Promoting human rights in the industry

As one of the world’s largest buyers of wine, beer and spirits, Systembolaget can drive sustainable development by setting requirements, creating incentives and collaborating with actors at various levels across our supply chains.

Systembolaget is committed to respecting human rights in our industry. Through a proactive, systematic and long-term approach at all levels of the supply chain, we aim for a product range that is produced without negative impact on people.

Identify and reduce risks

The basis of our work is the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and using the OECD guidelines for Human Rights Due Diligence.

This methodology focuses on identifying risks, finding the best way to reduce those risks and being transparent with challenges.

It is a systematic approach to minimize the negative impacts our business may have throughout the supply chain.

What are the risks?

The most salient risks are often related to issues such as temporary labour, precarious terms of employment, lack of trade union representation and health and safety.

We also know that the risks are greater the closer we get to grower level in our supply chains.

How we work in the supply chains

Framework for sustainable procurement

The framework is for our Set Range, and it functions as a guide for our purchasers to demand products that are as sustainable as possible. The framework also shows our ambitions to the industry and other stakeholders.

Supplier requirements

According to our General Terms and Conditions, all suppliers must comply with the requirements in Systembolaget’s Code of Conduct.

The code is based on amfori BSCI, a world-leading initiative for social responsibility and sustainable working conditions for suppliers within cultivation and production.

The principle of compliance is that each supplier is responsible for the working conditions of its respective sub-contractors – producers and growers – throughout the supply chain.

The requirements in the Code of Conduct cover eleven areas:

  • Working hours
  • Fair renumeration
  • Terms of employment
  • Discrimination
  • Freedom of Association
  • Health and Safety
  • Forced labour
  • Child labour
  • Younger workers
  • Business ethics
  • Environment


Traceability is the foundation for a more sustainable supply chain – all the way from the farmer’s field to the bottles in our stores. It enables us to enforce our requirements, and it allows us to identify risk hot spots and to create solutions together with the industry.

Systembolaget’s sustainability platform is a digital tool that collects information about the supply chains of our Set Range products. It is mandatory for Set Range suppliers to report into the platform.

Risk analysis

Systembolaget’s risk analysis identifies potential risks. Based on the result, Systembolaget decides which items need to be monitored and in what way such monitoring should be done.

The risk analysis is carried out in three steps based on the information provided via the sustainability platform:

1. Country report. Assessing risk based on which country the product is produced and where grapes or crop is farmed.
2. Assessment of any certifications. Different certifications can nullify risks.
3. Responses to customized Self-Assessment Questionnaires.


We help operators in our supply chains to gain an increased knowledge and better understanding of risks, our requirements and how they can work with them.

As part of amfori BSCI’s work promoting conditions for its members to actively pursue continuous supply chain improvements, amfori has continued to make its range of digital training material available to members, suppliers and producers.


How critical and what type of risk that is connected to a product decide what type of follow-up is relevant. Examples of follow-up are third party audits, field visits and training initiatives.

If we identify issues regarding a product, we work together with the Swedish importer and the actors in the supply chain to ensure they are rectified.


Cooperation and collaboration with our suppliers, unions, NGOs, industry initiatives and certification bodies is a prerequisite for successful industry impact. It is key to identify and address risks.

Examples include:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IUF (the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers Associations) and Swedish unions Unionen and SPF Unionen in which local unions in South Africa use a reporting channel to address breaches within working conditions and human rights.
  • As part of amfori BSCI we have taken part in developing the Code of Conduct.
  • Together with the alcohol monopolies from Finland, Norway, Iceland and Faroe Islands, we address specific risks in our industry such as sugar production in the rum industry and access to water.
  • We have identified human rights risks in the Italian wine industry through an assessment conducted by Oxfam. Among other things, Oxfam’s report pinpoints how Systembolaget can improve its processes.


Transparency of risks and how we address them is part of our ways of working.

  • Engagement programs ensure that we speak to various types of stakeholders in our supply chain. Through those dialogues we receive feedback helping us improve our work.
  • We communicate challenges and progress to stakeholders.
  • We support consumers in making more sustainable choices through communications and the products we purchase.
  • We engage with our commercial stakeholders.

Further reading: Systembolaget’s Responsibility Report (pages 39–43, 49–53)