Social impact in the spirits industry
Sustainability is often related only to environmental actions, but it also means being socially responsible. The social impact of companies begins with their employees, ensuring that they work in optimal conditions, and includes how the companies impact the communities around them.
In the first point, working conditions, it is important to note that these not only involve direct employees, but companies must also verify that the workers throughout the chain, including suppliers, have working conditions in accordance with Human Rights and Labour legislation.
In the drinks industry, one critical stage is agricultural production. For example, in the wine and spirits industry “agricultural work is often isolated and inconsistent due to changing harvest seasons and remote locations. This has resulted in seasonal workers that suffer from no social protection and irregular income, many of them migrants, elderly, women, and children” (Worldfavor).
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) apply to all countries and all business enterprises. They state that companies should not contribute to adverse human rights impacts through their activities and that they must also “seek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts”. (United Nations Human Rights, 2011).
Following these rules is necessary for a fair society and it is a requirement to enter the European market. For example, in Sweden, all suppliers must comply with the requirements of the Code of Conduct of the Swedish monopoly, Systembolaget. It is based on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the OECD guidelines for Human Rights Due Diligence, and amfori BSCI, a leading global initiative for social responsibility and sustainable working conditions for suppliers in cultivation and production. This Code establishes, among other aspects, that suppliers are responsible for the working conditions of their sub-contractors, producers, and growers.
The Systembolaget´s Code of Conduct covers areas such as working hours, fair remuneration, terms of employment, discrimination, freedom of association, health and safety, forced labour, child labour, younger workers, business ethics, and environment (Systembolaget). These requirements are important to prevent risks related to issues such as temporary work and precarious employment.
So as a company in the spirits beverage industry it is essential to know and apply labor standards in the company and verify those of the entire chain, to be able to access markets such as the European one, be socially fair, and, of course, sustainable.
That is why AliasSmith, in order to make the best products available to trade and consumers, works with partners that share its values, and actively supports and invests in the producers to achieve their CSR certifications.
C&C group plc and Footprint Intelligence, 2020. Drinks Industry Sustainability Index – Trends Report 2020. [Online]. Available: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.foodservicefootprint.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Footprint-Drinks-Report-WEB-Version.pdf
Systembolaget. Promoting human rights in the industry. [Online]. Available: https://www.omsystembolaget.se/english/sustainability/human-rights/
United Nations Human Rights, 2011. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. [Online]. Available: chrome-extension://efaidnbmnnnibpcajpcglclefindmkaj/https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/documents/publications/guidingprinciplesbusinesshr_en.pdf
Worldfavor. Sustainability through transparency in the wine and spirits industry. [Online]. Available: https://blog.worldfavor.com/barriers-to-transparency-in-the-wine-and-spirits-industry-and-how-to-overcome-them