Irish (English)

Our responsibility and values

As a family-owned company, human values and respect for both people and environment have always been deeply rooted in Søstrene Grene.
Taking responsibility within these areas has always been a natural part of running our business – and it will continue to be so in the future.
Our ambition is to keep improving in all areas, and here, you can read about our CSR efforts and the actions we take to avoid negative impact on both people and planet.

Our priorities

We base our priorities on two fundamental principles:

1) to minimise negative impact on people and planet and

2) to create positive impact when we can. Our four priority areas are defined by what is material to the relation between our company and the society and environment we interact with.

Below you can learn more about our commitments and actions:

  1. Ethics & Governance: Responsibility and ethics are fundamental in our corporate governance, management decisions and interaction with stakeholders. Read more
  2. Responsible Supply Chain: We collaborate with our suppliers to ensure that our products are produced with respect for working conditions and the environment. Read more
  3. Safe products: We make sure that our products are safe for our customers and that they meet all applicable national and international legislation on safety and chemical contents. Read more
  4. Protection of the environment: We strive to minimise our environmental footprint by reducing our energy consumption and by promoting environmentally friendly products such as organic foodstuff and eco-labelled items. Read more

Ethics & Governance

One of Søstrene Grene’s core values is joy. We strive to create slight bright differences to everyday life. This value begins with ourselves – with our commitment to running our company with responsibility and respect for the world we are part of. Our key priorities within Ethics and Governance are:

  • Management: We incorporate the respect for international human rights, labour rights, environment, climate and anti-corruption in our policies, management structure and business practices, from top management to the store staff.
  • Employee welfare: We continuously strive to be a company centred around human values, with great care for the needs of our individual employees. We seek to create an inspiring and joyful working environment for our employees.
  • Customer engagement: We seek an open and trustful relation with our customers. We integrate our customers’ wishes and needs in product improvements and our assortment. Any complaint will always be taken seriously, and we do what we can to ensure that our customers have a joyful experience when interacting with Søstrene Grene.
  • Community engagement: We collaborate with humanitarian organisations to support charitable causes.

Our actions, 2017/2018
In the fiscal year 2017/2018, actions in this area include:

  • The HR department is being developed in order to give even more attention to the well-being of our employees.
  • In 2017/2018, our donations to the Danish Red Cross reached a total of DKK 672.442,00. Every time we sell a Red Cross water bottle, we donate 1 DKK to the Danish Red Cross.

Responsible supply chain

It is important to us that our customers have full faith in the products they find at Søstrene Grene. That is why we give very high priority to quality and product safety. Our customers must be able to trust that they are buying products that do not pose any risk to their health and safety.

Our supply chain
We source our products directly from independent factories as well as from trading companies, who again source their products from other factories. Søstrene Grene does not own any factories. European suppliers provide 30-40% of our products, the rest is sourced from suppliers in Asia - mainly China, India and Vietnam. Some suppliers we use only once, e.g. campaign-related products. Other suppliers have been with us for many years. In total, we use around 500 different suppliers each year. Approximately 100 of these suppliers are categorised as CSR Focus Suppliers and are selected for CSR audits and training. The selection is based on relevance and risk parameters such as location, product, production process, raw material and how much we purchase from the given supplier. Most of our Asian suppliers are categorised as CSR Focus Suppliers, most of our Northern European suppliers are not.

Responsible Supply Chain Programme
Our Responsible Supply Chain Programme consists of several parts.

  • First of all, all our suppliers must commit to the ethical requirements as described in Søstrene Grene’s Supplier Code of Conduct. These requirements include issues such as health and safety, child labour, forced labour, protection of young workers, freedom of association and collective bargaining, wages, working hours and protection of the environment.
  • Secondly, our CSR audit team audits our suppliers on their ethical performance against our Supplier Code of Conduct. Currently, we have our own auditors in China, India and Vietnam.

In the very rare case that severe concerns are identified, we will cease all business with the supplier until the concern has been corrected. Sufficient corrections and true commitment must be documented at a re-audit by our audit team before we can take up business with the supplier again. If the supplier does not reach a satisfactory level, we do not take up business with the supplier again. In case of less severe concerns, we agree on a deadline for correction with the supplier, and we follow up on implementation, either by conducting a re-audit or by exchange of documentation, depending on the character of the concern.

