Kesko’s Annual Report wins the Human Rights category of the Finnish sustainability reporting competition

Long-term work for human rights and extensive reporting saw Kesko win the Human Rights category of this year’s sustainability reporting competition. Kesko’s report also ranked among the Top 11 in the two other competition categories, Climate Change and Value Creation, as well as the overall competition.
From the left: Sohvi Vähämaa, Sustainability Manager, Matti Kalervo, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, and Matti Mettälä, EVP, Human Resources, Corporate Responsibility and Regional Relations. Photo by Ari Rask.

“Corporate responsibility work is a never-ending journey. Our victory in the Human Rights category enforces our belief that we are doing the right things and that our work for human rights and the related reporting are good. I want to express my warmest thanks to all our employees and partners who promote human rights both in our own operations as well as our supply chains,” said Matti Mettälä, Kesko’s EVP of Human Resources, Corporate Responsibility and Regional Relations, as he collected the award at the ceremony held in Helsinki.

Kesko successful in all competition categories

The objective of the competition is to encourage Finnish sustainability reporting to be informative and useful to stakeholders and to recognise companies that have invested in the reporting.

The 2019 competition was organised by Aalto University School of Business, Climate Leadership Coalition, FIBS, Finland's Sustainable Investment Forum (Finsif), Hanken School of Economics, Nasdaq Helsinki, Suomen Tilintarkastajat ry, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, Association for Environmental Management (YJY), and Ministry of the Environment.

This year’s competition categories and winners:

• Overall competition: Stora Enso Oyj
• Climate Change: Varma Mutual Pension Insurance Company
• Human Rights: Kesko Corporation
• Value creation: Martela Corporation

Kesko ranked high in all competition categories: winner in the Human Rights category, and among the top 10 in the overall competition, top 9 in the Climate Change category, and top 11 in the Value Creation category.

In relation to Kesko’s win in the Human Rights category, the jury stated:

The jury has chosen Kesko as the winner of the Human Rights category. Human rights are a key challenge for the trading sector, and companies need to pay special attention to ensuring the actualisation of human rights in the purchasing chain. The jury notes that Kesko has successfully identified human rights issues in its operations and done visible work to resolve them, and Kesko’s report prominently highlights human rights issues. The company reports clearly and extensively on actions it has undertaken to improve its human rights related responsibility. The table on auditing results by area is a good example of quality reporting. In terms of development, the jury suggests considering more extensive assurance for the report.

Good reporting always requires actions

Since 2000, Kesko has reported on its operations annually in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines for sustainability reporting. There have been continuous efforts to improve the reporting to better meet the needs of key stakeholders: investors, analysts, rating agencies, media and NGOS.

Stakeholders expect more and more extensive corporate responsibility actions. As a big operator in the trading sector, K Group wants to make sure that its customers can trust the sustainability and responsibility of its selections and supply chains.

There are continuous efforts to improve supply chain transparency: Kesko publishes annual listings of shoe and clothing factories in high risk countries; in 2018 we joined the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh; and in 2016 we joined the Center for Child-Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility (CCR CSR), an organisation striving to prevent child labour in China. The number of social responsibility audits used to assess suppliers in high-risk countries grows every year, and sustainability training is arranged for the suppliers.

In 2016, Kesko published its statement of commitment on human rights and impact assessment in compliance with the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The impact assessment is reviewed every three years, and monitoring and indicators are used to boost the efforts.

During 2019, K Group has set up a day care facility at a lamp factory in China, participated in the campaign promoting the adoption of corporate social responsibility legislation in Finland, and promoted personnel equality and diversity, for example, through Kesko’s TASY gender equality working group.

This year, K Group and CCR CSR opened a summer day care facility for the children of workers in a Chinese lamp factory, thus enabling the families to spend the summer together.

FIBS’s release in full (in Finnish).

More information on Kesko’s human rights efforts can be found in the Sustainability section of Kesko’s Annual Report (pages 33-39)

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