ICA a signatory of the UN Global Compact?

Yes, ICA has been a signatory to the UN Global Compact business initiative since 2004 and takes responsibility for adhering to the Compact’s Ten Principles in the areas of Human Rights, Labour, the Environment, and Anti-Corruption.

Does ICA have a Code of Conduct?

ICA Gruppen has a number of policies that are mandatory for all employees and companies and which clarify rules and requirements for employees. These include a sustainability policy, a business ethics policy, and a customer policy. The requirements we set for our vendors are based on these policies and are laid out in contracts, which include clear wording on product safety, animal welfare, content, traceability, business ethics, the environment and social responsibility.

What is ICA’s largest source of carbon emissions?

When it comes to the climate impact from ICA Gruppen’s own operations (stores, pharmacies, warehouses and offices), emissions per square metre have been reduced with 76 percent between 2006 and 2020. About half of the remaining emissions come from goods transport, just over a third from refrigerants, and the rest from energy consumption and business travel. From a value chain perspective, a large share of ICA’s total carbon footprint comes from the production of food, and ICA has therefore adopted an ambition to reduce climate impact also from the production and consumption of food.

Read more about ICA Gruppen’s climate targets here ›
Read more about ICA Gruppen’s climate impact here ›

What is ICA doing to reduce its carbon footprint?

ICA Gruppen undertakes many activities to reduce its carbon footprint, and reduced emissions from own operations by 76 percent between 2006 and 2020. This includes the emissions that stem from the group’s operations in stores, pharmacies, warehouses and offices through for example refrigerants, energy, goods transport and business travel in both Sweden and the Baltics. ICA Gruppen is climate neutral since 2020, as all remaining emissions are offset.

ICA Gruppen is to achieve net zero climate impact from our own operations by 2030, which means a continued focus on emission reductions, in parallel with the gradual replacement of carbon offsetting with balancing measures that bind carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Around half of ICA Gruppen’s carbon emissions today come from goods transport, so the strategy for fossil free transports is an important component. Around a third of emissions come from refrigerants, so continued work to switch to refrigerants with less climate impact will also be decisive.

Read more about ICA’s climate ambition here ›
Read more about ICA’s carbon offsetting here ›

What sustainability targets does ICA have?

To drive and monitor its sustainability efforts, ICA Gruppen sets Group-wide targets in the prioritised focus areas local, environment, health, inclusion & diversity and quality. These are complemented by the targets set by each respective company and those set for specific issues.

Read more about ICA Gruppen’s sustainability targets ›

How does ICA work with quality assurance of its products?

ICA’s quality assurance work is grounded in clear routines and processes for ensuring traceability and control regarding its product range and the handling of goods. ICA puts great emphasis on quality assurance of its operations and is at the forefront among grocery retailers with respect to certification. ICA works with audits, traceability checks, reviews of product contents and labelling, product testing and structured quality assurance in both logistics and stores.

How does ICA make sure that its suppliers have good working conditions?

ICA Gruppen’s firm conviction is that all trade shall be conducted in a manner that respects human rights. ICA Gruppen sells products from around the world and needs to know where the products come from and under what conditions they were produced. ICA Gruppen does not accept discrimination, infringement of the right to organise and collectively bargain, child labour, forced labour, or other failures to comply with human rights. This is made clear in the company’s policies and in contracts with all suppliers. ICA Gruppen is also represented out in the world to better be able to collaborate with suppliers, control production and advocate for change through training initiatives, projects and partnerships with other industry actors. ICA Gruppen’s requirements are based on the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) core conventions. ICA Gruppen also supports Consumer Goods Forum’s Forced Labour Resolution. The overarching goal is that all of ICA Gruppen’s suppliers of corporate brand products in high-risk countries will have undergone a social audit.

What is ICA’s position on palm oil?

ICA requires all palm oil used in its corporate brand products to be RSPO-certified. In ICA’s private label food products that contain palm oil, only segregated RSPO-certified palm oil is used. This means it is kept separate from uncertified oil throughout the production chain, all the way to the finished product. ICA Gruppen is a member of the RSPO (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil) – a non-profit organisation that develops and implements criteria for responsibly produced palm oil, so that it is cultivated in a way that is better for ecosystems and communities – and works with others in the industry to promote more responsibly produced and sustainable palm oil.

