Our business can be seen as inherently responsible. Educating, informing and strengthening democracy being the “watchdog” of free speech all benefit society.

We take pride in providing quality content across all our media platforms and in educational material and solutions. Therefore we address responsibility from a media perspective: we honour journalistic ethics, freedom of speech and respect our audiences by acting in a trustworthy and transparent manner.  Read more about our CSR strategy.

Sanoma’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts:

  • Impact on the local economy in the role of employer, provider, tax payer and buyer
  • Environmental impact (efficient use of energy and materials)
  • Impacts on the wellbeing and professional development of employees
  • Impacts on the supply chain (responsible sourcing)
  • Impacting the value chain (fair practices, high ethical standards)
  • Impacting the local society (promoting democracy, education and platforms to share views)

Defining objectives through stakeholder cooperation

We have defined our key CSR themes by conducting a materiality assessment (identifying our relevant sustainability issues) that narrowed down the main topics that were raised in different stakeholder groups so their views about what they respect and what they want us to achieve are included in this report. The materiality assessment is done annually according to Global Reporting Initiative G4 requirements by interviewing the management and other stakeholders to identify what concrete actions we need to take to maintain their trust.

Key topics and concerns that were identified by our stakeholders were:

  • Environmental management
  • Supply chain management
  • Promoting democracy
  • Impact of data privacy
  • Learning and content impact
  • Ethical journalism
  • Talent and diversity management
  • Responsible business practices 

Responsible business means different things to different interest groups. The main stakeholders of CSR are consumers, customers, investors and shareholders, and employees. We define readers, listeners and viewers, as well as pupils as consumers. Customers are defined as business partners (advertisers), teachers, educational establishments and governmental stakeholders. 

We engage with:

  • our employees, through internal communications (email, intranet), an annual employee engagement survey (EES), employee roadshows, internal team meetings and internal training and development. 
  • shareholders and investors, through investor briefings, annual general meetings, the annual report and sustainability reporting.
  • governments and regulators, by participating in consultation processes, policy forums and advisory groups.
  • the broader community, through our content and by providing platforms for the public to participate and share views. 
  • suppliers, through procurement, supplier assessments and negotiations, and ongoing contract management. 

Enabling responsibility

Based on the materiality assessment we divided the key topics into two categories: topics that have an impact on our consumers or customers and actions that enable these impacts. The enabling aspects are issues that we can fully influence and are part of how we conduct our day-to-day business. Read more about our impacts

The enabling aspects were grouped into six sub-categories that we need to manage, develop and monitor: ethical journalism, environmental management, supply chain, talent and diversity management, privacy and data management and responsible business practices. We reviewed that we have reasonable management processes in place for managing these aspects but we are aiming to improve our performance in all of these areas by setting targets and measurements. An action plan is currently being developed for each of these areas and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in the future.

Ethical journalism

We especially value the freedom of expression when serving the needs of society. We have a long history in content creation and have held editorial principles high from the beginning. We have editorial principles in place and also guidelines for advertisements. We monitor our performance by analysing feedback about the quality of journalism and Press Council decisions. Sanoma's relationship to the press councils is professional and we respect their decisions.

"The goal is to enhance positive impacts through freedom of speech and quality journalism"

The goal is to enhance positive impacts through freedom of speech and quality journalism. The indicators for this are currently being developed and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in the future.

Our management approach

  • The internal Code of Conduct also sets principles about journalistic ethics (advertisement vs. journalistic content)   Read more about our Code of Conduct
  • We highlight the difference between advertorial, journalistic and crowdsourced content.
  • Our largest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat has basic principles and guidelines for publishing advertisements, currently available only in Finnish.
  • We are guided by the principles of the Finnish Ethic committee of Advertising and local Press Councils.
  • There are also several internal guidelines for journalists e.g. including "Decision making about journalistic content" and "Journalistic guidelines about securities trading". The guidelines are not publicly available.

Talent & diversity management

Talent and diversity are crucial elements in the media and learning industry. Equality and career development possibilities as well as embracing diversity are key enabling aspects in the race to attract the best talent. The goal is to create a diverse working environment and culture that inspires us all. The indicators and action plans for this are currently being developed and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in the future.

