Ethically labelled wines at the Swedish Systembolaget

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Systembolaget, the Swedish state monopoly for wine and other alcoholic beverages, adopted a few years back a so-called code of conduct. This means that they demand that wines purchased from risk countries come from producers who comply with certain rules regarding conditions for people working in the vineyard. Risk countries are South Africa, Chile and Argentina, and also now Bulgaria which was recently added to the list by Systembolaget.

The goal for Systembolaget is to have certified ethical wines (Fairtrade or Fair for life) in all price ranges between 70 and 120 SEK from relevant countries. Sales of wines with ethical label has increased by 5 % in 2013. They now account for 10% of the sales from these countries.

Systembolaget’s long-term goal is that 20% of sales from the relevant countries should be ethically labelled by 2020. Working with ethical questions is a long process. Systembolaget inspects both those producers who are certified and those that are not. The monopoly may well continue to work with producers who do not have a certification but still comply with the rules. But it rewards those who have the certification as some requests for quotations are addressed only to ethically certified producers.

Harvest workers in the vineyard
Harvest workers in the vineyard, copyright BKWine Photography

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