What is ICA’s position on soy?

All soy that is used in ICA’s corporate brand products for human consumption, or as feed for meat and dairy producing animals, is responsibly produced. This means that 100% of the soy used for ICA’s private label products is certified according to a reliable standard or is covered by certificates for the corresponding volume. ICA Gruppen is a member of RTRS (Roundtable on Responsible Soy) and of Svenska Sojadialogen (the Swedish Soy Dialogue).

What responsibility does ICA take for promoting good food habits?

ICA Gruppen wants to contribute to better public health. By virtue of ICA Gruppen’s size and through cooperation, the various businesses within the Group are well-equipped to reach out and in various ways inspire people to live a healthier life – thereby making a difference to both individuals and society. The health aspects include not only preventive activities in the form of healthy eating habits and regular exercise, but also simple healthcare services and advice on both medicines and personal finances. ICA Gruppen’s shared health ambition identifies three focus areas, and children and young people are priority target groups. On of the focus areas is physical wellbeing – making it easier to live a healthier everyday life.

Increased consumption of fruits, vegetables and legumes has both climate and health benefits. ICA Sweden has therefore set the target that customers’ purchases of fruit and vegetables are to equal the recommended consumption of at least 500 grams per person and day by 2025.

Through products that address issues concerning additives, diets, allergies and lifestyles, we can spread information and inspire customers to adopt a healthy lifestyle. This work is based on official Nordic dietary guidelines and nutritional recommendations.

We also carry on a continuous dialogue with politicians, authorities, trade colleagues and other stakeholders concerning how the retail trade can help reduce public health problems.

How does ICA work with animal welfare?

ICA’s products shall be produced under dignified conditions. Animals may not be treated badly, and natural ingredients shall not be altered without good and well-conceived purposes. We shall ensure good animal care as far as possible. By this we mean that

  • animals shall be treated well and spared from unnecessary suffering and illness.
  • animals shall be housed and cared for in an animal-friendly environment that promotes their health and gives them opportunities to graze naturally.
  • animals shall be given proper care and supervision.
  • we do not accept the use of antibiotics for preventive purposes in animal husbandry.
  • meat from animals that are threatened with extinction may not be sold.
  • we have a positive view of production plants that use third-party systems to ensure satisfactory animal care.
What is ICA’s view of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?

ICA Gruppen in general says no to all GMO labelled products, based on a precautionary principle. If we were to approve such a product, it must be based on an obvious customer benefit, ethically acceptable, and safe for humans and the environment. Such approval would be granted by ICA Gruppen’s management team. ICA Gruppen has at this time not approved any GMO labelled product.

What is ICA’s view of additives?

Additives shall be used restrictively and provide clear value added for customers, such as improved nutritional value, safety, ease of handling, appearance and flavour. In content declarations, all ingredients shall be always be listed so that customers can make an informed decision. Certain additives may cause oversensitivity reactions or have other adverse effects. We monitor scientific reports surrounding additives and may choose to restrict their use in our private label products.

We not allow azo dyes in food products. Nor do we allow other colourants in basic foodstuffs such as butter, milk, cereals, flour, sugar, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables.

What is ICA’s approach to sponsorships?

One of ICA’s overall goals is to be a positive force in society. Sponsorships are arranged in cooperation with organizations working for good purposes, healthy ways of living or good and healthy food.

Who should I contact if I want to discuss sponsorships?

The practical matters on sponsorships are handled by each company in ICA Gruppen.

Here you can find contact information on each company ›

What is ICA Gruppen’s position on paying taxes?

ICA Gruppen has a tax policy, that is approved annually by the board. The policy describes guidelines for how tax matters should be handled in the group. ICA Gruppen is compliant with tax law in each country we have business in. All business decisions are taken on a commercial basis and tax effects are a consequence of these decisions.

ICA Gruppen creates jobs and contributes to tax revenues in the local economies where the Group operates.