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CSR
Matas Hjertesager

Corporate social responsibility

The adaptability of the Group’s business was tested to the bone in financial year 2020/21, while Matas’ position in society in terms of supporting public health was in focus as 265 stores remained open during the global pandemic. 

All the Group’s some 2,500 employees, the retail and warehouse staff in particular, have worked for a year on the Covid-19 frontline, providing a safe place to shop for the many customers needing everything from personal protective equipment to personal care and health products at the Group’s physical stores and online.

As a natural consequence of the role assumed by Matas during the pandemic, the Group has upgraded its corporate social responsibility ambitions in relation to its main focus areas of sustainability, health and diversity to include new priority areas, such as digital health, as well as the Group’s traditional core business.

CSR goals

Matas is Denmark's largest beauty, personal care, healthcare and health products retailer and as such in close touch with a large section of the Danish population.

Matas has divided its corporate social responsibility efforts into three main areas: sustainability, health and diversity.

Sustainability denotes the work to give customers access to green and sustainable products, the work to safeguard the local environment through systematic efforts to reduce and recycle transport and packaging plastics and the work to reduce CO2 emissions at all levels of the business.

Health* is defined as the work to promote the health of the general Danish population by offering a wide range of safe and well-tested health products and an unwavering commitment to providing competent and reliable advice online and at the stores. Moreover, Matas has stepped up its awareness campaign activity concerning sunscreen products in collaboration with the Danish Cancer Society, skin problems in collaboration with Asthma-Allergy Denmark and on general health advice in collaboration with the Danish Heart Foundation.

Diversity reflects Matas’ widespread contact with largely all Danish consumers and its related responsibility for facilitating a debate on a more balanced view of beauty and mental wellbeing. Matas wants to use its communications platforms to promote a debate on young girls’ self-esteem and, not least, on not having to succumb to pressure to be or look a certain way to feel good about yourself. To that end, Matas works with, among others, the Pride organisation and the Girltalk.dk NGO.

*Renamed from “peace of mind”’, the ‘Health’ focus area now also embraces the Group’s ambitions to play a more prominent role in relation to the health of the Danish population.

ve new gueposts for corporate social responsibility

With a view to increasing awareness of and monitoring Matas’ efforts in relation to corporate social responsibility, the Group has defined four specific goals that will be reflected in all future endeavours. These goals apply to day-to-day contact between customers and employees and include the more general ambition of contributing towards solving some of the major environmental and climate challenges facing the world.

The common global ambitions defined in the Paris Agreement, the UN Global Compact and a number of targets under the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals are embedded in the goals defined as Matas ‘most important guideposts.

1: CO2-neutral by 2030
Matas is committed to reducing CO2 emissions and aims to be CO2-neutral by 2030. In the course of the financial year, Matas will define sub-targets for how the Group can achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 and how it can induce its many suppliers to also achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

2: Eliminating100 million plastic units
Matas is committed to promoting a more sustainable transition of the retail industry. As part of this commitment, Matas will eliminate at least 100 million plastic units from its business. This may be packaging, transport plastics, plastic bags, etc. The Matas Return System, which, dating back to 1993, invites customers to return empty packaging at any Matas store, will be a part of this overall goal.

3: Promoting public health
Matas is committed to promoting the general health of the Danish population by offering an extended range of healthy products and competent advice by trained beauty and health therapists and pharmaconomists. At the same time, Matas aims to provide Danish consumers with easy and secure access to health advice through digital channels through the development of Matas’ own digital platforms and through Matas’ collaboration partners, including webapoteket.dk, a major Danish online pharmacy. As a leading beauty, wellbeing and health influencer in Denmark, Matas is committed to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of the Danish population through its product offering, communications and customer interactions. 

4: Best place to work in the retail industry
Matas aims to be a lighthouse among Denmark’s big retail chains. This goal is divided into a number of sub-ambitions, such as enhancing employee satisfaction, strengthening diversity in management across business areas, including by focusing on training female managers, general training and skills upgrading opportunities for the employees and involvement of the employees at all levels through the establishment of local ambassador teams.

Matas will report on these four guideposts in the annual report for 2021/22.

