Case a: S-Group, Inex Partners, Finland

Greening suppliers

UPSTREAM: Greening suppliers

Who: S-Group, Inex Partners

Country: Finland

Objective: To promote social responsibility of suppliers, to ensure that the products offered to consumers have been manufactured in conditions that are socially and ethically acceptable.

Description of initiative: Inex Partners, wholesaler of the S Group, uses the BSCI standards to promote social responsibility among its suppliers. BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) is an industry-led European model of social quality control, which aims to improve working conditions to levels required by international agreements as well as to harmonise control of suppliers’ working conditions. The model was originally used in the procurement of consumer goods. Inex joined in 2007, when the model became applicable to foods. Intrade, which was merged into Inex in March 2010, has been a member of BSCI since 2005.

BSCI focuses on so-called risk countries, which include, for example, almost all countries in Africa and Asia. Last year, 56 BSCI audits were carried out at our partners’ manufacturing units. As regards clothes and shoes, for example, more than 68 per cent of the S Group’s own imports from so-called risk countries come from suppliers included in the BSCI system. BSCI-audited suppliers account for 44 per cent of the imports of the S Group’s private label groceries and self-imports of other groceries from risk countries. The share of BSCI-audited suppliers increases every year.

Effect of initiative: Monitoring and controlling the social impacts of production is part of the normal purchasing process. The S-Group feels that membership in BSCI reinforces the corporate image of the S Group as a responsible company. Their suppliers in the Far East know that BSCI is a basic requirement for becoming a supplier to the S Group, which motivates the suppliers to join the process.

Time period: 2007-ongoing

Future work: The S Group has set up a social responsibility programme for private labels in the consumer goods area. Targets will be set for social responsibility requirements for each label. The minimum requirement for all labels is the BSCI Code of Conduct.

More information

Contact: Marja Tikka ( ); Lea Rankinen ( )