1.1 Background and definitions
At Essity, we are constantly working to be the best in class by improving our organization, our processes and the skills of our employees. We are committed to a customer-focused approach and achieving continuous improvement. We expect and encourage our suppliers to adopt these same principles and practices. In support of Essity’s strategy we seek to work together with our suppliers to improve overall performance.
This Global Supplier Standard (the “Supplier Standard”) applies to suppliers of goods and services to members of the Essity group.
This Supplier Standard comprises the requirements for responsible business operations, quality and sustainable development with which suppliers to Essity must comply. It refers to international standards and defines specific Essity requirements. This Supplier Standard may be supplemented from time-to-time by other documents containing additional requirements.
In this document, the following terms have the following meanings:
“goods” means all sorts of materials utilized in Essity’s production process (e.g. non-wovens, fibers, plastic films), packaging materials, chemical substances and preparations (e.g. industrial chemicals1, functional additives2 and auxiliaries3), as well as merchandise4 (as defined below).
“Services” means all types of services provided by suppliers, including services in connection with the supply of goods.
If a supplier’s production is conducted at separate sites or if part of the production process is subcontracted, the requirements in this Supplier Standard continue to apply in full and are relevant for all subcontractors involved in the production process of the goods.
1.2 Supplier Code of Conduct
Essity’s Code of Conduct defines the principles that Essity regards as fundamental for sustainable development and socially responsible behavior. It also constitutes the basis for the Supplier Code of Conduct section in this Supplier Standard, addressing requirements that suppliers to Essity must satisfy within the areas of human rights, health and safety, employee relations, business practices and community involvement.
The Supplier Standard is based on the principles set out in the ISO 9001 standard, notably requiring from suppliers a strong customer focus, continuous improvement, a risk-based approach and process orientation in quality management systems.
For certain product categories, such as medical devices, supplementary regulations and requirements will apply as set out in Annex A3.
In addition, Essity expects its suppliers to act proactively to secure high quality as well as highly reliable, capable and controlled processes at supplier sites, ensuring compliance with required specifications and overall supplier performance.
1.4 Product safety
Product safety is defined as safety for customers, consumers and others who come in contact with Essity’s products. Essity works systematically with product safety to ensure that its products are safe for their intended use. Critical aspects of this effort include control of chemical composition e.g. chemical impurities, and prevention of general and microbiological contamination during the production of goods.
Environmental protection is a key part of the sustainability commitments that are so important to Essity’s business model, including our strategy for growth and value creation. For Essity it is essential to work with resource efficiency and environmental performance in the supply chain to support environmentally sound goods and services.
With regards to environmental management systems, this Supplier Standard is based on the principles set out in the ISO 14001 standard. Environmental requirements are based on Essity’s environmental strategies and objectives.
1.6 Supplier evaluation and compliance
Goods selection and supplier selection have distinct processes at Essity. Both goods and suppliers will be evaluated before supply to Essity will be authorized. Such an evaluation can take the form of a questionnaire, visit or an audit at supplier’s premises. The evaluation can also take place again during the supply relationship at periodic intervals.
Upon thirty (30) days prior written notice, Essity or an external auditing company selected by Essity shall have the right to assess supplier compliance with this Supplier Standard. Supplier shall provide access to its premises and all pertinent information. For any non-compliance identified, corrective actions will be agreed upon by Essity and supplier and executed to ensure that compliance is attained.
By exception to the foregoing, in case Essity has reasons to believe that the Supplier deviates persistently from or breaches in a material way the Supplier Standard, Essity or an external auditing company selected by Essity, has the right to perform an audit immediately and gain access to all relevant documents, premises and information without delay.
Supplier shall pay the reasonable fees and expenses of the external auditing company related to such an audit, the estimated amount of which shall be communicated by Essity or the auditing company before the start of the audit.
The supplier shall implement appropriate measures to ensure that its own suppliers comply with:
- all legal and contractual requirements in relation to the production and delivery of raw materials/components and/or services, including but not limited to conformance with required specifications, and
- similar requirements as those set forth in this Supplier Standard to the extent that said requirements apply to the sub-supplier, its raw materials/components and/or services, including but not limited to the provisions related to the Supplier Code of Conduct.
The supplier shall also ensure that raw material/component specifications or service specifications agreed upon with its own suppliers are consistent with the required specifications of the goods and/or services supplied to Essity, as well as with the requirements set forth in this Supplier Standard.
Essity may disclose certain of its confidential information to suppliers during the course of their business relationship. In such case the confidential information is disclosed solely to support supplier’s obligations to Essity. Suppliers may never disclose Essity confidential information to third parties, nor use such confidential information for any purpose other than its supply of goods or services to Essity, without prior written consent by a person authorized by Essity.
The supplier may only share Essity confidential information within its internal organization to persons having a need to know in order to satisfy its obligations to Essity, and then only if such persons are bound by confidentiality obligations no less stringent than those set forth in this clause. As appropriate, suppliers may be requested to enter into separate confidentiality agreements with Essity.
1 Industrial chemicals refer to all chemicals, e.g. process chemicals and process aids, except functional additives and auxiliaries.
2 Functional additives refer to e.g. super-absorbers, perfumes, lotions, adhesives, dyes/printing inks.
3 Auxiliaries are chemicals that are not directly part of the production process, e.g. cleaning agents, maintenance chemicals or paints.
4 Merchandise means products, whether fully or partially assembled, including, without limitation, hygiene products, cosmetic products, detergents, biocidal products, dispensers, electronic parts as well as promotional articles.