Environmental, social and governance (ESG)
ESG is an acronym for Environmental, Social and Governance factors. We use these three factors to report on and identify the sustainability and responsible business-development of StrongPoint. Our ability to act on our corporate purpose, – to create customer experience, has a strong link to ESG. We can only be successful if we act responsibly and in accordance with our customers, the society, and other stakeholders’ values. We have a responsibility to care for one another in the societies we build together. And at StrongPoint, we act on that responsibility by finding creative technology solutions that help retailers in a wide range of areas, including supporting basic needs like getting access to food, drinks and other essentials.
1. Reporting standards
Our reporting and reporting standards shall ensure that we give a fair and just presentation of the business. We look at the complete value chain in our operations, including how social, ethical, and environmental risks are managed. Our ESG/annual report covers the entire StrongPoint Group. All data reported occurred between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, unless stated otherwise. Related ESG activities describe the situation up until the release of this report. There will be published a separate report in accordance with the GRI-standard in Q2 2021.
StrongPoint has the ambition to follow and report according to the criteria set by UN Global Compact, the GRI Standards, Euronext (Oslo stock exchange) ESG Guidelines, and selected parts of the ISO standards. Our reports are established, and quality assured by our certified external consultant partners. StrongPoint does not use a separate external ESG auditor.
Euronext has established the Euronext guidance on ESG reporting of January 2020 which we follow. Investors increasingly expect companies to recognize and address, in a responsible way, short- and long-term risks and opportunities in relation to environmental, social and governance factors that impact long-term value creation, and the stock exchange therefor have established guidelines for listed companies.
Read more: euronext.com
GRI – The Global Reporting Initiative
GRI – The Global Reporting Initiative maintain the world’s most comprehensive sustainability reporting standards. It is used by approximately 75 percent of all Global Fortune 250 (G250) companies and was also the first global standards for sustainability reporting. The GRI standard follow an independent, multi-stakeholder process.
Read more: globalreporting.org
United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)
United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) aims to mobilise a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world we want. To make this happen, the UN Global Compact supports companies to: Do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.
Read more: unglobalcompact.org
ISO – The International Organization for Standardization
ISO – The International Organization for Standardization develop and publish International Standards in various fields. The ISO 9000 standard is the world’s best- known quality management standard for companies and organizations and ISO14000 improve companies’ environmental management.
Read more: iso.org
2. Materiality assessment and ESG focus areas
Setting priorities is at the heart of building a better future. Thus, StrongPoint’s Materiality Assessment helps the company set priorities for building a sustainable future. It is a systems-based method that helps organizations identify, prioritize and validate their most significant sustainability impacts, risks and opportunities. Environmental, Social and Governance factors are at StrongPoint treated with equal importance, given our fundamental belief that smaller and less significant actions also contribute to the greater good and drive our society towards a more sustainable future. Still we are guided by and prioritize in line with the findings we have from our materiality assessment. This ensures that we focus on areas that our stakeholders find most relevant and important.
By sharing experiences and setting priorities together with our stakeholders in the area of corporate social responsibility, we set the stage for an inclusive, continuous process for growth and learning.
Coming from mainly reporting on emissions in 2019, StrongPoint has in 2020-2021 become members of UNGC and report according to GRI. We have focused on involving our stakeholders to discuss our impact and assess our corporate footprint. Multiple interviews have been conducted with stakeholders and the Executive Management Team and The Board of Directors have, together with external consultants, been heavily involved in making our first full materiality assessment. We have gathered input from key stakeholder groups, with a representation from all our local markets (Norway, Sweden, the Baltics and Spain). We plan to update our materiality assessment in 2022 and make a new version in 2023.
We also received valuable feedback through customer meetings, partner dialogues, employee surveys and customer feedback, as well as at company events, job fairs, audits and on social media. Collaboration with others provides us a better understanding and helps to create more long-lasting results. That is why we connected with our industry peers, along with the UN Global Compact Network.
The stakeholder dialogue and a materiality assessment was undertaken in January 2021 and here we provide a summary of key takeaways. In general the perception and focus of different stakeholder groups tended to overlap.
A majority of the stakeholders consulted pointed out employee health and safety (HSE), as well as promoting a good, open and equal working environment with low sick leave and employee turnover as key focus areas for StrongPoint.
Furthermore, ensuring that the company acts according to national and international laws and regulations is not only expected of the company but is part of StrongPoint’s license to operate. It is thus crucial to have well-established ethical guidelines as well as ensuring information and training on ethics and anti-corruption throughout the organization. Making sure that StrongPoint’s products are error-free and do not pose any risk to employees or end-users is decisive for future business success.
