We want to make sure our customers feel safe and secure with us. Quality and social responsibility are always guiding principles in our operations and our business relationships. We have competent employees, clear routines, and emphasise traceability and control. Our products and services shall meet the demands for quality and safe handling made by us and those in the world around us, but also for work conditions and animal care. All our business is conducted with the human condition in mind, and our responsibility spans across national borders.
Examples of activities
ICA Gruppen does business all over the world, which means taking responsibility across borders. Continuous monitoring and dialogue ensure that suppliers comply with both social and environmental requirements. Below is a list of where in the world ICA Gruppen is active in the sourcing and production of its corporate brands.
We work in a structured way with tools and models that have been created to ensure that the products we sell and handle meet external and internal requirements and standards. One aspect of this involves certification of sourcing, logistics and store processes to relevant quality and environmental standards. The most important benefit of certification is naturally that our customers and ICA stores can feel secure in the knowledge that our processes comply with the requirements in ICA Gruppen’s policies and guidelines.
Environmental certification and standards
The Swedish logistics operations have been certified according to the ISO 14001 environmental standard since 1998, the real estate operations since 1999, the purchasing operations since 2012, and the purchasing operations in Asia since 2013. In our stores we work with the Swan ecolabel as well as our own environmental support tool Miljösmart butik (“Environmentally smart store”).
ICA suppliers must be proactive in their own internal environmental work by, for example, producing an environmental policy, environmental goals and plans to reduce environmental impact from production and other activities. Suppliers must regularly monitor the environmental impact of their business. ICA ensures its requirements are met through agreements, follow-up and by recommending established systems of environmental certification.
Quality certification and standards
The Swedish sourcing operation has been certified to quality standard ISO 9001 since 2012 and the sourcing operation in Asia has been certified to the same standard since 2013. The Swedish logistics operations became certified according to BRC S&D in 2012 and have been certified according to ISO 2000 since 2016. In Riga, Rimi Baltic’s warehouse has been certified according to BRC S&D since 2014. In addition, 611 Swedish stores are certified according to the Swedish retail food safety standard.
We require ICA’s private label food suppliers to be third-party certified according to a product safety standard approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). These standards cover food safety management systems, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) as well as good manufacturing practices. For local suppliers of corporate brand products, we also accept local standards (in addition to GFSI-approved standards). This allows small suppliers to safely supply products directly to the stores. This system promotes both local production and enhances the stores’ local adaptation.
Suppliers of private label cosmetics and hygiene products are required to be certified to BRC Global Standard Consumer Products (BRC CP) or similar standards. For other corporate brand non- food suppliers, the goal is to be certified according to BRC CP, ISO 9001 or similar standards.
The quality system at pharmacies, known as the self-monitoring programme, is regulated by legislation from the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA). All pharmacies must have a pharmaceutical manager who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements and who also reports to the MPA if there are serious deficiencies in the operations. In addition, every year an inspection is carried out by the pharmaceutical manager at the pharmacy.
Apotek Hjärtat has quality assurance specialists who conduct regular internal inspections to ensure that its pharmacies maintain a high level of quality and follow the self-monitoring programme.
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. The Group is also engaged in a continuous dialogue with the food industry and relevant authorities, and monitors the work of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in this area.
An internal vulnerability analysis in accordance with GFSI requirements has been performed, and the Group has its own action plan to counter food fraud.
Animal welfare is an important issue for ICA Gruppen. Animals must be treated well, protected from un-necessary suffering and kept in an environment that promotes their health and natural behaviours. ICA Sweden sets standards for both Swedish meat and imported meat, for both its private label products and products from other suppliers. All fresh and frozen meat in ICA Sweden’s main product range has been approved following an audit of animal welfare at the respective supplier’s facilities.
Animal welfare audits are carried out for both abattoirs and farms, and there are requirements concerning transport of the animals and how they are handled during slaughter. The audits are carried out either by ICA Sweden’s own quality specialists or by third parties.