International framework agreements and enhanced reporting

As part of its work to strengthen and systematise its corporate social responsibility efforts, Matas discloses which national and international framework agreements it supports, is a signatory to or aims to be a signatory to.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) comprise 17 specific goals and 169 targets committing all 193 UN member states to end poverty and hunger everywhere, reduce inequalities, ensure quality education and good health and wellbeing and promote decent jobs for everyone along with sustainable economic growth. The SDGs also promote peace, security, strong institutions and aim to strengthen global partnerships.

Matas’ corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on four of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 5: Gender equality (Target 5.5: focusing on the number of women in senior management and on the Board of Directors)
  • Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth (Target 8.8: protecting labour rights at Matas’ sub-suppliers)
  • Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production (Targets 12.4, 12.5 and 12.6: reducing the use of chemicals and managing waste)
  • Goal 14: Life below water (Target 14.1: minimising microplastic litter harmful to marine ecosystems)

The Paris Agreement

Adopted in 2015, the goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to ‘well below’ 2 degrees Celsius. Limiting CO2 emissions to the same levels that trees, soil and oceans can absorb naturally is the most important tool for achieving this goal. Matas contributes towards these goals by working to become carbon-neutral by 2030 and through its sub-target to encourage its many suppliers to also become carbon-neutral by 2030.

UN Global Compact

Matas recently applied to become a signatory to the UN Global Compact. The UN Global Compact, the largest global voluntary initiative for responsible companies, provides a common framework for communicating progress on and commitment to responsible governance. Accordingly, Matas has committed to complying with the organisation's ten main principles:

  1. Businesses should support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights
  2. Businesses should make sure they are not complicit in human rights abuses
  3. Businesses should uphold the freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining
  4. Businesses should uphold the elimination of all forms of forced and compulsory labour
  5. Businesses should uphold the effective abolition of child labour
  6. Businesses should uphold the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation
  7. Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges
  8. Businesses should undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility
  9. Businesses should encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies
  10. Businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery 

ESG reporting

Matas will implement a new reporting tool intended to enhance transparency on areas subject to statutory reporting requirements and areas which, in Matas’ assessment, should be easily appraised by internal and external stakeholders.

Systematised according to standards and tools developed and refined by, among others, the financial sector through the past decades, the reporting is centred around the three basic ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles which are also the foundation of the ten main principles of the UN Global Compact. Thus, starting in the current financial year, the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) standards (https://www.globalreporting.org/) will be phased into future annual reports and updates at Matas’ investor relations site, www.investor.matas.dk

The main risks and actions within the main areas are defined as:

Environment: Matas believes that the Company's key environmental risks are related to unwanted chemicals, the use of problematic ingredients (such as non-certified palm oil) in products sold by Matas and overall consumption of plastics in connection with its operations, including product packaging. Matas aims to expand the portfolio of Swan-labelled, Blue Label-certified and RSPO-certified (certified palm oil) products and to reuse part of its product packaging through, e.g., the Matas Return System.

Climate: Matas believes that the Company's key climate risks are currently related to power consumption at its stores and CO2 emissions from the transport of parcels from online purchases. Matas works continually to reduce power consumption at its stores and to contain transport-related CO2 emissions.

Human rights: Matas’ private labels are developed and manufactured in Denmark. Accordingly, Matas believes that the Company's key risks in relation to human rights are related to the use of child labour by sub-suppliers and the extraction of minerals etc. from occupied territories subject to international embargoes. Matas strives to influence sub-supplier conduct by incorporating Code of Conduct clauses into supplier agreements.

Social and employee-related matters Job dissatisfaction represents Matas’ key risk in relation to employee conditions, while the risk of work-related accidents and attrition is not as significant but obviously still present, especially at the Group’s central warehouse and webshop. Striving to continuously improve employee satisfaction, Matas conducts an employee satisfaction survey once a year. These surveys are customised for HQ, warehouse, webshop and stores so that appropriate targeted action may subsequently be taken.

