The circular economy - S-ryhmä
The circular economy
Responsibility

The circular economy

The circular economy

S Group recycles raw materials and resources efficiently in line with the principles of the circular economy. We are also continuously identifying new operating models related to the circular economy in order to recycle valuable raw materials and resources even more efficiently and for longer than before.

One of our goals is to recycle 80% of our waste to be used as raw materials. This has a considerable effect, as S Group’s imported products alone involve 50,000 tonnes of packaging materials per year.

You can read more about our ways to save natural resources and use materials efficiently and sustainably in our annual review.

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We help our customers recycle

We make our 2.4 million co-op members’ daily lives easier by offering them access to recycling stations in connection with our locations. In addition, we will add clear and simple sorting instructions on our private label products in conjunction with packaging overhauls.

Many of the products in our selections include recycled raw materials. Recycled paperboard and paper are already used extensively, and the use of recycled textiles and household plastic is increasing gradually. Recycled plastic has been used in plastic bags for a long time.

We are continuously seeking and testing new and more varied ways to use recycled materials in product packaging and transport, for example.

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Reducing the unnecessary use of plastic

We will minimise the unnecessary use of plastic. We will recycle plastic as much as possible. We are also helping our customers recycle plastic, as well as offering various alternatives to plastic.

Our plastic policy includes practical targets and actions to promote the responsible use of plastic.

Our business operations are promoting the sensible use of plastic in the following ways:

S Group’s plastic policy by business area

S GROUP

  • We will direct 80% of our waste to the manufacture of new products and packages by the end of 2025.
  • We will increase awareness of recycling plastic packaging.

SUPERMARKETS

  • We are committed to reducing the consumption of plastic bags as part of the national plastic bag commitment. The goal is that Finns will use no more than 40 plastic bags per person by the end of 2025.
  • The packaging of our private label products will be fully recyclable by the end of 2022.
  • We will have more packaging made from renewable raw materials for our private label products.
  • We will add bio-based or compostable products to our product range as alternatives to disposable plastic products, such as straws, cotton buds, cutlery and cups.
  • We will explore opportunities to reduce the amount of packaging material without compromising quality.
  • We will look for alternatives to plastic packaging materials and plastic bags used in the online food trade.
  • Microbeads are not used in our private label cosmetics and cleaning agents.
  • We will add clear and simple sorting instructions on the packaging of our private label products.
  • We have prohibited the use of PVC in product packaging.
  • We have prohibited the use of oxo-degradable plastics in products and packaging.

DEPARTMENT STORES AND SPECIALITY STORES

  • We are committed to reducing the consumption of plastic bags as part of the national plastic bag commitment. The goal is that Finns will use no more than 40 plastic bags per person by the end of 2025.
  • During 2018, we added reusable bags to our Sokos range of shopping bags subject to a charge, as an alternative to plastic bags.
  • Microbeads are not used in our private label cosmetics.
  • We will test a reusable packaging alternative in the Sokos online shop in 2019.

RESTAURANTS

  • We will stop making plastic straws readily available in restaurants by the end of 2018. In the future, customers will get a straw made from paper or bioplastic only if they separately request it from the staff. Straws may be offered to children depending on the situation.
  • We will stop using plastic drink sticks by the end of 2019.
  • We will replace all plastics in our takeaway packaging with recyclable, bio-based or compostable plastics by the end of 2022.
  • In 2019, we will start selling reusable mugs in all S Group cafés. If customers use them, they will get a larger coffee for the price of a smaller one. The same offer applies to all mugs in addition to the S Group mugs.
  • We will replace plastic ketchup and dip sauce dishes used at restaurants with paper or reusable dishes in 2019.

ABC SERVICE STATIONS

  • We will reduce the amount of plastic in our takeaway packaging by 20% by the end of 2022.
  • We will replace all plastics in our takeaway packaging with recyclable, bio-based or compostable plastics by the end of 2022.
  • In 2019, we will start selling reusable mugs in all our locations. If customers use them, they will get a medium coffee at the price of a small coffee. The same offer applies to all mugs in addition to the ABC mugs.
  • We will replace plastic ketchup and dip sauce dishes used at restaurants with paper or reusable dishes in 2019.
  • We will stop making plastic straws and lids readily available by the end of 2018. In the future, it will only be possible to get a straw and a lid if it is separately requested at the checkout. Straws may be offered to children depending on the situation.

HOTELS

  • We stopped giving plastic toys to children by the end of 2018. We replaced the gifts with alternative products.
  • We stopped using plastic bags by the end of 2018.
  • We will stop serving products wrapped in plastic in the rooms by the end of 2020.
  • We will explore opportunities to increase the share of recycled plastic in cosmetic kits.
  • We replaced cotton buds containing plastic with a plastic-free alternative by the end of 2018.
  • We will replace fleece blankets with blankets made from natural fibres by the end of 2020.
  • We will start using pens made from recycled plastic in 2019.
  • We will explore hotel-specific opportunities to organise separate collection of plastic packaging in our own operations and in hotel rooms.

You can read more about our current and future ways to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic in our annual review.

From food waste to biofuel for transport

Food waste management is an important part of operating in line with the principles of the circular economy, but it is also a financial issue.

We minimise food waste through systematic action and monitoring. We distribute and donate soon-to-expire food products through our extensive network of partners.

In our stores, we seek to sell products as soon after their arrival as possible. Their freshness is checked daily, and we reduce the prices of products nearing their ‘best before’ dates. Our discounted products with red labels (-30%) and evening discounts (-60%) are popular among our customers.

At S Group’s grocery stores, each product is recorded as waste individually. This enables us to monitor the amount of waste and analyse it accurately by product and store on a daily basis.

At restaurants, waste is generated when preparing food and as leftovers on customers’ plates. At buffets, waste is reduced by closely monitoring the number of guests, scheduling preparation and serving food in accordance with the number of customers, for example. We primarily donate any unsold food products to charity. S Group’s grocery stores have more than 400 charity partners in Finland, with nearly 700 stores donating food. Items generating the most food waste suitable for donation include fresh bread, fruit and vegetables.

Any waste that we cannot donate for one reason or another is submitted to be reused as energy. For example, we use food waste in the production of biogas or the Eko E85 bioethanol fuel, which is sold at many ABC service stations. Deep-frying oil from restaurants is recycled via Suomen Kasviöljykierrätys, a company specialising in recycling vegetable oils, to be used in the production of renewable fuels.

You can read more about our ways to minimise food waste in our annual review.

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