Holmen has identified its stakeholders based on their relationship with the company, what impact the company has, and what players affect Holmen. Some of the stakeholders, such as employees, customers, suppliers, local residents, financiers and authorities are associated with day-to-day operations. Others, such as potential employees and customers, owners, analysts, decision-makers and the media, are important for the long-term development of the company. Here follows a presentation of Holmen's relations with some of the key stakeholders.
It is through the competence and commitment of its employees that Holmen is able to create and sell its products. Looking after the wellbeing of employees, meeting their wishes for development and respecting their views is extraordinarily important in making Holmen a sustainable company in the long term. Holmen takes a systematic approach to identifying and meeting its employees' needs. The employees are able to influence and develop Holmen through ongoing dialogues between managers and employees, an employee survey, various committees and employee representatives on the Board. The priority issues are health and safety, leadership and management by objectives.
Customers and business partners
Holmen's customers have high expectations of products and services, good business practices and clear sustainability principles. Holmen welcomes the fact that issues of sustainable forestry, chain of custody in the wood supply and the carbon footprint of products have become an integral part of commercial discussions. Holmen's increased focus on customer service and relationship building fosters a sound customer dialogue, backed up by customer satisfaction surveys.
In 2015, Iggesund Paperboard conducted an interview-based survey on product development. Around 50 converters and printing firms were contacted. In the survey, 90 per cent of the respondents stated that sustainability issues are important or very important in business relations, and 75 per cent of the respondents felt that the significance of sustainability will increase over the next five years. Importantly for Iggesund Paperboard, which already has a strong sustainability profile, 85 per cent also reported that sustainability issues influence their choice of packaging solutions. Almost all of those questioned expressed a desire to replace their non-renewable packaging components with renewables. Plastic is the material that most respondents wanted to replace.
A whistleblower function is in place to allow employees and other stakeholders to act if they suspect improper conduct within Holmen. The rules relating to this function were clarified during the year. In 2015, concerns were raised about a contractor used by Holmen Skog. Since the case had already been dealt with, no separate investigation was deemed necessary.
Suppliers and purchasing
2014 saw the continued implementation of Holmen’s Code of Conduct for suppliers. Responsibility for the code lies with the Group’s head of strategic purchasing and the director of environmental and sustainable affairs. The Group’s purchasing organisation has received training and the Supplier Code of Conduct is now included in all new supply contracts. The code increases the focus on human rights and working conditions among suppliers, with a view to ensuring good conditions for everyone who works in Holmen’s value chain. A risk assessment is performed, with suppliers in high-risk countries subject to stricter requirements on proving their compliance with the principles in the Code of Conduct. The risk assessment is conducted using the Maplecroft tool.
In 2015, Holmen launched a Code of Conduct aimed primarily at its own employees. In conjunction with this, Holmen’s Supplier Code of Conduct was updated to include self-assessment. Holmen will be focusing resources in areas where the risks are deemed to be greatest. By the end of 2015, suppliers accounting for around 25 per cent of the Group’s purchasing volume had signed up to, and thus declared their compliance with, the Supplier Code of Conduct. Work is under way to verify these.
The majority of Holmen's operations require environmental permits. Openness and transparency allow the Group to establish the conditions for good oversight of and trust in Holmen's actions. Local residents have opportunities to give their views in relation to permit applications. The mills also have contact with local residents as part of day-to-day operations.
Shareholders, investors and analysts
In recent years, sustainability has gained increasing weight in the assessments made by investors and analysts looking to establish relationships with companies that are sustainable in the long term. The continuous analysis work and dialogue with stakeholders contribute valuable insights on how work in this area can be improved within Holmen. The fact that Holmen has been included in several sustainability indexes can thus be seen as a stamp of approval that Holman is able to manage risks and opportunities alike. The reporting to the UN Global Compact and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), continuous assessment of its sustainability work and reporting in line with GRI are effective ways of providing relevant data for the analysis of Holmen.
Permits for operations are continuously reviewed in order to take account of local residents and those whose livelihoods are affected by Holmen.
Large parts of Holmen's land in northern Sweden overlap Sami winter grazing land for reindeer. Via consultation with the reindeer herding community, it is possible to arrive at solutions that meet both parties' requirements as closely as possible. The consultation process involves meetings between Holmen's local field workers and representatives of the affected Sami reindeer herding association to discuss Holmen's planned forestry measures and whether these might have any impact on the reindeer herding community. All such meetings are fully minuted.
A joint skills development project between the National Association of Swedish Sami (SSR) and FSC® certified forestry companies was conducted over the year. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness among foresters and reindeer herders about each other's industry and thus improve the dialogue and consultation between them. The project comprised two stages, starting with an online course and then a field-based course where foresters and reindeer herders learned about each other's industry. Holmen Skog was an active participant, with around 20 employees undergoing the training.
Holmen's operations are of great significance to employment in the places where the company is active. The Group has a total of around 3 000 employees in Sweden. Further jobs are created at subcontractors. Studies show that the average Holmen employee generates another three jobs elsewhere. This creates a total of around 12 000 jobs in Sweden.
In order to increase the supply of biomass for the new biofuel boiler at the mill in Workington, 2012 saw the launch of the Grow your income project, whose aim is to encourage farmers in the area to grow energy crops. This project has generated a dialogue with a whole new stakeholder group, further strengthening the mill's local engagement.
The forests also represent significant social assets. To a large number of people, they offer a wealth of leisure opportunities. All Swedish forests are open to the general public under the right of common access for hunting, angling and general recreation.
As stakeholders, the general public, the media and opinion leaders are rather more removed from Holmen's day-to-day business, but this makes them no less important to the company's long-term development. Through its own clear communications and the work of the industry federation, Holmen is helping to increase interest in and understanding of the conditions for the industry and what opportunities it offers.
Foundations associated with Holmen
The Kempe Foundations support research and education in the natural sciences in the counties of Västernorrland, Västerbotten and Norrbotten. In recent years the foundations have allocated around SEK 46-82 million per year. In 2015, SEK 67 million was allocated, most of it going to Umeå University, the Luleå University of Technology, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Umeå, and to Mid Sweden University and related research in Örnsköldsvik.
Karl-Erik Önnesjö Foundation. A professorship in paper electronics was instituted at Linköping University's Norrköping Campus in 2005. The professorship will receive funding from the foundation of SEK 1 million per year for 15 years from 2007.