Essity conducts a materiality analysis among its stakeholders every second year. The analysis provides insight into the subject areas that are significant to the company’s various stakeholders and forms the basis of the strategy and operations.
The most recent materiality analysis was conducted in 2019, when about 900 customers, consumers, suppliers, investors, media representatives, representatives of the community and employees responded to the online survey. The selection of subject areas to be included in the materiality analysis was guided by such frameworks and governing documents as the Global Reporting Initiative, the UN Global Compact, Essity’s Code of Conduct and other subjects considered to be material based on Essity’s strategy.
A graph on how the 21 different areas were placed in the analysis after how they were ranked in the survey show that interest in such topics as climate change, waste/circularity and plastics increased during the year, which is shown in the analysis. These topped the list, together with innovation and business ethics, which remain the topics that the stakeholders find to be most important.
Innovation was ranked as the most important area by stakeholders. By maintaining proximity to our customers and consumers, understanding their needs and transforming this knowledge into products and services, Essity makes a positive difference in people’s everyday lives, and strengthens our market positions and brands. Essity works continuously to develop better products and services in which sustainability aspects are integrated into the innovation process.
2. Climate change (Previously: CO2 emissions)
Essity has established ambitious climate objectives and continuously endeavors to minimize emissions from its own production operations and purchased electricity. Essity’s efforts to reduce its climate impact and energy use are manifested through numerous projects, investments and modifications of processes, all of which contribute individually to the target of reducing CO2 emissions. Essity´s target for CO2 emissions are in line with the Paris Agreement and have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative.
3. Business ethics
Business ethics was given the third greatest weight in the survey. Free and fair competition is an important cornerstone in every society, and for every sustainable business operation. Essity has zero tolerance for corrupt and unethical behavior. Essity’s human rights and corruption risk analysis is based on assessments carried out by Transparency International and Sedex.
Essity’s risk assessments are also included in the Group’s audits in connection with acquisitions. Anti-corruption is included in Essity’s Code of Conduct. Essity conducts all activities in accordance with applicable laws and regulations and performs regular risk assessments relating to corruption. These assessments include due diligence of suppliers and other business partners. Essity has developed an anti-corruption e-learning course, translated into 21 languages. This e-learning is included in onboarding programs.
4. Waste/circularity and plastics (Prev: Resource efficiency + Post consumer-waste)
Essity takes a life cycle approach and promotes resource efficiency in relation to its production, products, services and innovations. Essitys initiates partnerships and evaluate solutions to minimize waste, find alternative uses and/or create new resources – from raw materials to end-consumer. Essity uses life cycle assessments (LCAs) to minimize waste, all the way from the product design stage to manufacturing and after use. Reducing the environmental impact of products throughout the product cycle, including the post-user phase, is part of Essity’s innovation process.
Open and responsible communication is important to Essity. Essity aims to be perceived as a transparent and professional partner and will continue to strengthen Essity’s position as a leading global hygiene and health company by being available, agile and proactive. Essitys sustainability disclosures is reported in accordance with the GRI Reporting Standards in the Annual and Sustainability Report, which is audited by external auditors.
6. Safe products (Prev: Product safety)
Essity follows strict requirements and procedures to ensure that all materials in the company’s products are safe for consumers, employees and the environment. Essity has a global product safety position in place for all products to ensure that they are safe for their intended purpose. Essity’s Global Supplier Standard includes responsible business operations, quality, product safety, environmental and social requirements, and the company works closely with its suppliers to ensure that its high standards are met.
7. Customer and consumer satisfaction
Customer understanding and consumer insight determine the innovations Essity develops and how finished products and services are delivered to the market. A dialogue with consumers is conducted through focus groups, in-depth interviews and other alternatives. Our sales representatives provide a great deal of know-how to the development team.
8. Water (Prev: Water use and water purification)
The issue of water is being dealt with systematically. Essity strives to reduce its water usage and monitors the volume and origin of the water it uses as well as the quality of its effluent water.
9. Health, well-being and equality (Prev: Health and safety)
Health, well-being and equality are important to our stakeholders and critical for Essity’s business. Our aim is zero workplace accidents. The health and safety of employees in the workplace is highly prioritized. In addition to promoting health and safety at our own sites, check suppliers’ practices and collaborate with them to improve safety performance.
10. Human capital
Human capital is assigned less importance by the stakeholders than by Essity. It appears reasonable that Essity has greater insight into how crucial the employees’ attitudes and expertise are to the Group’s success. Our employee surveys provide valuable knowledge about employee opinions and constitute a tool for improvement activities. It is important for Essity to attract, retain and develop top talents.
11. Human rights
Violations of human rights are taken very seriously at Essity. These are reported and managed in the same way as other breaches of the company´s Code of Conduct. Essity’s approach to human rights is informed by the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights (UNGP).
12. Fiber sourcing
Responsible sourcing is key for Essity and includes ensuring the Group’s fiber comes from responsible sources. Essity does not own any forests but contributes to sustainable forestry through its objectives and control of its fiber sourcing, with the aim of ensuring sustainable forestry management, preserving ecosystems and biodiversity, and protecting the rights of indigenous communities.
Strong brands and market positions are built on innovative products and services that simplify everyday life for people. Essity is a new brand as of 2017. Innovative products and services simplify everyday life for people and strengthen Essity’s brands and market positions. Strong brands mean the company can increase the impact of its innovations. A strong corporate brand helps the company to become more attractive among potential new employees.
14. Corporate governance
A transparent organization and corporate governance are necessary to support Essity’s strategy and ensure the Group’s commitments to all its stakeholders.
15. Efficient supply chain (Prev: Value chain efficiency)
Essity’s ambition is to promote sustainable and responsible business throughout its supply chain by choosing and rewarding partners who share our values and comply with our Code of Conduct and Global Supplier Standard. Essity wants to ensure safe and high-quality goods and services for our customers and consumers, delivered with respect for people and nature.
16. Market positions
Strengthening Essity’s positions and improving awareness of Essity’s product brands fuels profitability and supports growth.
17. Risk management
Essity manages financial, social, environmental and corporate governance risks in the most efficient way possible to ensure it can achieve the targets set for the Group.
Essity works with digitalization to maximize value creation for our customers, consumers, owners and other stakeholders. A greater digital focus entails using digital solutions to improve efficiency and productivity, build customer and consumer loyalty, continuously develop Essity’s digital platforms to make our products and solutions even more accessible and create awareness of hygiene and health via social media.
19. Distribution and accessibility (Prev: Distribution)
Essity monitors the environmental impact of its transport activities and is working on a broad front to reduce emissions. These efforts include increasing the fill ratio, applying various techniques to reduce fuel consumption, prioritizing transport means with less environmental impact, reducing distances traveled and strengthening purchasing procedures.
For Essity, being a good corporate citizen means paying tax and complying with laws and regulations – even the spirit of the law.
21. Cyber and information security
The security of Essity’s information, infrastructure and applications is taken very seriously. The company demonstrates its commitment to information security through the implementation of Group Information Security Policies with adherent standards and instructions.