Santa Maria – a pioneer for child rights and business

Sandra Flodström, Head of Communications and Corporate Responsibility at Santa Maria, the first company that worked with Save the Children in order to implement the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.

Santa Maria was the first company that worked with Save the Children in order to implement the Children’s Rights and Business Principles within its business operations.

Santa Maria is the Nordic market’s leading seasoning company and a part of Paulig Group. Santa Maria has been an established partner of Save the Children since 2004. With the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, Save the Children and Santa Maria saw an opportunity to take their partnership to the next level.

Pilot project – developing a tool

Santa Maria, in partnership with Save the Children, and Accenture, ran a pilot project in which the main goal was to test how the Children’s Rights and Business Principles could be implemented. Over the course of the project, we tested a model for introducing the principles, and developed a corporate assessment tool in order to put the Principles into practice.

Through several workshops, interviews and visits both within Santa Maria and with the company’s suppliers in India, we were collectively able to identify which of the Principles were most relevant and prioritised for Santa Maria’s business operations. The following principles were chosen to focus on:

Principle 2: Contribute towards the elimination of child labour in all business activities and business relationships
Principle 3: Provide decent work for young workers, parents and caregivers
Principle 5: Ensure that products and services are safe, and seek to support children’s rights through them
Principle 6: Use marketing and advertising that respect and support children’s rights

Through analyses, we were also able to identify existing needs, as well as opportunities for improvements. Ultimately, we recommended an action plan, including suggestions on how the company might implement such a plan and – importantly – how Save the Children could support the process.

Lessons learnt and next steps

This pilot project has put Save the Children on firm footing. As a result, we are now able to anticipate the necessary steps that must be undertaken in all of our projects and we are in a position to provide companies with relevant support on the rights of children as they pertain to business.

In terms of the future, Save the Children and Santa Maria are continuing to work together to support the company’s core-business actions and also to develop community projects.  

Sandra Flodström, Head of Communications and Corporate Responsibility at Santa Maria says of the project:

The Principles are a great way of looking at social responsibility issues and they have given us new perspectives.