CSR key performance indicators

2020/21

2019/20

2018/19

CO2 and the environment

CO2 emissions, transport *1

160 tonnes

195 tonnes

176 tonnes

Power consumption, stores *2

12,881 mWh

11,884 mWh

13,056 mWh

Transport plastic collected (Matas)

32 tonnes

36 tonnes

37 tonnes

Empty plastic packaging collected from customers

19 tonnes

19 tonnes 

20 tonnes 

Cardboard collected (Matas)

432 tonnes

453 tonnes

474 tonnes

Partnerships/donations

Danish Cancer Society donations

DKK 1,581,783

DKK 1,083,355

DKK 1,075,000

Danish Heart Foundation donations (collected among customers)

DKK 810,000

DKK 1,123,000

DKK 2,100,000

Danish Red Cross donations (collected among customers)

0

DKK 475,000

DKK 650,000

CPH Pride donations (collected among customers etc.)

 DKK 80,500

0

0

Football Foundation donations (collected among customers)

0

DKK 715,000

0

Danish Doctors’ Vaccination Service (number of flu vaccinations) *3

27,269**

14,994

10,907

Product labelling *4

Swan-labelled products (private labels)

278

288

200

Blue Label-certified products (private labels) 

171

173

110

RSPO-certified products (private labels)

11.5%

10.7%

9.5%

Employees

Project KLAP (number)

31

33

33

Subsidised flexi-jobs (number)

44

34

28

Sickness absence, all groups (excluding pregnancies)

2.2%

2.2%

2.2%

Sickness absence, all groups (including pregnancies)

4.4%

5.3%

4.2%

Leave (number)

84

101

95

Beauty & health therapist trainees trained (number)

176

160

200

Employee satisfaction (overall) *5

7.7

n/a

4.2

Employee satisfaction (HQ)

7.4

 7.3

n/a

Employee satisfaction (Stores)

7.8

7.6

n/a

Employee satisfaction (Warehouse)

7.2

7.1

n/a

Employee satisfaction (Webshop)

6.7

6.7

n/a

*1: We measure CO2 emissions from the carriage of goods to stores. We use the quarterly statements of Danske Fragtmænd and measure based on “Tank to wheel”, which shows direct CO2 emissions from combustion engines.

*2: Power consumption is computed for all the Group’s stores based on payments to power companies. Consumption increased slightly in the financial year due to a number of renovations and the establishment of new and larger stores.

*3: Approx. 9,000 of vaccinations were against pneumonia and approx. 17,000 against the flu.

*4: The number of Swan-labelled and Blue Label-certified products has fallen slightly due to a general decline in the number of product types, especially within sunscreen products.

*5: Since 2018/19, employee satisfaction has been measured on a scale of 1-10 (previously 1-5). In addition, surveys are now customised according to business units. The satisfaction measurement method / EVI (evidence-based measurement) applied since 2020 (AS3) builds on 15 evidence-based questions divided into four categories. Conducted quarterly, the survey includes personal feedback, a personal stress score and the option to consult an occupational psychologist. The four areas surveyed are: job meaningfulness, management and cooperation, organisational values and work-life rhythm. All employees, temporary and permanent, are invited to participate in the survey.

Private label policy (substitution by private labels)

In the past financial year, Matas continued its proactive efforts to improve all the Group’s private label products to align them with the latest knowledge about environmental and consumer health impacts. Matas believes that the Company's key environmental risks are related to unwanted chemicals in products soldby Matas, its consumption of plastics in connection with operations and the use of problematic ingredients (such as non-certified palm oil) in products sold by Matas. The following legal substances have been completely phased out of Matas’ private labels: Microplastics, Methylisothiazolinone (MI), Triclosane and all perfume substances subject to compulsory declaration. The same goes for all parabens, phthalates and all other substances on the EU list of potential endocrine disruptors. All private labels comprised by cosmetics legislation are subjected to ongoing bacteriological checks by Eurofins Steins Laboratorium.

Policy for ingredients in Matas’ private cosmetic labels

Matas is in the process of updating its cosmetics policy, which is expected to be implemented during financial year 2021/22.

Code of Conduct for third-party labels

In addition to the Code of Conduct governing private labels, all other products in Matas’ product range are subject to contractual health and environmental requirements stricter than the Danish statutory requirements. These requirements are laid down in the Code of Conduct for third-party labels. For example, Matas’ suppliers have signed declarations that all products supplied to Matas are free from PVC, Lawsone and a number of other substances.

