Systembolaget focuses on the places where we can do the most good

Systembolaget’s work for good working conditions focuses on two things. Following up our code of conduct where the risks for defects are the greatest, and taking action when we receive information that the code is not being followed.

Systembolaget demands that the beverages sold through our stores are produced under good working conditions. We do this by demanding that all involved parties agree to follow our code of conduct.

We ensure compliance with the code by carrying out independent on-site audits at production facilities.

We have systematic way of working that empowers us to act where we have the greatest opportunity to make a positive change. Our working method is described below.

If we receive information regarding deviations from the code

If we receive information about issues at a producer, we investigate to see whether the report is true. We receive information from unions, media, Swedish importers, human rights organizations, sustainability organizations like Fairtrade or Wines of Chile, employees and through our own observations.   

If we find that there is an issue, we demand a plan of action. We then carry out follow-ups to make sure that the plan of action is followed and that improvements for employees are made regardless of producer or farm. This is true for all of our products, whether they are in the set range or order range. All drinks and all producers can be audited.

Beverages from risk countries in our set range are our priority

We prioritize our resources and planned follow-ups by setting up requirements:

  1. We only investigate products in our set range. These comprise 95 percent of Systembolaget’s sales.
  2. We only investigate products which have been in our set range for at least twelve months. This focusses attention on big selling products.
  3. We only investigate products from so called risk countries. An independent company, Maplecroft, identifies these countries, and the assessment is made on the basis of parameters such as risk of corruption, prevalence of child labour, health and safety risks, lacking protection for unions, unprotected work force and where the crop is imported from.

When the requirements are met and we have filtered out our risk producers, there are a total of about 500 beverages from 14 countries and around 250 producers involved. These products make up roughly 25 percent of Systembolaget’s sales.

Our planed independent audits are focussed on these 500 products and at these 250 producers.  

200 independent audits

During 2017 we will carry out 200 independent on-site audits at producers and at their farms. 100 audits were carried out in 2016, and before that fewer.

Assessing the degree of sustainability maturity

For risk-producers we demand, every year, proof of sustainability certifications (if any exists) and quality control systems. We also ask about other sustainability initiatives and the producer must sign our code of conduct. 
On the basis of the information provided, we assess the level of each producer’s sustainability maturity. Low development means that an independent audit is planned.

In 2018 we will start to carry out sustainability maturity assessments before the beverage is launched by Systembolaget, today we do it after the beverage is on our shelves.

Our own visits to producers

Systembolaget also carries out its own visits to producers in risk countries. This is not an audit, but rather a way for us to assess the producer’s level of development, to raise awareness of the issue of good working conditions and, when needed, to initiate an independent audit.

Systembolaget also follows up on the sustainability work carried out by Swedish importers, if they supply drinks from a risk country.


Another assessment: High risk countries.

The World Bank has a list of high risk countries. It is a list that is not exclusively about alcoholic beverages, but a few beverages that are sold from Systembolaget may come from high risk countries. The precise number varies, but is normally around 100 products and that makes up less than 0.5 percent of Systembolaget’s sales.

For these drinks, we ask questions via our suppliers about producers’ sustainability work. We demand that these producers fill out a form with questions regarding their social sustainability and that they sign our code of conduct. When all the information is collected we assess how developed the producer’s sustainability work is. If the level of development is too low an independent audit is planned. The audit is carried out on-site. If issues are discovered, we demand a plan of action and then follow up to ensure that the plan is followed and improvements made for the employees.