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Corporate Responsibility

Our Code of Conduct and other related policies set out the ethics, principles and standards that are required to be consistently upheld by each division, business and corporate function within the Group.

Business and ethics

Our Group Code of Conduct and Ethics (our Code) together with our Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policy and other related policies, set out the ethics, principles and standards that are required to be consistently upheld in each business and corporate function within the Group. It also applies to our business partners: suppliers, agents and customers. Download our Code of Conduct and Business Ethics (PDF 0.13MB) to find out more.

The Group has a Speak-Up hotline available in all countries where the Group has operations. The Speak-Up line can be used by any employee in the Group or by third parties and allows them to report any incidents or inappropriate behaviours in their own language. The confidentiality of the information reported is correctly protected. The Group also carries out refreshment training on the basic principles of our Code as well as the Speak-Up line, so it is well known and, in the case of the Speak-Up line, can be used as needed, by any employee in the organisation.

You can submit your concern on a confidential basis to our Speak-Up Line, which is managed for us by an independent company named Expolink, by clicking on the ‘Submit a Report’ section within this link: http://www.expolink.co.uk/stockspirits.

Stock Spirits Group considers that having good corporate responsibility is an essential element of achieving our overall objectives and acting as a responsible organisation. This includes developing strong relationships with our suppliers and customers, ensuring best-in-class people are joining the organisation and our commitment to the environment. We are committed to doing business responsibly and ensuring a culture of integrity.

The Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires large UK businesses to publish a statement describing the activities they are undertaking to prevent slavery and human trafficking in their own business operations and supply chain. The Stock Spirits Group statement fulfils the requirements of this act and covers all group companies.

You can download our Modern Slavery Statement here.

Alcohol and society

We are conscious that our products should be enjoyed responsibly by those who choose to drink them, and we do not want irresponsible drinking to harm the health of our consumers or others who may be affected. We believe that efforts to reduce the misuse of alcohol are most effective if all parties involved (including authorities, individuals and producers) work together. In the UK, we subscribe to Drinkaware, Portman Group Code of Practice and the alcoholic drinks section of the UK Code of Advertising Practice. Below sets out what each market has done during the year to encourage responsible drinking.

Czech Republic and Slovakia

Our companies in these markets are founding and active members of ‘Fórum PSR’ (drink responsibly), which brings together the countries’ major spirits producers and distributors to work against alcohol abuse. This Forum addresses issues related to alcohol consumption and tries to raise awareness of the negative effects of irresponsible drinking. We continued to use the ‘PSR, (drink responsibly)’ platform within our media, in-store and other brand communication. Forum members have also pledged to observe a code of conduct that strictly regulates their advertising activities.

Some of the main activities in Slovakia during 2019 included participation of “alco-watch” at the biggest Slovakian festival ‘POHODA’, where volunteers from the Forum offered visitors free alcohol testing, to make sure they drove home safely, and ‘Let's talk about alcohol’, an initiative aimed at teenagers, parents and schools to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol use www.hovormeoalkohole.sk.

Stock Plzeň Božkov is a member of the Spirits Trade Association and was active during 2019 in supporting the Czech government in its ongoing efforts to implement a strong regulatory environment in the spirits industry. They are also members of UVDL (Union of Spirit Producers and Distributors), aimed at educating school children and students over the age of 13 across the country. During 2019, 9520 pupils attended this programme and received lessons on topics including: what is alcohol, why alcohol is only allowed to be consumed from 18 and first aid if children meet a friend who has consumed alcohol and is ill. Since the start of the project, more than 80,000 pupils have been trained throughout the Czech Republic.

We also promote www.pijsrozumem.cz, a responsible drinking programme through UVDL and ourselves. At all events we include preventive messages and strictly adhere to the ethical code of UVDL. In our targeted communication, we only target consumers above 18 years of age. During 2019, Stock Plzeň Božkov was part of the Stock Mix Fest tour, where the Company supplied free water and had a team offering free alcohol tests and promoting responsible drinking to consumers.


Stock Polska is a long-standing and highly active member of ZP Polski Przemysł Spirytusowy (ZP PPS), the trade organisation which, as part of its work, promotes responsible drinking through educational programmes and public campaigns. Campaigns during 2019 included ‘Don’t drink and drive’; ‘Better start for your child’ aimed at pregnant women; ‘Here we check Adulthood’, ‘Have you been Drinking? Don’t Drive’, ‘Drink Responsibly, Sell Responsibly’ aimed at retailers and ‘Alcohol. Always responsibly’.

