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Issues relating to social responsibility and corruption

Essity’s Code of Conduct describes the manner in which our employees should act in relation to social responsibility, which includes the areas of corruption, human rights and health and safety.

Essity’s Sustainability Report specifies targets for social responsibility and the work aimed at implementing and following up the Code of Conduct which stipulates, among other items, “Zero tolerance for all forms of corrupt and unethical business practices,” “All employees will receive regular training in the Code,” “Essity’s supplier standard will be used to drive shared values and priorities throughout the supply chain".

Our Code of Conduct has been adopted by the Board of Directors. Efforts in the area of corruption are followed up at the Board level. 

Local focus

Responsibility for corruption is duly delegated to obtain a local focus on the issues.

Essity has established a Compliance Council (previously the Code of Conduct Council) consisting of our SVP HR, SVP Sustainability, General Counsel, President Forest Products and the CEO. The Compliance Council oversees implementation of and compliance with the Code of Conduct. 

Essity continuously trains its employees in the Code of Conduct and has established special training programs for anti-bribery and anti-trust. We have developed an anti-corruption e-learning course translated into 21 languages. In 2015, the company commenced implementation of the e-learning course in onboarding programs. Essity has anti-trust programs in place and, in 2015, the Group launched an anti-trust e-learning training course with the aim of improving employees’ understanding of competition laws and how these impact their daily work.

Sedex sets the standard

Follow-up and implementation of the Code takes the form of an evaluation performed in an external ethical database, Sedex, which forms the basis for a risk assessment (Maplecroft risk assessment method) of all of our production sites, and through the Internal Audit unit, which conducts annual business practice reviews and report directly to the Board’s Audit Committee. A whistleblower procedure is detailed in the Code of Conduct.

Essity’s SVP Group Sustainability is a member of the Executive Management Team and has specialist competency in these issues, and heads a CSR department dedicated to these matters. The General Counsel is responsible for the Anti-bribery and Anti-trust aspects of the program, but coordinates this with the CSR department.

Violations - grounds for dismissal

Essity takes these issues very seriously and violations of the Code of Conduct in these respects is grounds for dismissal. Actions have been taken in a number of cases with the support of the Code of Conduct.

The Sustainability Report is available on our intranet and the website along with the Code of Conduct and instructions governing Suppliers relations. All employees have access to this information.

Our Sustainability Report is reviewed annually by independent auditors.

Last updated: 7/6/2017