S Group has worked for a long time to ensure responsible procurement. Our procurement operations are guided by the principle of non-discrimination, product-specific quality requirements and a commitment to respecting human and labour rights.
When procuring our private label products, we ensure responsibility and product safety throughout the process. Our procurement contracts require the manufacturers as well as the raw material producers to comply with the requirements of the law and collective agreements, human rights and international minimum labour standards.
In 2019, already 98% of our direct procurement from high-risk countries came from suppliers that had been audited by a third party.
Audits – Factory inspections by third parties
Our principle is that direct purchases of our own brand and own import products from risk countries are from audited suppliers. Audits refer to factory inspections, such as amfori BSCI audits or equivalent third-party audits. In the amfori BSCI system, independent auditors inspect production plants to ensure that the criteria of the Code of Conduct are met in practice. Audits cover, for example, working time and occupational safety practices, as well as the payment of the statutory minimum wage. Of the direct purchases of S Group’s own brand and own import products from high-risk countries, 97% are audited.
Disclosing the country of origin
It is important for us to disclose the origin of products to the customer as transparently and conveniently as possible. Information about the country of manufacture is included on the packaging or care instructions of our private label consumer goods, such as household textiles and apparels.
We will use only sustainably produced cotton in our private label and import products. This change will take place gradually by the end of 2025. By then, all cotton should be 100% organic or recycled, or produced in line with the Fairtrade International or Better Cotton initiative. The use of Turkmen and Uzbek cotton is prohibited. Read more about the types of sustainable cotton below.
Our private label products made from organic cotton have either GOTS or OCS certificate. Cotton is produced with less pesticides and synthetic herbicides. The purpose of farming is to maintain the diversity of nature, richness of the soil and human well-being. Many of our private label children’s clothes are made from organic cotton, for example.
Our private label products made from recycled cotton have either GRS (Global Recycle Standard) or RCS (Recycled Content Standard) certificate. Majority of recycled cotton is made of textile manufacturers’ waste cuttings, which are used to replace the so-called traditional cotton. Since this kind of cotton has already gone through the chain as raw material, its environmental impact is much smaller than that of new cotton.
The criteria for Fairtrade cotton take the environment and human rights into account. In addition to the guaranteed minimum price, the farmers of Fairtrade cotton receive a Fairtrade Premium. Fairtrade cotton can also be traced back to the farming community. S Group’s cotton bags are made from Fairtrade cotton.
Better Cotton Initiative
The goal of Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is to promote sustainable farming methods and to improve the rights and well-being of farmers. BCI cotton cannot be traced back to individual products, since the cotton is procured through the Mass Balance system. The BCI cotton is mixed in with regular cotton, but its total amount in the chain is known and remains the same.
The sandblasting method has not been used in the manufacturing of denim products sold under S Group’s private labels. Manual sandblasting of textiles with insufficient protective equipment is hazardous. This prohibition is recorded in our procurement criteria and our product requirements for the suppliers of S Group’s private label products.
Recycling of textiles
Several Sokos stores have an Emmy collection box where you can leave wearable clothes to be resold. You can also return old textiles that are no longer used to any of S Group’s 280 clothes collection points, which you will find by the Rinki recycling stations. Please pack clean and intact clothes to a plastic bag, which will protect them from moisture and dirt. Dirty and broken clothes are not meant for clothes collection. Textiles from the collection points are sorted to be reused or recycled. A small part of the textiles goes to energy production.