The case for CSR/ Sustainability Reporting Done Responsibly


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Case study: How Hemtex fights corruption and bribery

As the leading home textiles retail chain in the Nordic Region, offering customers a wide range of home furnishings, with 153 stores in Sweden, Finland and Estonia, Hemtex is a respected brand that seeks to continue to grow and operate responsibly and ethically, in compliance with national and international laws and regulations.

This case study is based on the 2017 Sustainability Report by Hemtex published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Abstract

Hemtex aims to always conduct its business in an ethical manner  Tweet This!, counteracting bribery and corruption through teamwork and a range of strategies and policies. In order to fight corruption and bribery Hemtex took action to:
  • implement an ethics policy
  • provide ethics training
  • protect customer and employee privacy

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Hemtex identified a range of material issues, such as customer health and safety, emissions, diversity and equal opportunity, occupational health and safety, effluents and waste, freedom of association and collective bargaining. Among these, fighting corruption and bribery stands out as a key material issue for Hemtex.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process s of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Hemtex engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Customers

 

·         Hemtex’s store staff and customer service

·         Instagram and Facebook

·         Hemtex customer club

·         Customer surveys

Suppliers

 

 

·         Central and local supplier meetings, supplier visits and regular contact

·         Participation, with suppliers, in initiatives focusing on sustainability issues

Colleagues and Potential Colleagues ·         Employee surveys
Owners

 

·         Annual General Meeting

·         Shareholder meetings

·         Seminars

·         Individual meetings

·         Reports on financial development and sustainability

Local Communities ·         Collaboration with local suppliers

·         Partner of SOS Children’s Villages

Industry peers, Academia & Science, Policy makers and other Stakeholders

 

·         Participation in various forums for dialogue with industry peers, policy makers, student associations and other organizations, through networking, workshops, lectures and direct dialogue

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Hemtex conducted, in 2017, a new materiality analysis, with contributions from both internal employees and representatives of several stakeholders.

What actions were taken by Hemtex to fight corruption and bribery?

In its 2017 Sustainability Report Hemtex reports that it took the following actions for fighting corruption and bribery:

  • Implementing an ethics policy
  • Hemtex applies an ethics policy to both its employees and external contracts, providing clear guidance on how to react to situations where gifts, samples, trips, discounts or other benefits occur. Additionally, Hemtex’s suppliers also have to comply, by contract, with Hemtex’s ethics policy. Moreover, Hemtex makes sure it does not provide grants or donations, directly or indirectly, to politicians, political parties or organisations acting in the political sphere.
  • Providing ethics training
  • Since the autumn of 2015, Hemtex is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ICA Group and, by collaborating with ICA Global Sourcing (IGS), Hemtex has several purchasing offices in Asia. Accordingly, especially in high-risk countries – determined according to the BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) definition –, all staff at IGS participate in regular training on ICA’s Good Business Ethics. In addition, when recruited, staff are informed that IGS in Asia shows zero tolerance to receiving gifts. Suppliers also receive information about the IGS policy and IGS is additionally certified in accordance with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards. In 2017, Hemtex was not subject to any legal action nor convicted of fines, at any time.
  • Protecting customer and employee privacy
  • In 2017, Hemtex carried out work to protect the privacy of both customers and employees, through new policies and measures that restricted eligibility for access to the personal data Hemtex deals with. Moreover, new and stricter personal data agreements were sent to partners with access to personal data and a Data Protection Officer (DPO) has been appointed. In addition, a management organisation, with designated roles and responsibilities, has been established.

Which GRI Standards have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 102-16 Values, principles, standards, and norms of behavior

2) Disclosure 205-1 Operations assessed for risks related to corruption

3) Disclosure 205-2 Communication and training about anti-corruption policies and procedures

4) Disclosure 205-3 Confirmed incidents of corruption and actions taken

5) Disclosure 418-1 Substantiated complaints concerning breaches of customer privacy and losses of customer data

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Hemtex, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Hemtex: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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