Contributing to reaching global sustainability goals relating to the environment and climate through product innovation and responsible business operation was highlighted in the process by several stakeholders. Particularly, this entails lowering the company’s total emissions (for example related to shipping and business travel), ensuring good waste management and recycling and or reuse of products.
Based on stakeholders’ input and priorities, as well as an assessment of the company’s business impact, the materiality of each suggested sustainability topic was considered:
The material topics are summarized into four over-arching material themes for StrongPoint to prioritize going forward. Each of the suggested sustainability topics and their relevance to StrongPoint are described below, including an explanation of why the topic is considered material.
1. Employee working environment, including health and safety
StrongPoint’s working environment is key to delivering results and employees are a key stakeholder group directly and indirectly affecting the company and its results. Ensuring that good health and safety routines (HSE) are in place, maintaining and increasing employee engagement and promoting a good working
environment will improve the company’s overall business performance. StrongPoint can affect the working environment through agreements and active dialogue with employees, as well as informing and training them on HSE risks associated with their work.
2. Product innovation, quality and safety
StrongPoint has a direct ability and responsibility to ensure that the company’s products maintain the highest quality and that they are safe and secure for customers to use. This can be done through testing, reviewing and cleaning of products and by keeping an active dialogue with customers on their needs, as well as implementing a system for them to report irregularities or concerns. As a company providing retail technology StrongPoint also has the ability to develop and offer new technical solutions to the market which are more environmentally sound, simplifying and improving the way retailers do business, which is especially important in the time of COVID-19.
3. Corporate governance, including ethics and anti-corruption
StrongPoint is directly impacted by laws and regulations from local and national authorities on ethical business conduct, human and labor rights. As a listed company, StrongPoint is responsible for following relevant legislation, regulations and standards in the countries in which the company is present and should make sure that both employees and suppliers operates in accordance with ethical guidelines. The company can directly and proactively minimize ethical risks by improving awareness and providing training across all business units. The company is also directly and indirectly exposed to ethical risks through its global business operations. Working with suppliers, employees and customers in more than 20 different countries, StrongPoint has a direct and indirect ability and responsibility to make sure that the company maintains a proactive approach to ethics, including screening suppliers or assessing operations for risks related to corruption, provide awareness training, implement good governance mechanisms and a system for employees to raise concerns and report irregularities.
4. Environment and climate, including emissions and waste management
StrongPoint’s business activities are directly and indirectly affected by and can also affect the natural environment and climate. The company’s most significant direct and indirect environmental impacts are related to the production, shipment and transportation of StrongPoint’s products, employee business travel, waste management and the end-of-life treatment of products. Except from the Labels business unit, the company does not itself own production facilities but is dependent on this service from suppliers that source and assemble raw material and components into StrongPoint products. Although StrongPoint does not itself own these production facilities, the company accepts an indirect responsibility in the manufacturing process. For example, StrongPoint can choose which materials are used to produce their products already at the drawing board/in the engineering phase, and also have influence over how residues are being managed and disposed of, as well as arranging for the reuse or recycling of products once no longer in use. The company also has a direct ability and responsibility to review sustainable alternatives for transportation, shipment, and employee business travel.
Overall, the identified areas in the materiality analysis are important to the organization and are the areas where StrongPoint has the greatest opportunity to make a difference. Analysis in this area is also essential for in risk management. Risks associated with our material sustainability topics are managed within StrongPoint’s risk management plan.
3. How StrongPoint’s goals relate to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was established by the United Nations in 2015 as a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity and is a commitment to achieve sustainable development globally.
As a part of the 2030 Agenda, seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and protect the planet were developed. The seventeen SDGs and the underlying 169 targets have been adopted by all UN member states. Read more at 17goals.org.
From the SDGs, 8 have been identified that best correspond with StrongPoint’s business. Our choice of SDGs is based on an assessment of the underlying targets for each SDG and their link to our identified
SDG 5 and 8:
Ensuring a healthy, fair workplace that creates good opportunities for all. Protecting labor rights for all workers.
SDG 2, 9, 11 and 12:
Product innovation, quality and safety in the food chain
Ensuring safe and fresh groceries. With innovative labelling and minimal wastage of food. Develop and offer new technical solutions to the market which are more environmentally sound, simplifying and improving the way retailers and communities do business.
Setting and enforcing appropriate rules of behavior for employees and suppliers, along with reporting mechanism.
