S Group’s policy for promoting animal welfare - S Group

S Group’s policy for promoting animal welfare

S Group is committed to responsible procurement, and we respect animal welfare. This policy assembles the expectations relating to the production of animal-based products in S Group’s product ranges.

S Group’s product ranges include various animal-based products that are under several product categories and sold in different business areas. The following principles of freedom should be adhered to in their production:

  • The animal is free from hunger, thirst and incorrect diet.
  • The animal is free from fear and long-term stress.
  • The animal is free from physical and mental suffering.
  • The animal is free from pain, injuries and disease.
  • The animal is free to express behaviour typical of its species.

We require that the primary production, transport, handling and slaughter of production animals are performed without unnecessary suffering. In the supply chain of animal-based products, valid regulations on the protection of animals must be followed, and the natural and species-specific needs of the animals must be respected.

We are conducting a dialogue with our product suppliers, and we are organising surveys and audits on production facilities to monitor how committed our suppliers’ procurement chains are to respecting animal welfare, and how they have evolved in their commitment.

The principles apply to the S Group’s operations in Finland, i.e. SOK and its subsidiaries and regional cooperatives. The policy applies to products under S Group’s private labels and branded products, as well as both Finnish and foreign production. In Estonia and Russia, we are currently conducting a discussion with our suppliers about promoting animal welfare. We will reassess the situation with them in 2021.

Species-specific criteria


We are gradually ceasing the sale of enriched cage eggs the end of 2026. The sale of enriched cage eggs will cease gradually, because some of our egg producers have invested heavily in enriched cage egg production since the legislation was amended in 2012.

Beak trimming of poultry

The primary goal should be to ensure conditions that are as stress-free as possible, making it unnecessary to trim the beaks of chickens. The trimming of beaks is only approved for chickens under the age of 10 days, using the infrared method.

Castration of male pigs

We require that pain medication is used when boars are castrated.

Trimming of pig’s tails

Trimming of tails is only approved if the farm has a programme in place that aims to prevent the biting of tails. The goal of the programme should be to stop trimming tails completely.

Disbudding of calves

We recommend that pain medication is used when calves are polled. Disbudding of calves over six weeks of age is only approved if it is performed by a veterinarian, and if an appropriate pain medication is used. It is prohibited to use corrosive agents.

Using antibiotics and hormones

We do not approve of routine-like antibiotic medication or antibiotic feed for healthy animals. Antibiotics can only be used when prescribed by a veterinarian, and their use should be limited to treating sick animals. Hormones that affect the growth of production animals are prohibited in all EU countries, and meat from outside the EU must conform to EU regulations.

Stunning animals

We do not approve of slaughtering animals without stunning them first. We recommend installing camera surveillance in slaughter houses.

Transport of animals

The transport time to the slaughter house should be a maximum of eight hours.

Cloning and breeding

We do not approve of ingredients that come from cloned animals in any meat product. In addition, we do not approve of any species in our product ranges that cannot breed naturally due to breeding.

Duck liver and foie gras

We do not accept duck liver and foie gras in our product range if force-feeding has been used in their production.

White veal

S Group’s restaurants and grocery stores do not sell white veal meat.

Animal testing in cosmetics

Since 2013, the sale of cosmetics tested on animals has been prohibited by EU legislation. This prohibition also applies to ingredients used in cosmetics. We comply with the legislation, which means that our own cosmetics have not been tested on animals, even outside the EU.

Vegan cosmetics

Animal-based fibres, hairs or leather are not used in We Care Icon make-up accessories and hair brushes. Animal-based ingredients, such as lanolin, collagen or honey, are not used in We Care Icon cosmetics. We aim to make the product series completely vegan during 2022 by removing products containing carmine.

Down and feathers

We do not accept any products in our product ranges that contain down or feathers plucked from live birds.

Angora and mohair

We do not accept any angora products in our product ranges that contain hairs from skinned live rabbits. Animals should be treated in a way that avoids unnecessary suffering.

Merino wool

We do not accept any merino wool products in our product ranges if the mulesing method has been used in their primary production.


Our chain selection does not include products containing furs.


The leather in leather products must be a by-product from meat production.

Promoted goals

S Group wishes to promote animals’ welfare and their species-specific behaviour. In particular, the animals should have the possibility to move around, exercise and be outdoors, because this promotes wellbeing and improves the health of animals’ legs.

S Group encourages producers to develop their production towards methods that allow animals to move (e.g. free-range pastures and free farrowing). However, changes to production facilities require significant investment by producers, so an appropriate transition period should be allowed.

We are initiating discussions with producer associations, suppliers and other stakeholders about the schedule to cease the use of tie-stall barns and farrowing cages.

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