5.1 Environmental management system

Essity maintains a continuous focus on the current environmental status of and the future improvements required to reduce the environmental impact of its products and activities. Suppliers should be prepared to demonstrate their commitment and ability to support this initiative. 

Each supplier must adopt and implement a documented EMS (Environmental Management System), preferably at levels specific in the current ISO 14001 certification, including, at minimum:

  • An environmental and/or sustainability policy
  • A documented investigation of the supplier’s current environmental impact, including analyses and prioritizations which can be used as a basis for planning actions to reduce environmental impact identification of all applicable legal requirements
  • Defined and documented responsibilities, and available resources
  • Setting of goals and actions for continuous Improvement
  • Regular management review of the EMS and its effectiveness

5.2 Climate and energy

Essity also endeavors to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from a holistic perspective, i.e. from the extraction of resources, through production, transportation, use and end of product life.

Essity expects all suppliers to actively work to reduce emissions, both in terms of energy and electricity involved in the manufacture, transportation and sourcing of goods supplied.

Suppliers must have in place an energy and electricity program, including defined activities and goals for improving energy efficiency.

Essity will give preference to those suppliers who increase their proportionate use of renewable energy and electricity and work with alternative materials/goods that are more environmentally sound.  Essity promotes transport modes with low emissions per ton-kilometer and the optimization of freight and transport between suppliers and Essity.

5.3 Environmental questionnaires

Essity continually assesses the environmental performance of its suppliers. As part of this effort, and as input for life cycle assessments and/or environmental labeling, updates and surveys are necessary.

Suppliers will be required to answer questions put forward by Essity from time-to-time on various topics at the individual site level, including:

  • Use of energy (electricity and fuels)
  • Water use
  • Source and traceability of feedstock and raw materials
  • Emissions to air/water
  • Waste
  • Transports

Essity may also require that suppliers provide such environmental information about their sub-suppliers and the materials/components they add to the supply chain.

On a supplier’s request, a confidentiality agreement can be signed to restrict the use of the information to a level where only the supplier’s environmental status is assessed.

5.4 Wood and wood derived fibers 5

FSC® and PEFC™ are international certification schemes recognized by Essity and all virgin wood and wood derived fibers must originate from FSC or PEFC chain of custody sources. Essity requires that all suppliers of wood fiber materials hold a FSC Chain-of-Custody (CoC) certification, regardless of adherence to other forest certification schemes. The portion originating from certified forests shall be continually reviewed and suppliers are requested to define plans for increasing their use of certified fibers.

Essity recognizes that certain of its suppliers and converters are in the process of obtaining their FSC CoC Certification.  In those cases, Essity may continue to source wood fiber materials from such suppliers or converters, provided they disclose the sources of their wood fiber and their plan to obtain the certification, which in both cases are satisfactory to Essity.  Any wood fiber based material that is not FSC certified (including PEFC certified fibers) must always be accompanied with an FSC Controlled Wood statement. 

  • Wood from the following types of sources is not accepted:
  • Illegally harvested wood
  • Wood harvested in violation of traditional or human rights
  • Wood harvested in forest in which high conservation values (HCVs) are threatened by forest management activities
  • Wood harvested in forests being converted to plantations and non-forest use
  • Wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted

Pulp suppliers will receive a copy of the Essity Global Fiber Sourcing Policy together with a detailed pulp supplier questionnaire every two year. Compliance to the policy is mandatory, and any issue which may result in the supplier being non-compliant must be reported to Essity as early as possible. 

Pulp suppliers are required to provide documents and other evidence (such as felling permits etc.) when requested by Essity within 48 hours to assist Essity compliance with relevant legislation such as EU Timber Regulation and the Lacey Act in the US.

5.5 Pulp production

The environmental impact of pulp production, i.e. emissions to air6 and emissions to water7, contribute to the assessment of suppliers’ environmental performance. Levels and technology comparable with the European Industrial Emissions Directive and its associated BAT levels (Best Available Techniques) are preferred.

5.6 Cotton

Cotton is considered as a high-risk material by Essity in terms of its social and environmental impact. The crop is often grown in areas where basic human rights are not respected. Furthermore, cotton farming, if not well managed, can lead to irresponsible application of insecticides & pesticides with adverse impact on water quality and human and animal health.

Essity encourages the production of sustainable cotton, e.g., cotton produced pursuant to a recognized certification scheme such as BCI (Better Cotton Initiative), Fair Trade and GOTS of which BCI is the preferred option. Suppliers shall be transparent and comply with Essity’s requirements for information regarding traceability and origin of cotton.

5.7 Other renewable fibers

Other renewable fibers can be derived from plants such as corn, sugar cane or cotton. Suppliers to Essity of any other renewable fibers intended for any part of the goods will be asked to fulfill requirements similar to those applicable for virgin wood fibers, e.g. origin, traceability and environmental and social performance.

5.8 Recovered wood fibers

Recovered fibers shall regarding environmental and social performance fulfill the same requirements as applicable to virgin wood fibers, including FSC® Chain-of-custody certification. 

5.9 Renewable ingredients

Cosmetics products or chemicals can contain renewable ingredients such as palm oil or similar. Suppliers of cosmetics or chemicals will be requested to show documentation that their supply chain is certified according to a recognized system such as RSPO (Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil).

5.10 Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

Renewable fibers and ingredients include fibers or ingredients from managed forests or other agricultural crops. The vast majority of Essity´s product assortment does not include raw materials with a GM (Gene Modified) origin. Forest fibers shall always be free of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms).

In those few cases where a raw material could be of GM origin, the GMO-free alternative shall be the preferred choice. If a GMO-free alternative is not available, Essity’s approval is required and an assessment from a safety and environmental perspective will be performed by Essity before such approval is given.

5.11 Electronics 

Components included in electronics supplied to Essity shall be the subject of a documented responsible supply chain. Relevant information shall be provided to Essity in the form of a completed CMRT* document.  Included components may not contain the minerals defined as conflict minerals (tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold) or their derivatives unless they are sourced through recognized and responsible certification schemes.

5 Wood derived fibers include, but are not limited to, pulps, mother reels, packaging, semi-finished and finished goods containing fibers originating from forest operations.

6 GHGs (Greenhouse Gases, e.g. sulfur and nitrogen oxides)

7 COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), and/or BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand), TOC (Total Organic Carbon), AOX (Adsorbable Organic Halides) and phosphorus