Promoting a more circular economy and working with suppliers on joint strategies to reduce our CO2 footprint.
4. Key results and activities for 2020-2021
People & Social
The Line Manager in each country is responsible for the people development in their unit. The StrongPoint Group People and Organization unit and the whistle-blower function acts as the grievance mechanism for StrongPoint’s employees.
Diversity and Inclusion – Equality
It is our policy not to discriminate against any employee because of age, race, religion,
colour, sex, disability, national origin, or sexual orientation. The overall trend has been
positive regarding the gender balance, and we have above benchmark results on the
employee survey on questions related to Diversity and Inclusion. We will, for 2021, focus on attracting employees with a more diverse background, especially employees with
experience from e-commerce and who have worked internationally. Our goal is that our new office facilities planned for 2021 should be adapted to employees with disabilities.
StrongPoint has a strong learning culture and our employees are offered training in
management and IT infrastructure topics regularly. An introduction to the company is held locally to integrate new employees faster. All employees are required to read and sign a
confirmation that they will comply with StongPoint’s Code of Conduct when signing their employment contract.
We have identified the key risk of human rights breaches to be related to having third-party suppliers in China. We have no indication of violations to our Code of Conduct, still we will monitor the supply chain and do site visits to the relevant factories in 2021.
Health and safety
At StrongPoint, we encourage our employees to participate in activities related to health and wellbeing. We believe that all people have the right to a healthy and safe workplace. Therefore, we ensure that working conditions within our organization meet or exceed legal requirements in every country in which we operate. We also comply with the conventions of the UN Global Compact and the International Labour Organization. Hazards are identified and monitored to prevent accidents and occupational illness. Workplace guidelines are monitored to ensure a healthy, safe environment. Also, the company provides a range of
healthy lunch choices for its employees in its largest offices. It also encourages participation in athletics through StrongPoint sponsored fitness membership program. StrongPoint is mainly a sales and marketing organization with a low risk for injuries. Business units where we have physical production are related to low-risk areas (printing labels and warehouse). Our sick-leave ratio and reported numbers of injuries and near misses are at levels where they are not significant. We will continue the focus with special attention to mental health-related to COVID-19 in 2021.
StrongPoint has the ambition to make our production facilities ISO certificated. Our StrongPoint Labels operation was ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified in 2020. The next step is to integrate lean principles as part of ongoing improvement and efficiency programs. We have started the process to have our production facilities in Grums (Sweden) also certified. This provides us with tools to manage our quality and environmental responsibilities. Specifically, it focuses on environmental systems, as well as specific approaches: audits, corporate communications, labeling and lifecycle analysis, including the environmental challenges that arise from climate change.
Employment, equality, and anti-discrimination
StrongPoint had 462 employees at the end of 2020 (357 men and 105 women).
Total sick leave in the company was at 2.0% compared to 2.7% the previous year. No
employees were injured and there were no major occupational accidents during the year.
StrongPoint’s organization represents significant diversity in education, experience,
gender, age, and cultural background. We see this diversity as a source of competitive
advantage, as it encourages innovation, learning, and better customer understanding. We want all employees to know they are valued for their differences and that they contribute to the success of our business strategy. Our ambition is to have a high-performing and sustainable work environment, based on diversity and inclusion. We regularly assess the status of our improved effort with regards to diversity to reach our overall 2025 targets. We strive to improve the representation of women at all levels in the organisation through our recruiting strategies and efforts to create a workplace with opportunities that appeal to all genders. StrongPoint is an equal opportunity employer, and diversity and inclusion are imperative to the way StrongPoint does business. It is about creating services and solutions that include different perspectives from employees, customers, stakeholders and partners.
Discrimination is against StrongPoint’s Code of Conduct, and it is interpreted that no direct or indirect negative discrimination shall take place based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, language, religion, employee representation, political or other opinions, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
In 2020, 105 (23%) of StrongPoint ’s employees were women.
The average age of all employees are 43 years old (men 42/women 43). The share of women was 20% in StrongPoint’s Corporate Management in 2020 but increased to 30% in the beginning of 2021. The mix of nationalities in StrongPoint’s senior leadership is today: Norwegians (4), Swedish (3), from the Baltic countries (2) and Spanish (1).
With 2 women among the five shareholder-elected members on the Board of Directors, StrongPoint complies with the Norwegian legal requirements on female representation.
The company has no non-permanent employees, 13 part-time employees (3%) out of which 10 are women. Parental leave is granted according to local laws.
