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– We set stricter requirements than the Transparancy Act

Very soon, 85 suppliers can expect an inquiry from sustainability and marketing officer Oda Beate Lerheim. Norske Backer AS takes working conditions, sustainability, and transparency very seriously, and expects the same from its suppliers.

Oda Beate Lerheim has busy days at the moment as she just had her first meeting with the sustainability council. The sustainability council was appointed by Norske Backer AS earlier this spring, and Oda Beate Lerheim recently presented a five-year plan for how the traditional company will become even more sustainable in the years to come. She is impressed by how her input has been received by both management and employees.

The most ambitious goal we have set ourselves is probably zero emission by 2030 and that we work to get a station for freight trains at SIVA. But we are well on our way.

We have already bought in paper that is made from residual waste from agriculture, and old use-and-discard cardboard cups have been replaced with sustainable metal cups. And during the year we will hopefully install solar panels on the roof. We are becoming more sustainable with each passing day, Lerheim smiles.


Our Own Code of Conduct

The openness Act is nothing new or dramatis for Norske Backer AS. Already in 2019, NIBE Industrier, the group of which the company is a part of, introduced its own “Code of Conducts”, which is far more comprehensive than what the Transparency Act requires.

This is a set of guidelines that all businesses in the group and all our subcontractors must follow. We want to work with suppliers who contribute to our sustainability profile. This will strengthen our joint business result.

Suppliers and contractors play a critical role in our branding and our high-quality standards. Therefore, we expect our suppliers and subcontractors to show the same high, ethical standards as us. We also expect our suppliers and contractors to demand that their suppliers and subcontractors follow similar ethical standards as described in this document, says Oda Beate, and further states that they have already sent out the Code of Conduct to most of the subcontractors for signing.

The vast majority of our suppliers are foreign, and we want to ensure that they follow the same ethical standards as ourselves.


The Norwegian Transparency Act

The new “Act on Business transparency and work with basic human rights and decent working conditions” came into force on July 1st last year. The act, which is regularly known as “The Openness Act”, aims to “promote businesses’ respect for basic human rights and decent working conditions in connection with the production of goods and the provision of services, and to ensure that the public has access to information about how businesses deal with negative consequences for basic human rights and decent working conditions”.

The law also requires us to check our supply chain, and to follow the subcontractors closely to make sure that everything is as it should be in relation to the wording of this law, says Lerheim.

The survey is sent out to those suppliers who have not previously signed a Code of Conducts form, have not signed the most recent forms we have sent out, or who have only ticked some of the points on the form. In other words, these are suppliers we want to investigate more to be sure that they satisfy our requirements for working conditions and environment, says Oda Beate Lerheim.


The plans are ready

So far, Norske Backer AS has not uncovered negative deviations with any of the suppliers, but sustainability and marketing manager Lerheim says that the company is vigilant and is prepared should such situations arise.

 Going forward, we will prioritize mapping out concrete measures, if a supplier does not respond to the survey, does not give satisfactory answers to the survey or significant negative consequences are discovered.

If further investigations reveal major negative deviations and consequences, measures based on severity will be implemented. In the event of major deviations, we will look around for other suppliers, and stop using any supplier with deviations. In the event of minor deviations, we will require the suppliers to take measures to prevent negative consequences by making the necessary changes. If the supplier satisfies the requirements, we will retain the business as a supplier, but if the supplier does not satisfy the set requirements, we will terminate the cooperation and rather find alternative suppliers of the same product. We will carry out investigations continuously and send our Code of Conducts for signing to all our suppliers, to ensure that they satisfy our requirements for working conditions and environment.