Corporate Responsibility in Kesko's Strategy

”More than before, corporate responsibility coupled with a strong identity and attractive brands is a prerequisite for operation in every line of business.”

Matti Kalervo, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility

At Kesko, corporate responsibility work is integrated into day-to-day activities.

Corporate responsibility work is based on Kesko's value, vision and mission. Corporate responsibility work is guided by Kesko’s strategy, general corporate responsibility principles, the K Code of Conduct guidelines and Kesko’s purchasing principles.

Kesko’s responsibility programme contains short-term and long-term objectives. The programme has six themes: Good corporate governance and finance, Customers, Society, Working community, Responsible purchasing and sustainable selections, and Environment.




The customer and quality – in everything we do


We are the customer’s choice and the quality leader in the European trading sector


We create welfare responsibly for all our stakeholders and the whole society

General operating principles guiding responsibility

Kesko’s Group Management Board has approved the Group’s principles of corporate responsibility. These principles define the basic economic, social and environmental responsibility promises.

Kesko’s commitments to international declarations and conventions are also included in the principles. The most important principles are:

  • The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child
  • The ILO convention on the Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work
  • The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations
  • The ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development and principles against corruption and bribery
  • The UN Global Compact initiative
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • The purchasing principles of the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI)


"Kesko participates in the UN Global Compact initiative and is committed to observing ten generally accepted principles concerning human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption in all of its operating countries."

Mikko Helander, President and CEO

Kesko’s responsibility path

in action:
Getting to know SDGs from K Group’s Christmas calendar

In December 2016, the doors of the advent calendar on Keskonet, the Kesko intranet, revealed surprises never seen before and made the calendar hugely popular. Kesko personnel counted down to Christmas in a community spirit, familiarising themselves with the UN Sustainable Development Goals: every workday a member of Kesko’s personnel appeared on a video from behind a calendar door to tell us us how Kesko promotes the UN Sustainable Development Goal of the day in its corporate responsibility work.

Towards the end of November, Kesko had published the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Kesko web pages. Kesko is committed to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its operations. The web pages explain how Kesko promotes all of the 17 goals in practice.
But how to get time-pressed people to explore the web pages? This was the problem the Group Corporate Responsibility Unit tried to solve in November when the content was nearly ready.
"Then our Corporate Responsibility Specialists Sohvi Vähämaa and Minna Saari had a brilliant idea: there is one less working day in December before Christmas Eve than there are UN Sustainable Development Goals, i.e. 17. Why not have an advent calendar on the intranet where one door opens to one SDG each day!” says Matti Kalervo, Kesko Vice President, Corporate Responsibility. 

From idea to action

It didn’t take long before Sohvi and Minna started to look around K Group for people willing to tell others about the SDGs in an informal Christmas greeting.
"Our wonderful colleagues immediately said a big ‘yes’ to the idea. We recorded the video greetings with a phone for use on the intranet. Most of them were shot in just one take and were spontaneous and genuine,” say Sohvi and Minna. 

Advent calendar became hugely popular

The first door on the intranet opened on 30 November to a video where Jesse Mether, Sustainability Manager of Kesko's building and technical trade, talked about how Kesko promotes SDG 1, No poverty.
"We in K Group create jobs and welfare, both locally and globally,” said Mether in his video. He ended by wishing everyone peace and love this Christmas. 
"Day after day, colleagues in the offices stopped me to say how much they liked the advent calendar. This was a magnificent way to make busy people stop and think about the actual meaning of the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” says Jesse.
We stopped at one goal after the other leading up to Christmas Eve. But the promotion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will continue.
"In the future, we will link our work to these goals. For example, our Annual Report, which is coming out in March, will explain how our responsibility programme is linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It’s great that UN has published these global goals to be shared by us all: states, businesses, investors, non-governmental organisations and all citizens, says Matti Kalervo.

Read more