A significant part of the responsible drinking activity in Poland is carried out across social media and through campaigns held at universities, industry meetings and events. There are also workshops for retailers, during which guidelines on ‘Responsible selling and serving alcohol beverages’ are communicated and ZP PPS actively supports both local and national responsible alcohol campaigns.

During the year, social media influencers were involved in a campaign to show the impact of too much alcohol on your image, which was targeted at the under 30s, and was supported by Vogule, a popular website in Poland.


In Italy we are a member of Federvini, the national tradeassociation founded in 1917 which, as part of its role,promotes responsible drinking using educational and informative programmes.


We recognise that careful management of environmental issues is important for our stakeholders and crucial for our long-term success, and we have recently begun to set environmental targets to drive improvements that we will measure and report.


During 2019 the following projects were set-up and completed in Poland:

  • As part of monitoring the status of groundwater intakes, comprehensive testing was carried out at our production site in Poland. Efficiency, performance and the technical condition of the well was assessed. It was concluded that water resources have not deteriorated and were at the same level as in 1987. Well performance has not changed since the wells were initially drilled. The quality of the water, which is constantly monitored, meets all the parameters of drinking water.
  • A review of the packaging from suppliers in Poland took place during the year and it was confirmed that 100% of glass packaging used is recyclable. An agreement was put in place with suppliers during the year, to arrange the recycling and recovery of packaging waste and during 2019 the recycling levels for packaging waste were: plastic packaging 23.5%; aluminium 51%; steel packaging 51%; paper and cardboard packaging 61%; glass packaging 61% and wood packaging 16%
  • A number of our suppliers have confirmation from COBRO, the Poland state owned Packaging Research Institute, which issues certificates to packaging producers to confirm their packaging is suitable for recycling
  • The majority of our packaging is made from recycled raw materials.

During the year, the following environmental educational campaigns took place for the workforce in Poland:

  • Annual Environmental Protection Day
  • ‘Tree for waste’ action where employees received a tree for planting in exchange for donating plastic, paper or glass waste
  • Promotion of zero waste
  • Encouraging videoconferencing to avoid unnecessary business travel
  • Car-pooling – encouraging car sharing amongst the team
  • Since 2018, the factory in Poland has implemented the Hewlett-Packard ‘Planet Partners’ programme. The programme recycles used toners and HP combines the returned toners from HP Planet Partners with recycled plastic bottles to produce new ink cartridges.

In 2019, due to an 11.5% increase in production, the amount of generated waste increased by 21.3% (2018: 19.43%) and 99.75% (2018: 96.75%) of the waste produced on site was recycled. Due to the rectification unit being in use for longer during 2019, our utilities consumption also increased compared to the previous year by: electricity 3.58% (2018: 10.2%); gas 6.54% (2018: 36.11%) and water 4.74% (2018: 20.7%).

Czech Republic

During the financial year we increased production by 5.8% which led to an improvement in the efficiency of electricity and gas consumption. Electricity consumption was reduced by 4.3% due to investments in new, more efficient lighting outdoors and within the warehouses, and improved employee discipline. Gas consumption increased by 4.9% and 5.3% of the electricity bought in the Czech Republic comes from renewable energy sources. We were able to recycle 97% of the waste produced, through employee training and improvement of waste sorting processes.

Utilities Consumption Goals

During the year, the production teams across the Group set themselves a target for the maximum consumption of each utility category, relative to the level of finished products produced. The goals were all achieved as detailed in the following table.

Utilities Consumption Goals and Actual Consumption for the Financial Year 2019:
Utility Goal Set Average consumption
Electricity 0.14 kWh/L FG 0.12 kWh/L FG
Gas 0.45 kWh/L FG 0.29 kWh/L FG
Water 3.7 l/L FG 2.98 l/L FG
Sewage 2.20 l/l FG 1.68 l/L FG


Water is a key ingredient in our products. We aim to continually improve the efficiency of our water usage, particularly in water stressed areas. In the table below we have set out the levels of water stress across the Group.

Location Level of Water Stress
Italy High (40–80%)
Germany Medium-high (20–40%)
Czech Republic Low-medium (10–20%)
Poland: Low-medium (10–20%)
  • Warsaw
Low (<10%)
  • Lublin
Medium-high (20–40%)

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) disclosure

We recognised that, although our Group has, for several years, engaged in a wide variety of positive environmental and social improvement initiatives and activities, they had not been brought within a framework to enable a more structured approach to setting targets, measuring performance and reporting to our stakeholders. Therefore, during the year, a decision was taken to adopt the SASB standards for the Alcoholic Beverages sector. Our first report against those standards will be published within this section by February 2020.

