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Construction worker Hikoki Ahlsell

Responsible Sourcing

In order to achieve our sustainability goals and help our customers achieve theirs, our first steps need to be in our supply chain. By being clear about our social and environmental requirements at the sourcing stage, we make sure that all sustainability issues are on the agenda right from the start.

Long-term goal: Zero high risks by 2025

The focus area responsible purchasing is primarily about daring to set requirements, and following them up. We primarily do this through our Code of Conduct, which is now part of all new agreements. We also contact suppliers who have signed agreements with us before the Code of Conduct was put into place, and encourage them to agree to follow the guidelines provided by the Code of Conduct. Currently, 82% of our purchase value is covered by suppliers who have signed our Code of Conduct. We also work actively with follow-up visits to ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct. You can read more about our sustainability work here.

Current figures for the Responsible Sourcing focus area

Updated: R12 Q4 2021 (only measured at the group level)
Proportion of purchased value from suppliers who have agreed to comply with the commitments in Ahlsell’s Code of Conduct: 81%
Proportion of purchased value where the supplier’s sustainability work has been followed up and checked by Ahlsell: 50%

Our purchasing flows

Ahlsell has two large inflows of goods: ​Goods purchased from brand suppliers and our private brand products

We sell both goods purchased from suppliers and our private brand products to our customers, while indirect materials and services are required to keep our business running. The purchasing processes are somewhat different, but the end goal is the same: zero high risks.

Goods purchased from brand suppliers ​

Purchases of goods for resale account for 88% of the purchase value in 2021. We have followed up 50% of the purchase value by conducting site visits and checking sustainability procedures at our 50 largest suppliers. In 2022, our plan is to move to checking those suppliers where we judge the risk of breach of the Code of Conduct to be highest.

Private brand products ​

An important part of our purchasing is our private brand products. These products are usually developed and manufactured by our existing suppliers, primarily in China. Since we have a greater influence on the manufacturing process for this flow, our responsibility is also greater. ​

Our private brand products must maintain the same quality and standard as similar products on the market, have all necessary certificates and comply with applicable rules and standards in the country in which Ahlsell operates. All suppliers in high-risk countries must also undergo an inspection. In China, we have a permanent office with inspectors who work on the basis of an ISO-certified process and with clear procedures regarding legal compliance, product and delivery quality and the working environment. These inspectors are trained in SA8000 to ensure a good work environment and that human rights are observed at the site.

Code of Conduct hands  Ahlsell

Our Code of Conduct

Ahlsell’s Code of Conduct describes the expected behavior of all parties concerned – employees, managers, Board of Directors and business partners – and is based on the UN Global Compact, the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights and associated UN conventions, ILO’s core conventions and the OECD’s guidelines for international companies. In doing so, we commit to the ten principles of human rights, labor rights, the environment and anti-corruption.


Our goal is for the Code of Conduct (or any other equivalent code of conduct) to apply to all our suppliers. We therefore require all our suppliers to comply with Ahlsell’s Code of Conduct, or to present their own equivalent codes. ​


In recent years, we have worked actively to identify suppliers who have not yet signed our Code of Conduct appendix. In 2021, we achieved a compliance rate corresponding to 81 percent of our purchase value. This is a reduction of 1 percentage point, which is due to changes in purchasing patterns. ​


The Board of Directors adopts and decides on amendments to our Code of Conduct. The Group Management is responsible for ensuring compliance with our Code of Conduct, which is monitored on an ongoing basis as part of day-to-day operations.

Our challenges in the Responsible Sourcing focus area

Sustainability Global Goal 8 Ahlsell

8. Decent work and economic growth

Although we take decent working conditions for granted in the Nordic region, we still must be vigilant and demand that our supply chain upholds this. The industry’s raw material extraction and production often takes place in countries with poorer control, but there are also risks in the Nordic region. These are often, but not exclusively, linked to foreign subcontractors or contract workers without the same job security.

Sustainability Global Goal 12 Ahlsell

12. Responsible consumption and production

Responsible extraction and recycling is one of our industry’s major challenges. We need to increase our focus on circular processes and also reward circularity. This requires a gradual phase-out of hazardous substances and any substances that can't be circulated.

Sustainability Global Goal 13 Ahlsell

13. Climate action

The climate is the largest issue of our time. Conducting business in the future will require doing so with a minimal carbon footprint. Ahlsell aims to halve its CO2 emissions from 2016 to 2030 and be fossil free by 2045.

Our other focus areas

Message from Ahlsell

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