Our management approach

  • Talent and diversity issues are implemented in our basic HR procedures.
  • In 2015, we implemented an online tool “MyPerformance” that supports the Big Rocks and Key Performance Indicators as well as the short term incentive target setting. The long-term incentive plan consists of a Performance Share Plan and a Restricted Share Plan.  Both are designed to support talent retention.
  • We also measure the engagement levels by conducting an annual employee engagement survey.
  • For example, in Finland we invest in wellbeing, regularly assessing workload and securing a safe and healthy working environment, especially in production facilities.
  • We have zero tolerance for harassment and discrimination.

Environmental management            

We have been active in the field of environmental management for a long time, ensuring environmental aspects are considered e.g. in printing. The rise of digital media and learning solutions has brought new challenges to environmental management. The goal is to mitigate our environmental impacts. We are minimising our environmental impact by focusing on efficient operations and materials use, and demanding responsibility from our supply chain. The targets, indicators and action plans for this are currently being developed and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in the future.

Our management approach

  • We use materials, water and energy efficiently.
  • We concentrate on innovation and new technologies (e.g. investing in building technologies) as they offer the moste sustainable improvements in energy efficiency.
  • All our newspaper printing plants have had an ISO 14001 environmental management system in place since 2009, and it  requires continuous development and annual targets.
  • We intend to decrease our environmental impact also through responsible purchasing (Paper procurement principles, favouring non-hazardous chemicals, reduction on packaging, full trucks etc.).
  • Paper usage has many environmental impacts and therefore we have set clear requirements for sourcing responsible paper. All paper materials fulfil our high sustainability requirements. Read more about our paper procurement principles here
  • We have guidelines in place for real estate management including environmental aspects such as efficient waste management and efficient energy use. We also pay special attention to the use of efficient logistics and packaging, as well as minimising waste and improving recycling as much as possible.
  • All paper and printing plates used are 100% recyclable.
  • We use recycled fibre in newsprint paper, depending on the end-product requirements. All paper materials meet our high sustainability requirements. Due to printing requirements and for quality reasons many paper grades do not contain any recycled fibre at all. The availability of recycled paper is also a limiting factor for its use.
  • We use very advanced waste management methods in our printing plants - all waste goes to utilisation or recycling. Only a small percentage of waste that cannot be utilised is sent to landfill.
  • The demand for digital content is increasing and consequently its environmental impact is only likely to get bigger.  We are considering ways to transmit content as efficiently as possible to cut down on energy used.
  • We also pay special attention to the use of efficient logistics and packaging, as well as minimising waste and improving recycling as much as possible.
  • We are also looking at the use of company cars and transportation to reduce the environmental impact of our operations.
  • VOC emissions (volatile organic compounds) from printing operations continue to decrease. The chemicals used for cleaning the printing machine have been VOC-free for some time.

Supply chain management

Our responsible business practices also cover the supply chain as systematic supply chain management will ensure CSR risk mitigation. Our goal is to evaluate and set requirements to ensure environmental and social impacts are managed properly through responsible sourcing.  More information in the Environment section.

The targets and indicators for this are currently being developed and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in the future. One clear target that we have is to create a Supplier Code of Conduct to emphasise the CSR standards we expect of third parties.

Our management approach

  • Responsible procurement has been defined in the Code of Conduct and in our Procurement Policy to ensure transparent and responsible sourcing. We work with reputable and qualified business partners that adhere to international standards on human rights, labour conditions and anti-corruption, and who manage their environmental impact in the best possible way.
  • We have established a transformation programme in procurement and implemented category management principles in sourcing addressing strategy, skills, processes and systems.
  • We have a category management procurement model in use where we maximise the benefits across Sanoma to secure profitability and have firm requirements for our suppliers.
  • In competitive bidding rounds we treat our suppliers equally and fairly.
  • We apply specific sustainability requirements for paper (Read more about our paper procurement principles here)
  • We work closely with the large-scale suppliers to make sure they are aware of the economic, social, and environmental standards. 
  • We are mitigating possible social risks by composing a Supplier Code of Conduct that illustrates the values according to which Sanoma operates globally. To meet social responsibilities and to achieve success in the marketplace, participants and their agents are to uphold the highest standards of ethics. It sets out the standards we expect suppliers to apply in order to respect human rights and labour practices, preserve the environment and uphold ethical standards by combating corruption, fraud, and bribery. In the future we expect our suppliers to meet the standards set out in our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct and sign it.