Greenhouse gas emissions

In the financial year 2019 (1 October 2018–30 September 2019), the Group’s total Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect) Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions were 34,375 tonnes and 9,254 tonnes of CO2e respectively, a total of 43,630 tonnes. This is a 3.4% decrease compared to 45,153 tonnes (respectively 35,770 tonnes Scope 1 and 9,382 tonnes Scope 2 CO2e) for the prior 12 month period (1 October 2017–30 September 2018)¹.

The emissions intensity for the financial year decreased by 12% to 348 grams CO2e per litre of packaged product, compared to 396 grams in the prior reporting year.

This decrease is due to a number of contributing factors; first the lower alcohol production volume at our Baltic distillery relative to the prior 12 month period and second, Baltic reduced its coal consumption which resulted in a decrease in emissions intensity at Group level. Baltic’s core activity is energy intensive rectification, which is why it accounted for 76% of total Group emissions in the financial year. Additionally, the bottling facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic both decreased their diesel and electricity consumption, positively impacting the total GHG emissions. The final year data also reflects the increase in finished goods production due to increased use of the rectification line of the Lublin bottling plant.

As in prior years, we have applied the latest available DEFRA UK location based conversion factors (2019) and country specific IEA factors to calculate the current year emissions. The 2019 GHG emissions data has undergone independent limited assurance by ERM Certification and Verification Services (ERM CVS). For full details please refer the ERM CVS Limited Assurance Statement.

The Independent Assurance Statement from ERM Certification and Verification Services is available here (PDF 0.25MB).

In the 2018 Annual Report GHG emissions were reported for a 9 month period, in line with the shortened financial period from 1 January – 30 September 2018. This year we are reporting our GHG emissions data in line with our new financial year 1 October 2018 - 30 September 2019. For comparative purposes, we have also provided revised emissions data covering the prior 12 month period (1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018)


The success of a business depends on its people and we are committed to providing equality of opportunity to every employee and potential employee in all areas of employment. This is underpinned by our Equality and Diversity policy which can be downloaded here.

The Group benefits from having a workforce reflecting the composition of the local communities in which it operates. The Group takes its responsibilities with regard to equality and diversity seriously and expects employees at all levels to not only respect and observe this, but also to take personal responsibility for driving equality and diversity.

We have an Equality and Diversity policy, which applies to all employees and is a key part of our recruitment process to ensure that we recruit high calibre individuals matched to the requirements of the role we wish them to undertake, irrespective of gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability.

As a consumer-focused business, we recognise the value that a diverse mix of people provides us with, particularly in terms of consumer insights, but also in terms of driving business performance. Diversity is key to the success of the Group, with emphasis not only on gender but also on culture, nationality and experience.

At 30 September 2019, 12.5% (one out of eight) of the Board of Directors were female and the Board continues to be committed to working towards 33% female composition when the next vacancy arises going forward.

91% (10 out of 11) of the Group Leadership Team are male and across the Group 61% (659 out of 1,080) of all employees are male. From a cultural perspective, our Board continues to demonstrate broader diversity in the wider sense, with Directors bringing a range of both domestic and international experience to the organisation. The Board’s diverse range of experience and expertise covers not only a wealth of experience of operating in fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) but also extensive financial, marketing and commercial expertise.

The senior management teams in our markets comprise predominantly of local nationals who understand the cultures in which we operate. Within senior management the proportion of females is 32% and the percentage of female in management positions across the Group is 37%. The graph above shows the percentage of females by department across the Group.

As a Group, we harness the experience, knowledge and points of view of employees representing various generations. The graph on page 51 shows the split for employee population by generation as at 30 September 2019. The proportion of employees under the age of 30 increased to 20% compared to the previous year, whilst the employees aged over 50 decreased by 1% to 13%. The average age of employees across the Group remained 39.

Health and safety

Health & Safety

We have established a strong foundation of health and safety throughout the Group, reducing the number of lost time incidents (LTIs), reducing the severity of incidents and significantly increasing proactive safety initiatives, ways of working and notification processes.

As a part of our health and safety strategy, we are implementing ISO 45001 in our supply chain to further build on our safety engagement with employees, to enhance and further systematise our risk-based approach, enhance local and functional management safety ownership, whilst continuing our health and safety journey of excellence.

With regard to performance during the year, there were no major accidents or incidents notifiable to the authorities. There was a slight reduction in the number of LTIs compared to the prior year. As the graph at the top of the previous page demonstrates, the reduction in LTIs over the four-year period between 2016–2019 emphasises the effect of our proactive focus on health and safety across the Group. There were 10 minor LTIs recorded in 2019.

