A company as large as Ahlsell has a responsibility which extends beyond its own activities. The products which Ahlsell sells must come from suppliers that, like Ahlsell itself, take human rights and environmental issues seriously. This means that the Group sets higher requirements of both its own and suppliers' activities than stipulated by law, especially for suppliers whose operations or subsuppliers lie in risk areas.

Ahlsell sets requirements
To ensure that all companies with which the Group trades fulfil Ahlsell's requirements, Ahlsell has a code of conduct which all suppliers are required to sign. Our code of conduct is based on the principles in the ISO 26000 standard and describes the minimum requirements for the Group's own conduct and for how our suppliers operate their activities, from a sustainability viewpoint. The market must be able to trust that Ahlsell conducts itself with the greatest integrity concerning economic, environmental and social sustainability.

New suppliers must be approved
Before an agreement is signed with a new supplier, the supplier's activities and policies must be assessed. All suppliers with which Ahlsell entered into cooperation during 2016 were assessed on the basis of environmental and ethical factors, according to Ahlsell's code of conduct. Ahlsell thereafter continuously follows up its suppliers to check that they continue to fulfil the Group's requirements.

Continuous assessment for shared development
In 2015 and 2016, Ahlsell gave priority to assessing its largest suppliers. Size is based on purchased value, which means that the Group´s most important suppliers in terms of trading volume are assessed first. During the last two years more than 20 percent of the suppliers were audited, based on purchased value.

When Ahlsell audits its suppliers, the aim is to improve together. Ahlsell has chosen not to focus solely on finding deficiencies, but instead to identify development opportunities and implement new ideas, together with the suppliers. The Group therefore measures the number of development opportunities found, and not only the number of deficiencies. The audits are performed by an internal audit team. Any deficiencies are documented and followed up.

Focus on working conditions
In accordance with the code of conduct, both suppliers and Ahlsell must ensure that no forced labour, work outside statutory working hours, or work in unsafe working environments take place at any of Ahlsell's suppliers. If Ahlsell identifies any risk of non-compliance with these terms, an action plan will be established. If this action plan is not fulfilled, Ahlsell will terminate the cooperation.

Zero tolerance of child labour
Ahlsell does not tolerate child labour in its activities, or in companies operated by the Group's suppliers, including their subsuppliers. If Ahlsell identifies any risk of child labour taking place at a supplier, Ahlsell will terminate its cooperation with this company.

Ethical business conduct is imperative
One of the core requirements in Ahlsell's code of conduct is ethically correct conduct based on honesty, fairness and integrity. Suppliers also undertake to report all of their business transactions on a fully correct basis, in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and applicable Acts and provisions. Ahlsell always follows up on suspected unethical conduct and corruption.

Protecting the environment
Ahlsell's suppliers must be able to show that they comply with the environmental legislation applying in the countries in which they operate. Suppliers must also comply with the special requirements made by Ahlsell in accordance with ISO 14001.

Clear responsibility
Ahlsell's Board of Directors has designated the Group President and heads of operations in the respective countries as responsible for implementing and ensuring compliance with the code of conduct. To support this implementation, there are policies and regulations with which Ahlsell's employees must be familiar. Suppliers that enter into agreements with Ahlsell are responsible for implementing and following up that Ahlsell's code of conduct is complied with in the supplier's organisation.

Targets for 2017

  • Ahlsell will continue to audit suppliers according to a sustain– ability perspective. By the end of the year, 33 percent of the Group's purchasing spend should come from audited suppliers. The target for 2020 is for this figure to increase to 50 percent.