Diversity on the Board of Directors and among other executives

Matas Group believes that a diverse composition of employees and executives contributes to strengthening the Company’s competitiveness, performance and work environment. Accordingly, Matas strives for the Company’s employees, Executive Management and Board of Directors to reflect the surrounding community and aims to have a reasonable gender balance in executive positions. The Board of Directors has an equal gender distribution with three women and three men. The broad group of executives at the headquarters in Allerød consists of 55% women. In the retail network, 97% of store managers are women, which is consistent with the general gender distribution among the Group’s approximately 2,500 shop assistants. Efforts are being made specifically in the retail network to ensure a broad representation in terms of gender, age and origin in positions, and Matas generally aims for both genders to be represented among candidates for executive positions. This was a priority also in 2020/21. In addition, the new trainee campaigns focus on having more people of both genders in recruitment films and on the ambassador teams established among trainees.

Human rights policy

Matas supports and respects internationally declared human rights as laid down in the UNGP, including by avoiding to restrict the rights of its employees to establish labour unions, their freedom of association, right to collective bargaining and equal opportunities for women and men. In Matas’ opinion, the risks of child labour being used, employees being discriminated against or employees’ right to establish labour unions being restricted by suppliers or their sub-suppliers constitute Matas’ key risks in relation to human rights. Accordingly, through its Code of Conduct, Matas requires its suppliers to develop and produce their products without using child labour. This requirement is incorporated into all supplier agreements.

Matas is committed to promoting diversity among the Group's employees, including proper female representation in middle and senior management and on the Board of Directors.

The results of these efforts are presented in the section on Corporate Governance. No human rights violations were identified in the past financial year.

Privacy policy

Matas stores personal customer data on more than 1.6 million Club Matas members. In today’s digitalised world, personal customer data are a valuable and fragile resource which companies are legally and ethically bound to protect. Matas is firmly committed to ensuring that personal customer data are never used for purposes for which a customer’s full consent has not been obtained and to ensuring full transparency for customers, including as to how customers can manage their own profiles.

Accordingly, Matas is committed to assuring its customers that their data are treated with respect and in accordance with applicable data protection rules. Matas makes consistent efforts to comply with applicable rules, including rules on transparency and data security. Matas’ data protection policies are available at matas.dk.

Anti-corruption policy

Matas is exposed to the risk of non-compliance with anti-corruption legislation by employees, suppliers and other partners and to the potential indirect financial and legal effects of such non-compliance. Matas’ policy is to comply with all applicable legislation and to actively work against corruption in all its forms. Matas’ rules in this area clearly state that no employee may receive or solicit any services, gifts or payments that may be considered an attempt to obtain benefits for themselves or the Company. Violation of these rules will have serious disciplinary consequences for the employees involved.

Matas has set up a whistleblower scheme to allow its employees to anonymously report any suspicion of misconduct such as violations of Matas’ internal policies or applicable legislation, fraud, etc. The whistleblower scheme was evaluated in the financial year, which resulted in a decision to introduce all new employees to the scheme on commencing employment. Reports are submitted to Matas in anonymised form through a portal. Reports received can only be accessed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the head of Human Resources and the head of Safety and Security. Deletion of reports is subject to approval by two of these three people. It is possible to communicate with whistleblowers through an anonymised system. No reports were submitted in financial year 2020/21.

Handling Covid-19

The primary risk facing Matas during the Covid-19 pandemic has been that of infection among its staff across the organisation, including shop assistants, and among customers.

Given the important role Matas has played in society during the pandemic, implementing guidelines to ensure a safe shopping environment for staff and customers alike has been a key priority. Guidelines for handling the risk of infection have been introduced as and when required, including rules on sanitising, social distancing and personal protective equipment, along with guidelines for employees on how and when to inform Management in case of infection.

Right from the onset, extraordinary safety measures were implemented in order to secure a safe environment for the retail staff and customers alike.

The staff was divided into groups at all levels of the organisation in an effort to reduce infection rates and contain the virus. New procedures were developed, significantly affecting the everyday lives of everyone involved. Thanks to consistent management and relentless discipline, the incidence of Covid-19 was lower among the Group’s staff than in society at large, despite the stores staying open from day one. The situation was the same in the rest of the organisation, where the logistics and warehouse staff, in particular, worked exceptionally hard to accommodate the increase in business.