Supplier Code of Conduct
An integral part of the contracts with our suppliers is the Supplier Code of Conduct. It establishes the Group’s ethical and environmental standards and explicitly embraces, for example, the prohibition of child and forced labor and the preservation of general human rights. Furthermore, suppliers undertake to comply with the applicable regulations related to the environment, labor, and occupational health as laid out in the internationally accepted anti-bribery standards of the UN Global Compact and in local anti-corruption and anti-bribery laws. Suppliers also pledge to eschew every form of discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation or gender.
If a supplier’s compliance with the provisions of the Code is questioned, we conduct individual inspections. Random tests of selected suppliers are also conducted regardless of suspicion. Suppliers are selected on the basis of their economic significance and a risk assessment.
New regulations for the examination of suppliers
We select our suppliers in a multi-step tendering process. Cost-effectiveness and quality are just as an important part of our considerations as ecological and ethical aspects.
In the reporting year, we developed and implemented a new directive for the examination of new suppliers and the review of existing business relationships. In that directive, depending on the intensity and volumes of the planned or existing working relationship, suppliers are now required to make various statements about the way they provide their services. A standardized procedure must be followed in this process. The result is improved transparency about our suppliers and greater speed in the identification of risk.
In cooperation with Corporate Security, we have also developed and successfully tested expert workshops for our purchasers. The aim of the workshops is to reinforce among purchasers the importance of complying with standards and of resolving conflicts in a way that is in line with the relevant guidelines. The workshops will be rolled out globally over the course of 2014.
Reliable partners of our suppliers
For us, our suppliers are more than just transport service providers or external agents who deliver the goods we need. We also view them as a source of ideas for improving our company. As a result, we strive for a close dialogue with our suppliers and respect their services. If suppliers have difficulties meeting our requirements, we point out ways and methods to improve their standards.
We reserve an especially close working relationship for those suppliers who possess the special competencies that are of great significance for our current or future business. They include innovators from the fields of green technologies and IT. We confer regularly with these partners about their and our developments and work together on joint projects on innovations and new business models. In order to recognize the strategic significance of our partners more quickly, in the reporting year we improved several of the methods we use to evaluate our suppliers.