The annual externally facilitated property and safety management audits, carried out across the Group, resulted in an improvement in scores across all locations. Comprehensive and holistic safety improvement plans are in place across all locations and cover culture and behaviour; education, training, awareness and ownership; asset safety; and systems, processes and ways of working.

Audit action plans are managed locally and at Group level, and are supported by the compliance team. Formal local and Group health and safety reporting is presented on a monthly basis to the local management team, Group leadership team and to the Board, and includes updates on: safety performance for the period; safety initiatives; investment updates; action plan performance; and reviews and audit updates.

During 2019, safety engagement and accident prevention included:

  • Annual safety day held in Poland and the Czech Republic, focused on building a positive safety culture and promoting proactive actions. Education, training, awareness and ownership is a key component of our approach to health and safety and ensures our employees are aware, enabled, participating, empowered and engaged in safety at work
  • Quarterly Group Safety Forum meetings have been held across the Group for several years and the remit of the Forum was extended to include environmental matters. The first Group Health, Safety and Environmental Forum, took place in July at Distillerie Franciacorta in Italy. All local Health, Safety and Environmental leaders, along with representatives from the Board, took part in the event which enabled the sharing of experience and best practice from each market, as well as aligning policies and processes. A strategy for the future development of the Group health and safety culture was agreed and defined and environmental issues were discussed
  • A safety survey for the Group was conducted during the year. Top strengths and areas which require further development were identified
  • A health and safety competition for employees was piloted in Poland and will be rolled out across the Group. The competition was focused on technical and organisational improvements in terms of health and safety amongst employees
  • Behaviour based safety audits were implemented, initially in Poland
  • Daily safety meetings took place to discuss notification of unsafe acts and unsafe conditions
  • Proactive safety reporting and actioning, includes documenting, investigating using root-cause analysis, and resolving unsafe acts, unsafe conditions and near miss reporting, and is embedded in our operations
  • The driver safety and environmental initiative introduced in 2018, continued during the year for all company car users in Poland and Slovakia and monitors key safety and economy aspects of driver performance such as speed, seat belt wearing, acceleration, braking and fuel economy
  • Each month a safety hot topic is focused on and communicated to employees. Some examples of the topics discussed during the year were: pedestrian safety, slips, trips and falls, hazardous areas training, contractor management, fire and explosion prevention and action, equipment and asset safety, car driver safety training, ergonomics and physiotherapy, heart attack first aid, collisions with animals on the road, HALO rule, viruses and tick prevention
  • During the year, employees across the Group received first aid training, including the use of defibrillators (AED).
  • A review of the packaging from suppliers in Poland took place during the year and it was confirmed that 100% of glass packaging used is recyclable. An agreement was put in place with suppliers during the year, to arrange the recycling and recovery of packaging waste and during 2019 the recycling levels for packaging waste were: plastic packaging 23.5%; aluminium 51%; steel packaging 51%; paper and cardboard packaging 61%; glass packaging 61% and wood packaging 16%
  • A number of our suppliers have confirmation from COBRO, the Poland state owned Packaging Research Institute, which issues certificates to packaging producers to confirm their packaging is suitable for recycling
  • The majority of our packaging is made from recycled raw materials.

Human Rights

The Group ensures that human rights are protected in all the production plants and offices from which the Group operates. As mentioned previously, we have a Code of Conduct that we require our suppliers to adhere to. This requires that they and the persons acting on their behalf act without regard to gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin or disability in accordance with our Equality and Diversity Policy.

Employee involvement and policy regarding disabled persons

A description of the action taken by the Group in relation to employee involvement, including how the Group provides employees with information on matters concerning them and the Group, can be found in our 2019 Annual Report and Accounts. Procedures are in place that are designed to provide for full and fair consideration and selection of disabled applicants and to provide equal career opportunities. Where an employee becomes disabled in the course of their employment, the Group will actively seek to retain them wherever possible, by making adjustments to their work content and environment, or by retraining them to undertake new roles.


During the year the UK corporate office raised over £15,000 for charity which included taking part in the ‘World’s Biggest Coffee Morning’ supporting Macmillan Cancer, continuing to support the Project Artworks ‘Art on Loan’ programme and providing sponsorship for a number of sporting challenges. Old mobiles and laptops were sold to employees and the money raised was donated to Macmillan Cancer charity. Stock Polska donated 50,000 PLN to enable a group of local children and teachers from Warsaw to participate in the ‘Iskierki Wyobrazni’ (Imagination Sparkles), a world-wide creativity contest. We supported the initiative last year and they qualified again this year for the World finals in the USA.