Chemical companies BASF, Bayer, Evonik Industries, Henkel, Lanxess and Solvay have concluded their first year of piloting sustainability assessments and audits in global supply chains.
The companies’ joint initiative, Together for Sustainability (TfS), aims to develop and implement a global supplier engagement program that assesses and improves chemical sustainability sourcing practices, including environmental and social aspects. Participating suppliers will now only have to complete one form instead of multiple questionnaires with the relevant sustainability information provided to all participating buyers that would otherwise need separate sustainability assessment or audits from these suppliers, the companies say.
The initiative is based on good practices and builds on established principles, such as the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and the Responsible Care Global Charter as well as standards developed by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Social Accountability International (SAI) and others.
The TfS initiative involves assessments and audits of suppliers by independent experts. TfS selected EcoVadis, a Paris-based rating company in sustainable supply management, as its partner for supplier sustainability scorecards. Assessment results and scorecard ratings are shared within TfS on a web-based collaborative platform.
TfS is also working with independent audit firms to measure suppliers’ sustainability performance against a pre-defined set of audit criteria tailored to the requirements of the chemical industry. They include management, environment, health and safety, labor and human rights, and governance topics. Audits comprise on-site examination covering, for example, production facilities, warehouses and office buildings.
During the initiative’s pilot phase, TfS members have initiated about 2,000 assessments and audits. In the next phase of implementation, TfS members say they will increase activities to further procurement markets and add new members.
Earlier this month the Chemicals Management Working Group — a joint collaborative effort of Outdoor Industry Association and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition — launched a tool to help chemical suppliers and purchasers identify and choose ingredients that meet quality expectations while minimizing impacts on humans and the environment.
The Chemicals Management Module (CMM) allows businesses to assess chemical management practices within their companies and supply chains against shared industry benchmarks for best practices. It can also help companies develop a roadmap for integrating a chemicals management system into their operations, including highlighting opportunities for improvement and external resources, tools and services that can help firms achieve their chemicals management action plans.