Circular economy - S Group
Circular economy

Circular economy

Excessive use of resources and changes in the availability of raw materials, as well as the limited end uses of the raw materials used in products, are affecting and will continue to affect our operating environment. Circular economy solutions allow us to curb the climate change and also impact biodiversity. By keeping raw materials in circulation longer, we can influence the sustainable use of natural resources.

Recycling raw materials

  • Our goal is to recycle 80% of waste as materials or raw material for new products by the end of 2025.
  • We also participate in the material efficiency commitment for the food industry that seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of food production, distribution and consumption.
  • The biowaste generated in our stores is utilised in the production of Eko E85 fuel sold at ABC service stations.
  • We are constantly surveying new partnership models for circular economy solutions. For example, our used buckets for cut flowers were utilised as raw material for the Sinituote range of cleaning equipment. In the project, the plastic was being circulated for the third time, because the raw material for the buckets was already recycled plastic.
  • The importance of return logistics has increased in recent years, even in terms of material efficiency. The re-use of packaging has also significantly increased in our logistics, and in addition to conventional wooden pallets and trolleys, we are also increasingly using plastic fruit and vegetable boxes in our logistics.
  • The recycling efforts of our customers are helped by an extensive recycling network at our outlets.

Food wastage

  • The goal is that food wastage is halved by the end of 2030. The goal is in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • One of our visible methods of wastage management is red-labelled products at stores. in 2020, our grocery stores sold a total of some 80 million red-labelled products.
  • Some of our cooperatives utilise Hävikki (Wastage) boxes or the Eilisen tähteet (Yesterday’s leftovers) model of operations, where fruit and vegetables that are still good to eat but do not meet the strict quality criteria are packaged and sold at low prices to customers.
  • Food is also donated to charity, and S Group has some 400 food aid partners.
  • In 2020, wastage in the food supply chain was also prevented with efficient cooperation. During the coronavirus restrictions in the spring, products usually destined for restaurants were quickly taken into the supply of S Group’s grocery stores, which reduced the potential wastage in the meat processing industry, among other things.
  • We cooperate with food rescue service ResQ Club. In 2020, the service helped us rescue more than 80,000 helpings of food from our restaurants and ABC.

Food waste


  • We participate in the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment that seeks to reduce the unnecessary use of plastic, develop reusable packaging and increase the efficiency of recycling.
  • We participate in the national plastic bag commitment that seeks to reduce the use of plastic bags. The goal is for every Finn to use no more than 40 plastic bags per year by the end of 2025.
  • We have increased the use of recycled raw materials in recent years. In addition to conventional shopping bags, recycled raw material is utilised particularly for packaging private-label detergent products. All in all, recycled raw material is already utilised for the packaging of more than 50 private-label grocery store products.
  • The packaging of all S Group’s private-label products can be sorted for recycling.
  • In 2020, we reduced the amount of plastic in the packaging of some 80 private-label grocery products.
  • We add sorting instructions in plain language to our private-label packaging. These instructions are already available on the packaging of over 1,000 private-label grocery products. The packaging changes are also pointed out on the packaging with the “Kehitimme pakkausta” (“More developed packaging”) label that was added to the packaging of more than 40 products in 2020.
  • Our plastic policy includes practical targets and actions to promote the responsible use of plastic.

Read more about our comprehensive work for circular economy from our annual report and sustainability review.

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