Responsible business practices           

Sanoma’s Code of Conduct guides the corporation’s day-to-day activities. Responsible business practices also have a key role in risk management. The goal is to reinforce responsible behaviour by having a set of rules and values in place. In 2015 we implemented a Group-wide Code of Conduct and rolled it out to all personnel using an e-learning tool. We also introduced an updated Diversity policy and started to create a Supplier Code of Conduct. We have formed an Ethics & Compliance Committee and working group to address compliance and ethics issues and set guidelines. We have a CSR strategy, that will be fully implemented into our business strategy and we are working on a clear action plan for 2016. More detailed targets, indicators and action plans are currently being developed and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in future.

Our management approach

  • The Code of Conduct sets the basic guidelines for responsible business conduct. It is fully implemented and has been rolled out to all employees through an e-learning platform during 2015. 82% of our employees have completed the training. It is compulsory for all everyone and we are aiming to train all our employees.
  • The implementation of best practices is ensured by Group-wide guidelines for reporting, appropriate approval procedures and internal control.
  • We have a Diversity Policy ensuring equal opportunities for all employees.
  • Related party transactions by senior management and board members are governed by Sanoma’s Related Party policy in accordance with the Finnish Corporate Governance Code. Conflicts of interest are also addressed in our Code of Conduct.
  • We have compliance protocols and guidelines to detect any risks regarding bribery and corruption. (Read more in our Code of Conduct)
  • We have implemented a know-your-counterparty process, which identifies the risk of doing business with third parties by looking at their ownership, activity and role. It includes anti-bribery, sanctions and other due diligence checks, according to the level of risk identified.
  • Our procurement policy has a clear indication towards responsibility. (next step is the Supplier Code of Conduct)
  • For the sake of transparency, we are committed to publish an annual CSR report and strive to further develop our tax-footprint reporting. 
  • We have a reporting process for misconduct and an anonymous web-based whistle blowing system which can be used to report suspicions of serious misconduct at Sanoma. Read more on our website. It is hosted by a third party, can be used anonymously and is available for use by employees and third parties. Sanoma employees may also report compliance concerns and suspicions through internal channels. Employees can also consult Group or local compliance officers, their manager or Group Legal for guidance on compliance and ethical behaviour.


Privacy and security by design

Personal data is a valuable asset and one that is increasingly integral to our business. Data should be protected to safeguard its business value and adhere with data protection laws. Privacy is an enabling CSR aspect but can also be turned into a competitive CSR advantage by implementing privacy and security by design as default in our products. Taking good care of our end users´ privacy, being transparent, and offering our end users choices regarding the use of their data helps us to build a relationship of trust. Privacy builds our brand value in the digital ecosystem and secures data as the key resource for our future growth in a data-intensive business model. Our goal is to enhance positive impacts of data use and maintain a relationship of trust. We will continue to regularly conduct privacy reviews for all existing products and new features that use data. We will also monitor feedback received related to data privacy/security. More detailed targets, indicators and action plans are currently being developed and therefore we will have more performance indicator data available in future. 

Our management approach

  • We have a Board approved Privacy Policy in place. We monitor and report on compliance with this Privacy Policy.
  • We have a Privacy programme with dedicated resources to implement it.
  • We implement Privacy & Security by design in all products and operations (meaning that privacy and security are taken into account from the planning phases of product development and continually reviewed through the development & product lifecycle.
  • We develop guidelines for practical implementation of privacy principles.
  • We raise employee awareness by classroom trainings and a privacy e-learning training that is available to all employees.
  • We actively participate in dialogue with regulators, universities, and industry groups to increase awareness about how technological developments and data impact individuals’ rights.

Read more about our CSR in Our contribution.