There were no equality or anti-discrimination cases reported in the corporate whistleblower program. Yearly health and safety inspections are done at all our facilities where the physical working conditions are also assessed. StrongPoint plans to move and or upgrade several of our office facilities in 2021 and it will improve the working conditions for people with disabilities.
Our employee survey (Peakon), which we run every second month, has several questions related to employee engagement and working conditions. Results are benchmarked against other external companies, and StrongPoint employee net promoter score (eNPS) was at year-end 25 points above the benchmark (scale from -100 to +100). The results are in general considered very good and show that our workforce is engaged and loyal.
StrongPoint has taken measures aimed at promoting employee professional development, preventing sick leave, and improving the overall working environment. All employees in the subsidiaries have standardized employment contracts according to local law and as part of this contract, they have agreed to the StrongPoint Code of Conduct.
All recruitments in StrongPoint are based on the candidates’ competence and track record, and how that fits with our company needs. All senior recruitments were approved by the CEO. In 2020 we have mapped out our talents and key employees, the diversity among them, and the pipeline of critical capabilities in each business unit.
The overall responsibility of employment, equality, and anti-discrimination process lies with the line manager, and is overlooked by HR, with input from employee representatives, and reviewed by the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors keeps an annual plan for its work. This includes recurring topics such as reporting on compensation and benefits, diversity and inclusiveness, HSE, people strategy, and ESG.
Risks related to employment and HSSE are assessed in our corporate risk and opportunity process. We assess that there are no such major or immediate risks related to our operation. As minor risks, we monitor the effect of COVID-19 and our ability to attract new employees in the market.
Gender-related salary differences
All employees shall receive a total compensation that is competitive and aligned with local industry standards. The compensation should also be performance-oriented, transparent, fair and objective. Salaries in the organisation are reviewed regularly, and in 2020 we did for the first time a full compensation and benefit survey process, with help from a professional external partner, in all business units. Positions and pay grades were established and compared both on a group and individual level. No significant gender-pay differentials were found, and this corresponded with the general assessment of the previous year. Still, we adjusted salaries to approximately 10 employees to align them with relevant pay groups.
Employees earning collective negotiated wages in Norway and Sweden also had no significant gender-pay differentials. When setting up and comparing pay groups we looked at and compared the need for knowledge, problem-solving, accountability, and the overall working conditions for every position. Each employee’s base salary, benefits, pension cost, short and long-term incentives were assessed (total remuneration).
The average salary of men was NOK 517,000 and women NOK 417,000.
Transformative change happens step by step in the daily choices we make. Together, we at StrongPoint, achieve this by finding bold new ways to build customer experience based on new technology. Our goal is that our products and solutions should promote sustainability and a circular economy.
We work with our customers and partners to help them make more sustainable choices and advocate for ways that we can use technology in an efficient, greener way. In 2021 we will keep special attention to:
- Reduce food wastage through better and smarter labeling of products
- Reduce stress and muscle injuries, related to handling groceries, by introducing new
- Promote route optimization and last-mile solutions to reduce transportation of groceries
- Increased food safety by the introduction of temperature-controlled Click & Collect Grocery Lockers
- Better child protection with the usage of age verification technology and tobacco
- Develop touchless solutions to protect against the spread of viruses and other
StrongPoint’s activities in this area focus on reducing the carbon footprint in our operations. It requires close collaboration with partners, suppliers and customers to minimize the impact of our products on the environment. StrongPoint has also included environmental accountability in our SLA/supplier Code of Conduct to reduce the indirect carbon emissions caused by suppliers.
In 2020 we started to implement the GRI standard and StrongPoint will issue a separate
GRI report in Q2 2021.
We have zero tolerance for corruption. StrongPoint assesses our risk of corruption to be low, and has implemented the following actions to safeguard this:
- In 2020 we have updated our Code of Conduct document that also covers supply
- Each business unit has gifts and hospitality guidelines. In 2021 we will align and make a guideline that covers the whole of StrongPoint
- As a listed company we have established regulations to cover conflict of interest. In 2021 we should make sure they cover all aspects of the business.
StrongPoint has a whistleblower program. In 2021 we will assess whether to establish an additional channel where employees may contact an external resource. No cases were
reported in 2020.
The Board of Directors has been involved in audits, the materiality assessment, and setting strategic direction to the ESG work. The decision of becoming a UNGC member and start reporting according to GRI was part of this process. The board has been updated by external consultants about trends and strategic opportunities in the grocery retail market.