  • Finally, our auditors are not only trained in conducting CSR audits, they are also trained in assisting suppliers that strive to improve. Assisting our suppliers’ improvement is continuously supported through dialogue and collaboration between our CSR department, our auditors and our suppliers. This approach means we do not only audit our suppliers, we also play an important role in helping them improve in situations when this is needed.

Our actions, 2017/2018
In the fiscal year 2017/2018, actions in this area include:

  • Our Supplier Code of Conduct and Responsible Supply Chain Management System have been revised and developed to further increase the focus on assisting our suppliers in improving.
  • Approximately 60 audits have been conducted, which means that 70-80% of the purchases sourced from our CSR Focus Suppliers come from suppliers that have been audited and approved within the last three years.
  • Three suppliers have been put on stand-by due to unacceptable health and safety conditions. Two of them have later implemented the required improvements and have therefore been included in our supplier portfolio again.
  • A supplier training program with a comprehensive self-assessment element has been started. The program has shown promising results in terms of monitoring and improving conditions at the suppliers’. The program will be developed and expanded over the coming years.

Read more: Søstrene Grene’s Supplier Code of Conduct

Safe products

It is crucial to Søstrene Grene that our customers can trust the quality and safety of the products they buy at our stores. Therefore, we allocate a significant amount of resources to product testings and screenings, ensuring that our products live up to all applicable national and EU legislations.

Our Product Compliance team performs a Risk Analysis of each and every product we sell in our stores. They are highly qualified professionals with specialised knowledge about chemical substances, materials and the relevant legislation. We request comprehensive documentation from the suppliers, including Bill of Material, chemical composition etc. This approach means we only perform the tests which are relevant for each specific product.

The Product Compliance team monitors new developments in the relevant legislations. We follow new developments in the health and safety field in close cooperation with the relevant authorities and Trade and Consumer Organisations. In many cases, we must take action before a specific law is passed in the product safety field. We have to stay ahead of the legislation, so we can keep developing and improving our products. Søstrene Grene has chosen to ban all Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) from EU’s candidate list and fluorine substances in food contact materials/packaging. We have also chosen to reduce the use of PVC in product packaging and other product groups.

Our actions 2017/2018
In the fiscal year 2017/2018, our focus has been to increase the quality control regarding our products and continue the strict testing and screening processes of our products. Among other things, activities within this area include:

  • We have had five product recalls: Two food products with ingredients issues, three products with safety/quality issues.
  • To minimise the recalls caused by safety/quality issues and to improve the quality of the products in general, we have improved the quality control at the suppliers’ and in our warehouse. A new QC system will be fully implemented during 2018/2019.
  • In 2017/18, we have received and processed more than 5000 Bills of Material for products.
  • We have introduced products with The Nordic Swan Ecolabel, The Blue Allergy Label and OEKO®-Tex. We have expanded our assortment of FSC®-certified products.
  • One new Product Compliance specialist has been hired, resulting in a capacity increase of approximately 30% in the team.

Protection of the environment

Taking care of our climate and environment is a great priority to Søstrene Grene. Our key focus is to reduce waste, reuse and recycle.

Within some areas there is a lot we can do ourselves, e.g. how we deal with recycling, use of packing materials and energy optimisation of our stores and warehouses. Within these areas, we monitor our performance, analyse where we can improve and set in with relevant actions.

Within other areas, we are reliant on the efforts of our collaborators, e.g. the efforts of our suppliers and the transportation companies we use. When it comes to transportation of our goods, we choose companies that work effectively towards reducing their CO2 emissions, and we try to avoid air freight. When it comes to suppliers, we have clear environmental requirements in Søstrene Grene’s Supplier Code of Conduct, and environment is an important part of the CSR audits we conduct at our suppliers’ factories.

Our actions, 2017/2018
In the fiscal year 2017/2018, actions in this area include:

  • The first steps have been taken in the implementation of our Climate and Environmental Strategy. Relocation to new energy efficient office space and the completion of the new Logistics Center will reduce energy consumption pr. employee in the coming years. Data to monitor the future development in energy consumption have been collected during this year.
  • Solid waste from our warehouses is recycled whenever possible – at the moment, we recycle all cardboard and plastic.
  • All our stores are now using low-energy LED light.
  • Søstrene Grene is a member of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®-C133860). In 2017/2018, we have continued to increase the share of FSC® certified wood-based products in stores.

Read more: Søstrene Grene’s environmental policy