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May 30, 2019

Supplier sustainability day – going beyond auditing

Harald Huppe
Harald Huppe
Senior Manager, Responsible Supply Chain
How can we engage with suppliers on sustainability and build commitment? Our approach is to work closely with our suppliers to develop their sustainability practices and processes. A supplier sustainability day is one way to enhance supply chain collaboration and improve sustainability performance.
Employees in a quarry.

Supplier sustainability development

In addition to our audit program, where we develop corrective actions plans together with the supplier, we decided to go beyond auditing and build suppliers’ capacity also through a supplier day focusing only on sustainability.

We want to continuously develop our suppliers, and in addition to quality, this naturally includes areas like health and safety, environment and labor standards. For this purpose, a supplier sustainability day is a very useful way of sharing knowledge.

The benefits of ensuring a sustainable supply chain are manifold. Firstly, it’s about risk management, protecting reputation and minimizing business disruptions that could lead to increased delivery times. In addition, it’s also an opportunity to create efficiencies across the supply chain, meet customer requirements and differentiate yourself from your competitors. It’s important for the suppliers to understand that we expect them to improve their sustainability practices and processes.

Sustainability training and mutual learning

One session was dedicated to labor and human rights and related legal requirements. Under discussion were such topics as minimum and living wages, working hours and overtime, minimum age and labor contracts. During the health, safety and environment training, we elaborated on our minimum safety requirements. Through concrete examples and videos, we showed what impacts HSE-related incidents can have on a company.

It was very positive to experience that our suppliers showed great interest in this area and are keen to improve their operations. For instance, the suppliers had plenty of good questions on health, safety and environmental matters, and wanted to gain more insights on what safety practices we have in place.

Next to providing sustainability training to our suppliers, it was important to listen and receive suppliers’ inputs as well. We asked our suppliers to join a plant tour, and to list all positive findings, but also to note their improvement recommendations, as we aim at continuously improving our operations. The plant tour was very well received, as our suppliers had the opportunity to experience at first hand the safety measures that we have implemented in our operations.

The main purpose of the supplier sustainability day was to increase collaboration, improve skills, share good practices and present our supplier sustainability expectations. The sustainability training will help the suppliers in their development towards more sustainable operations and it is an opportunity to reduce the environmental and societal impact in the supply chain.

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